Raft down the Mississippi

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by qwist04, Jan 18, 2005.

  1. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    You need to radios to monitor channels 16 and 68. That is the law. When you register with Traffic Control they will assign you a number. Then they keep track of you, like air traffic controllers do. Also, other ships will tell you their intentions and you have to respond and agree to the maneuvers. For example, a ship may be coming off a berth and will tell you to standby. This means you need to be able to maneuver and have enough power to at least stop against the current. If you can't comply the Coast Guard considers you a hazard to navigationa and will remove you.
     
  2. mons
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    Would it be wise to cruise at night to save time if there was always someone manning the raft?
     
  3. gonzo
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    There are no lit markers in the river. Tows use huge searchlights to find their way.
     
  4. mons
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    I am reading up on solar panels and trolling motors, but I can't find how much current or power a trolling motor draws, say a general 55lb thrust motor. Does anyone know?
     
  5. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Are you listening to Gonzo? he lives there.

    A trolling motor against a river?

    2 radios because its the law. He just told you.

    Can you imagine navigating the river and you come across some kids on a barge pontoon thing and one is pedaling like hell to keep the nav lights on.

    I hope you get arrested before you cause a serious accident.

    Trying to get out of someones way in a fast flowing river is difficult, but then you dont know that ---yet
     
  6. mons
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    I am listening to Gonzo and making sure that I understand completely

    The trolling motor will be for general travel down the river. I will also have a gas motor for emergency/safety. Although I'm not entirely sure what size motor would be best. Any thoughts?

    The human body can put out around 400 watts of power (depending on the rider). A well built bike-generator can harvest at least 125-150 watts. The navigation lights that I looked up draw 10 watts. This is all at 12 Volts. So, assuming the battery capacity is plentiful, one hour of hard peddling will power these navigation lights for more than 10 hours. I have 3 deep cycle marine batteries that I'm going to borrow, so capacity shouldn't be a problem unless we have other things running too.

    Thanks
     
  7. gonzo
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    LED combination lights are more expensive but draw about 3W. Trolling motors usually say the Kw rating on the motor and the specifications. The reason for two radios is that you have to monitor the working channel and channel 16 at the same time. The upper river is a possibility for you because there are some islands to hide behind. The wing dams are sometimes scarce. Also, barges nose up to them while they let others pass on tight turns. If you are there they may not see you and crush you. What you are describing as a vessel looks like the usual debris floating down the river. The lower part of the river is completely enclosed by revetments. That means it is an artificial channel with concrete sides. The depth on the shores can be over 100 (one hundred) feet.
     
  8. mons
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    As it looks, we are going to build an engine mechanism rather than buy a trolling motor. The people at Minn Kota said that they only gear a motor for 3-4 mph and I need 5 in my big rig. So I need a big prop with a low pitch. I am looking at a 14x9 prop. That is the biggest and lowest pitched prop that I can find. I am talking with my physics and electrical engineering professors to get an estimate for the amount of power that I'll need. I figure we will have to bike into town hear and there to charge up our supply and make a pit stop at a local bar if need be.
     
  9. mons
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    Any thoughts??
     
  10. newinertia

    newinertia Previous Member

    Leaving in a few weeks for NOLA from KCMO!

    Do any of you guys have any experience with the TENN-Tom Bigbee Waterway?
    If you have not seen my build- here are the results.
    My motor is a vertical shaft Kohler, mated by belt drive to a 50 hp Johnson lower unit. I love barges and rafts, but you gotta be efficient, sailboat hulls like mine are the easiest to go thru the water at 4-5 mph! this project has cost me about $885 so far, and Im about done. I am a firm believer in displacement in engines. my engine is a 550cc single four stroke, and produces gobs of torque at idle- no- make that below idle, I added an extra bit of flywheel weight to achieve the sound of the boats on the river in the roaring 20's. originally i had a 25 hp Tecumseh V-twin in the boat, but after a few hours use, I could not get the sound, rpm's, power, or the fuel economy of a large single cyl. (thumper) will post video soon. thump thump thump thump thump thump.....

