Hello from Georgia!

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by crackerdave, May 5, 2011.

  1. crackerdave
    Joined: May 2011
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    Location: West-central Georgia

    crackerdave New Member

    A friend told me about this site because he knew I was thinking of building an "ultralight" houseboat. I'm 59 and have owned many different boats,but the one that has been the most fun is the smallest: A fishing kayak. I'm a 'yak fishin' nut!:) Hope to learn a lot here - looks like a great place for it!
     
  2. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Ultralight houseboat seems a bit of an oxymoron. Considering the windage alone, you may wish to reconsider and build something substantial enough to tolerate the severe weather that can plaque the southern states in the summer time. Unless of course you've grown keen on some houseboat racing, in which case go light. Welcome aboard the forum.
     
  3. crackerdave
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    crackerdave New Member

    Thanks for the welcome!:) I'm a native Floridian who grew tired of the crowds.

    My idea is to build something light enough to be powered by 1 or 2 100 pound thrust electric motors,powered by solar panels on the roof.I'd have a lot of weight just in batteries - those are 36 volt motors. Obviously,speed is not a concern.

    I had an old aunt who was considered "eccentric" by the rest of the family,but she was wise in many ways.One of her favorite things to say when one of us would come up with some hare-brained scheme like this one was: "Talk to three people who have done it." So - here I am!:D
     
  4. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Only a small (walk in closet size) houseboat could be reliably motored with two 100 pounds of thrust motors. This is the approximate equivalent of 2.5 HP, which just isn't enough to over come windage, contrary currents, let alone any kind of chop.

    This said, there are some electric propulsion systems now rearing up. They cost more then diesel powered conventional systems and way more then gas, but they are appearing. Weight wise, these systems are ungodly heavy, but they're nearly noise free.

    This is one of those projects that requires a designer and a well configured drive and recovery setup. Solar can only provide so much, so you can use wind and/or a generator too.

    I recently saw a very clever 15 KW system, using solar, a huge battery bank and a generator. He spent about $35,000 with everything, which was much more then a 20 HP diesel installation would have cost, but he's happy with it. He can run about 8 hours, with the panels helping at about 5.5 knots or about 3 knots on panels.

    This isn't one of those things you can just "wing it" and get lucky. It takes a good bit of fairly complex engineering to pull it off.
     
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  5. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Wood Butcher

    Welcome, crackerdave.
     
  6. erik818
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    erik818 Senior Member

    Crackerdave,
    It´s the area exposed to the wind that will give you problems, not the weight of the houseboat. On a perfectly calm day and calm water, any thrust will push the houseboat in the direction you want at low speed. The problem is to overcome wind.
    Why not use low power electric motors like you suggest, and a reasonable battery bank, for moving the houseboat silently when the conditions allow, and add a 40 Hp outboard or similar as a backup to avoid beeing blown to sea?

    Erik
     
  7. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Twin 10 HP outboards . . .
     
  8. crackerdave
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    crackerdave New Member

    Thanks! :)

    This would be a home-away-from-home type of boat.Strictly freshwater,fair weather use on a large Corps of Engineer lake.A "doghouse," ya might say.:D
     
  9. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Outboards offer the most bang for the buck. They thrust steer, are reliable, relatively cheap, easy to hook up, small ones can be removed for storage, they're shoal and easy to repair.

    Electric with similar comparative power, will require a football field of panels, a huge battery bank (read literally tons of batteries) and necessitates complex controllers, charging regiments and costly equipment.

    You should figure on needing a minimum of 7.5 KW for a small houseboat. Do some home work and see what it costs to setup a 7,500 what system and compare this to the price of a 9.9 Honda outboard and tank. You'll do very well to keep the electric price under 3 times the cost of a conventional setup.
     
  10. petersimon786
    Joined: Dec 2011
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    petersimon786 New Member

    Hello, there!! I’m looking into buying a solar panel for my uncle he wants to experiment with it in his garage. I want a 100watt kit or separate purchase with all the necessary components for around $800-$1000. I have been looking at sun force products and was wondering if the O.T. had any suggestions.
     
  11. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    You can save a lot of money making your own panels. A little soldering, some broken bits of cell, a case, etc. You might also try Ebay or other locations. $4 to $6 per watt is reasonable, though more on the low end of retail. I saw a 100 watt panel on Ebay recently for less then 200, brand new.
     
  12. michael pierzga
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    Location: spain

    michael pierzga Senior Member



    Could be fascinating to explore a JACK UP "BOAT HOUSE "...not a house boat, but a structure that will float and be light powered... a 5 hp putt putt...positioned to a peaceful creek, legs down..jack up.

    Perhaps detail the exterior to resemble a duck blind so that you may remain hidden from Homeland security or other prying eyes , with only for wisps of smoke from your wood stove outing you on a chilly fall morning. Kayaks could be slung underneath for fast get aways
     

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  13. Yobarnacle
    Joined: Nov 2011
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    Location: Mexico, Florida

    Yobarnacle Senior Member

    I'm taking 2 jackups to africa any week now. Been some delays. Jackups are the most dangerous of commercial vessels, in crew deaths. The sea bottom frequently has gas pockets in it. If a leg punches through when you are in the air, you fall over. The longer you stay aloft the more penetration of your legs. If trying to pull legs in bad weather, Seas can swamp you since you can't rise to the sea.
    Weather judgement is critical. When it's too rough to stay up, it's long since too rough to jack down. Only recourse is simultaneously open latches and free fall on to a crest. And pray one of the legs don't hang up. also, in jacking up, cases have occurred of a run away leg. Couldn't make it stop. Boat jacked itself off one leg and fell over. Other dangers too. Dangerous craft, jack.
     
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