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How A 20-Year-Old With Zero bohemian short hairstyles Sailing Expertise Fastened Up A Sailboat

I’d by no means sailed earlier than. This wasn’t an issue, however, because we were not sailing. We were hobbling.


My new boat, bought for $5,000 from a man who advised us only after we’d paid that we had two days to move the boat before he was kicked out of his slip, puttered out of the Alameda Channel and into San Francisco Bay. A 1974 Tartan 34C, No Bubbles fulfilled the promise of its title. At full throttle, the 14-hp Johnson outboard motor I’d lashed to the transom moved us wakelessly toward the Oyster Level Marina, ten miles across the bay. It would take six hours to get there.

When i bought No Bubbles, I knew it needed work. The previous proprietor had taken the engine out to do repairs and left it in a dock cart for months, the place it rusted into oblivion. And that was a problem I might really see. But I wasn’t deterred. I work as an intern with former MythBuster Jamie Hyneman, who provided unlimited tools and advice. His shop has every part you want to build something, and he spent years sailing a dive boat in the Caribbean. I also work at a robotics company. Between the two, I knew I may handle the project—especially since I’d determined to fully replace the shot motor with an electric one. Here’s how I did it.

At my electronics job, we have been working with brushless 30-kilowatt scaled-up permanent magnet drone motors, that are much smaller and more powerful than similarly sized induction motors. The motors are designed for DIY initiatives like airplanes and cars, and after writing customized firmware for one and troubleshooting the powertrain, I decided to order a 27-kV version for my sailboat. “KV” is a relentless that approximates the rpm the motor will spin per volt applied to it. If I multiply kV (rpm/v) by my target voltage (80 v), I can predict that, unloaded, the motor will spin at about 2,160 rpm. Loaded, this puts it in an identical range to the boat’s original Atomic 4 engine. To regulate it, I added a 500-amp electronic pace controller (ESC) from Alien Energy System hooked as much as an RC transmitter.

One profit introduced itself before I even hit the water: The Tartan was designed with the motor right in the course of the cabin. It takes up a variety of room. To stroll by way of, it’s a must to squeeze across the engine cowl. However with the new tiny motor, which is barely six inches in diameter and three inches thick, I may replace the engine cowl with a small step and regain all of that floor area.

Prop Shaft
Jamie helped me attach the motor to the prop shaft. We figured it could most likely have enough torque to start out shifting the prop, so I made it direct drive for now, with no gear reduction. But if the bilge filled up and the bilge pump failed, that would leave the motor submerged. The salt water would destroy the bearings instantly. To keep away from that, I constructed a small plexiglass box across the motor to keep the water out.

The motor runs on six 12-v 66-Ah deep-cycle batteries in series. On a calm day, it attracts about 30 amps at about 3 knots. To make the boat go faster, I’ll eventually need to alter the prop, up the voltage, and get a new ESC that can handle it.

I additionally discovered eighteen photo voltaic panels on Craigslist for less than 20 cents/watt. Jamie and i welded an aluminum frame in an arch above the companionway, the place we mounted 5 of the panels—power supply and an awesome rain shield. During peak solar, the panels can present 375 watts. That’s wonderful for charging my house pack, which runs the basic electrical elements of the boat, but the motor batteries still have to hook up with shore power. Ultimately I’ll cover the boat within the remaining panels and add a 3,500-watt Harbor Freight inverter generator. That ought to provide enough power to run the boat most of the time.

Chainplate Knees
Chainplates are metal helps that poke by means of the deck for the rigging wires to clip to. They’re bolted to items of wood hooked up to the hull. The compartment surrounding the starboard knee was completely crammed with water. Once I lower out the fiberglass around it, the plywood was so rotted I may scoop it out with my hands. I cut a brand new piece of wooden, and Jamie gave me some fiberglass, epoxy, and filler to seal it back in. My largest mistake was forgetting gloves. Getting the bits of epoxy out of my arm hair afterward might need been the hardest part of getting No Bubbles back on the water.

This appears in the April 2018 challenge
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