    Well I needed to fit the boat with eigther human power or a trolling motor for a backup form of propulsion- I have been mulling this design over for a few years now and yesterday morning i decided it was the time to build one, so with only the parts and supplies I had on hand, I built this.....
    The tuna fin pushed me at 1.6 mph on gps, boat is filled with a weeks worth of food and clothes, stove, 5gal water, 5 gal gas, 17hp Kohler engine, toolbox..........etc. Id say she is a fine shantyboat! the outer hulls are Hobie Cat 16, center hull is a Catalina 15 Capri. Spars under deck are 304 stainless 2"x2"
    Also- this was a float test for the amas and main hull, c/b wt/balance.
    Special Thanks to Mindy- my girl.
     

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  11. mons
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

  12. GDFL
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: Guntersville, AL

    GDFL Junior Member

    have you done ANY power consumption calcs? Solar power is just not practical without thousands of dollars in solar panels and a huge battery bank. At a minimum you should have a gas engine and a backup engine or you might get by with a decent generator and high capacity charger for your batteries. It's a very inefficent way to go, but keeps you on electric power.
     
  13. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    I looked at the blog. The deck is attached to the pontoons with what appears to be thin straps. It doesn't look strong enough. As far a solar power, you have be able to maneuver and go over 100 miles without stopping. It is a one shot deal from Baton Rouge to New Orleans, then you have to go through one more lock and a canal into Lake Ponchantrain. On the lower part of the river, the wakes get pretty big and there is no place to hide like in the upper part. The Traffic Control gets to decide if they will allow through after Baton Rouge or not. The USCG can stop you before if they think you are not safe. Barge operators will complain if you cause any hazards.
     
  14. mons
    Joined: Feb 2009
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    Location: St. Cloud, MN

    mons Junior Member

    Thanks for the input guys,

    I talked to the USCG and the rule of thumb is that you need to have the capacity to go at least as fast as the current, so you can propel against it and stop yourself if need be. On the upper Mississippi, it's about 2mph and on the lower it is 5mph.

    We do, in fact, have a gas motor for back-up power. The goal is to go the whole way without using it but it is always an option.

    I have done all of the theoretical calculation that I can possibly do. I've been talking to some of my physics professors and some other electrical engineering professors from my school and we all agree that it comes down to drag, which can only be measured by experiment. We're almost done with the motor mount and then we will find out how fast and how far we can go.
    The plan is to charge up each night on shore (hopefully) and use the power through the day. The solar panels are not enough to maintain the batteries but will certainly extend the motor time. And they are actually quite cheap at less than a dollar per watt if you buy the cells and construct your own panel.
     

  15. GDFL
    Joined: Mar 2009
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    Location: Guntersville, AL

    GDFL Junior Member

    good for you for doing research and calculations. I'd be very very cautious about planning on charging up every night. The only place to do that consistently is in a marina and you'll have to pay to do that IFF there is one available. I know on the Tenn-Tom waterway you can go 200 miles before there is a decent place to charge a battery. One problem is that when you do finally find a place, it's only 10am and you have to stop and lose the rest of the day because the next stop is too far away. It would greatly benefit you to look into getting an old 5-8hp horizontal shaft engine from a tiller and building your own dc generator from the engine and a simple style car alternator. Some have just a couple of wires and would be easy to rig. The hardware store or lawnmower shop should have all the pulleys and belts you need. That would give you a fairly inexpensive option for charging batteries on your own schedule. Another option is to buy or borrow an inexpensive generator and buy one of these Iota chargers http://cgi.ebay.com/ebaymotors/Iota...5fRVQ5fTrailerQ5fCamperQ5fPartsQ5fAccessories They are very good and would quickly recharge your batteries, but the first option would probably be cheaper overall.
     
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