Thursday, June 30, 2011

Chilling while inverting, battery powered air conditioning

Once upon a time I was doing on and off electronics work for a small dealership. Along comes a new boater with a check, and he buys a little 26" foot cruiser, but the sale is conditional. The conditional part of this purchase is he has to have air conditioning installed on the boat for his wife to use while on the hook. "No way" I say, "You can't get a genset into this little craft, you can barely get into the engine room in the first place. The customer comes back and says there must be a way. My response is, "Well I can get the air conditioner to fit in the boat, and maybe it could be powered by a portable Honda genset that could ride on the swim platform." His response is "He will check with his wife."

The next day he comes back and says his wife didn't want the portable Honda genset on the boat becuse it would be ugly, and hands me a piece of paper filled with scribbled numbers, and says an inverter could be used. I look at the numbers. "It's theoretically possible", I say, "but the battery bank will be huge, and the weight increase on the boat will be notable." The salesman literally begs me, and against my better judgement, I reluctantly I build it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Loys gets Toys

You can't take the fascination of the wind away from the sailor. This is truly the case with Loys, an experienced, and avid "Half Ton" sailor. Loys decided he wanted a wind instrument for his hull #1 Intrepid 26' center console boat, and since there was already a small N2K backbone in the boat, the Airmar PB 200 weather station was an ideal choice. It does remarkable things in a very small package with zero moving parts. Okay, I know that it isn't a sail boat, but in the real world, there are some real pluses to having this device on board such as fast real time compass heading data, knowing the barometric pressure, temperature, windchill, the wind direction for docking, and it's also a back up GPS system.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Cardboard boat racing

My reactions were a bit mixed when I first saw the cardboard vessel designs, and they ranged from "That should work", to "Oh dear, what were they thinking". But much to my surprise, all of the boats actually worked surprisingly well, and a lot of thought had gone into what essentially was a construction period of not more than a day. This is one competitive, large, and very unique family.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bird eating spiders, and the "World's largest air boat"

 "It will be fun Dexter, you might see 1000lb feral boars with tusks of death, spiders big enough to eat birds, poisonous snakes, and the place is really swampy." I note the incredulous look of polite disdain cross young Dexter's face as his somewhat odd uncle tries to pump him up about a day trip to Myakka River State Park. " And oh yeah, we are going to ride on the world's largest air boat, and see lots of man eating alligators," Okay that's better, I suspect he thinks, there might actually be an event here that will enliven what he already knows will be a dreary day with a bunch of adults talking about nature and other dull stuff.

As far as I can tell, and I have done some real digging, the Myakka Maiden is the world's largest air boat. It's 52' long with a beam of 16', and caries up to 73 passengers. Like its sister ship, the Gator Gal (50'), both are plywood flat bottomed West System-esque constructed vessels, and USCG certified. Despite the captain's very interesting, and informative dialog about the flora and fauna of the area, what most passengers really want to see is Florida's official state pet, the alligator, hopefully rending some poor victim into smaller bite sized pieces. Alligators are thick as thieves in the lake, and you will see many of them. Little toy dogs (I call these breeds generically "Kickme's") would last about 60 seconds doing their yipping on the banks of this lake.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Elite Craft's entrails removed, the vessel is gutted.

The boat has truly been ripped apart because it was not perfect. Close to perfect yes, but not perfect. Like an itch in-between your shoulder blades you can't quite reach, it has been nagging at Sandy until he finally snapped. This boat is now 21 years old, and is most likely the best original Elite Craft in existence. I have done a couple of stories about this striking vessel, here, and here also, and it has now been gutted

When I say gutted, I really mean gutted. Out came seats, carpeting, engine, shaft, rudder, all through holes and the list goes on and on.