Saturday, April 27, 2013

a minor/major change aboard "So It Goes"...

This just might make your head explode, hardly a surprise, and folks keep telling me things are looking up but not so much the numbers...

Some times change is hard and you find yourself jumping through all sorts of hoops to avoid the reality of the need/want voice that is whispering in your ear...

I'm pretty sure that anyone who has been reading this blog knows I'm a huge booster of the whole electric propulsion bandwagon. Fact is, I'm pretty sure I've been promoting and using electric propulsion even before the band got their wagon (so to speak). So, it might surprise you that I'm in the process of removing a perfectly good electric propulsion system on "So It Goes" in favor of a more engine-less approach.

Our current Electric Yacht system has worked flawlessly. It does everything a propulsion system should, has no real maintenance costs or issues, pretty much keeps itself charged through regeneration, and provides plenty of power when needed. What's not to like?

Liking my system, actually, is a big part of the problem. It is such an awesome piece of gear that even though I really don't use it, I want to keep it because not too many things on a boat work so well. As a result, I'm just that little bit reluctant to follow my rule that, if it's on the boat and I'm not using it, it should be gone.

We sail and never make passages under power. Which, as it happens, is not what I think YOU should do but it is what makes us happy. The downside of that is from time to time we find ourselves sitting with no wind... waiting and, I would be dishonest if I did not say that I hate sitting waiting for wind but since I actually hate motoring more it is the lesser evil. Then again we're not in any sort of a hurry to get anywhere so it is a lot easier for us to roll with the flow than for some.

When we have very little wind I actually enjoy it because it's a great game keeping the momentum going following the tiniest of wind shifts. It's good practice because it teaches you how to really sail with something approaching finesse and, dare I say it, art.

Of course, the fact is, the more you sail the less you need a motor and the less you need a motor the more you sail is a spiral that not everyone understands or appreciates. Or not until one day you realize that you have not turned on your motor for over a year and all of a sudden that motor and its related baggage is just taking up space and payload that could be better used in some other way.

Now I'm pretty sure some of the diesel heads who read this might jump to the conclusion that removing our motor is somehow a failure of electric propulsion and they would be wrong. The thing is, if we had a Saab diesel installed on the boat it would be getting the same exact treatment and be looking for a new home... It's not about the type of propulsion, it is simply about the fact that we simply don't need any sort of inboard propulsion system whether it be gas/diesel/electric.

We do have a 6HP outboard we can use if/when needed and I'm in the process of planning out some 16-18 foot sweeps and oarlocks so I can row or scull if needful but that's mostly because I've always been a belt and braces kind of guy.

For the next boat, if I were to put in an inboard propulsion system, I'm 99.99% sure it would be an electric system especially if I were building it myself because then I'd be able to design in the battery bank as an integral component of the ballast which would seriously rock... That said, I'm pretty sure it still would not get used very much.

Listening to David Bowie

So it goes...