Safe And Comfortable Coastal Cruiser

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Sundevil, Feb 17, 2014.

  1. Sundevil
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    Sundevil Junior Member

    For coastal cruising around the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, what do you guys think of a boat this style? What would the possibility that it would still be a good boat if the hulls were just used for storage and water, and there were some windows and fiberglass enclosing some of the interior deck? What would it do at anchor or having to motor in a storm?

    I've heard some horror stories about pontoon boats in the big waves, but this boat was able to cross the Atlantic. House boats have a lot of windage, but I'm not sure how many people ever need to move it in a storm. I'm sure a few of them have been hit by high winds before though.

    And could the hulls be made a little skinnier (but 1m or 2m longer) in order to get better performance?

    And what do you think the difficulty of constructing a similar boat like this would be? No boat is 'easy', but this seems pretty straight forward as to what would need to be done to build it.

    [​IMG]
    http://www.transatlantic21.org/boat/
     
  2. Mr Efficiency
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    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    That must have been a slow old trip, took a few months to complete.
     
  3. Sundevil
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    Sundevil Junior Member

    It looks like it would be a comfortable boat to do that on. It is way too heavy though. 24 tons...the solar panels weigh ~2/3rds of a ton. I'm sure the lead batteries were heavy too. I worry about the wind catching the panels when riding some waves a little bit.
     
  4. FAST FRED
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    For coastal cruising around the East Coast, Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes, what do you guys think of a boat this style

    Not a lot , low load carrying , thin hull sides , takes up big room and probably a lot more pricy than an old TT that will do the same job with far more comfort.

    And could the hulls be made a little skinnier (but 1m or 2m longer) in order to get better performance?

    What IS performance? Much of the loop is speed limited to 10Klicks , about 6 MPH or 5 K.

    An old boat with the smallest diesel you can find will have the best fuel consumption.
     
  5. Richard Woods
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    Richard Woods Woods Designs

    Funny, I never heard of the boat or the trip until now, so thank you for that. I was actually crossing the Atlantic on a 33ft catamaran - also without using a drop of diesel - at much the same time, it was a sailing cat of course

    It appears to weigh 12T, not 24. Speed appears to be 4.5 knots, although I guess that is with current assistance - typically 1/2knot at that time of year

    Even though solar panels are much cheaper now, they'll still cost you USD10,000. Battery technology may have improved, but they are still expensive and have a short life relative to engines

    So I think that something like this

    http://sailingcatamarans.com/index.php/designs/6-powercats/264-skoota-28

    might suit you better. Although our Skoota is currently in the PNW next year we plan to demount it and truck it to the Great Lakes for a Loop cruise

    Richard Woods of Woods Designs

    www.sailingcatamarans.com
     
  6. nimblemotors
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    nimblemotors Senior Member

    I think it is a great idea, and am building something along these lines.
    However, I'm using lighter weight thin-film solar panels, and lighter weight Lithium batteries.
    Also it will have a lightweight gasoline engine that is both propulsion and generator. Also plan to have wind generator and a kite/parachute for downwind.
    I am building a practical boat.

    I believe the flat roof design would be a disaster in very high winds, and even worse given all the weight up there.

    If you want to join me building one, see www.herding-cats-coop.org
     
  7. Sundevil
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    Sundevil Junior Member

    Yes, I do wonder about all of those solar panels up there... Wind usually goes horizontal, but you add in some waves and the forces can be pretty severe. Most panels weight 40 lbs each, but they are coming out with lighter weight ones. I just worry about the durability in the harsh environment of the sea as well. But, the batteries, motors, and water tanks would be low in the boat.

    I'm sure on a calm sunny day, that this boat will work great. And hopefully by chasing the ideal weather, you would get the most of those types of days that you can get.
     
  8. Sundevil
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    Sundevil Junior Member

    You have finished the Skoota 28 it looks like. The last time I looked at your website it was still under construction.

    I do have to ask why you didn't put a hammock like net between the two hulls?


    I'm not sure why I said 24 tons or how I came up with that number now. The website clearly says 12T. Oops.

    Yes, solar panels and LiFePO4 batteries are expensive, but it wouldn't take many trips from Michigan to Florida to burn through that in diesel. Plus, you don't have to worry about the price fluctuations in Sun light. And while I don't have much desire right now to cross the Pacific or Atlantic, it would be nice to know that it could hold up to 8'-10' waves and wind gusts that can happen along the coasts or on the Great Lakes. I'm surprised that they didn't have any problems with bad weather or waves in that Sun21 boat.

    You are starting to see more solar powered boats, but I'm not sure if anyone has come up with the 'perfect' design that is optimized for solar power yet.
     
  9. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    You got to take into consideration that these ocean crossings are done following the currents and trade winds. The boat is drifting as much or more than it is propelled by its own power. For the conditions you are considering it may only be capable of short trips in between several days of charging.
     
  10. Sundevil
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    Sundevil Junior Member

    Yes, a raft can make it down the Mississippi as long as it can steer.

    And the ability to make enough power from the panels when the conditions are good to fully power the motor is a big thing to consider. Especially since it is very difficult to angle the panels at the Sun. But, having a hull designed to slice through the water in the most efficient way possible would help increase the range.

    I would be '"Chasing the Summer" and trying to avoid the really bad weather. I wouldn't have a set schedule, but could hang around someplace for a few days if the weather isn't great. The occasional cloudy days wouldn't really concern me much. There is plenty that I could do even if the boat can't move.
     
  11. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    I did the Great Lakes section of the loop including the Erie canal and Trent Severn waterway this summer bringing my old Gemini home, no rig and 2x 9.9 Yamahas (although only running one at a time), we averaged 7-8mpg statute over 1500 miles. The catamaran configuration is ideal for this type of cruising and I think Richards Scoota would be perfect, The only thing wrong with the Gemini was that it was too slow, we were able to cruise easily at 5.5 knots and get close to 10mpg statute but pretty soon found this too slow and ended up running at 6.5 knots which was close to WOT and also hull speed. I would have been very happy to cruise at 10 knots which the Skoota will do easily and economically. While on the Trent Severn we met up with a guy at Peterborough, from the west coast of Florida doing the loop with a rather crude 40ft plywood trimaran powered only with solar using an electric outboard, he was lucky to cruise at 3-4 knots, but he was living the dream and had travelled far. He was hoping to get to Chicago and heading south before the weather got too cold but I heard that he had to abort until next season. He had a crew and cameraman and was apparently doing some sort of reality show on cable.
    You could probably pick up an old Macgregor 36 cat and get rid of the rig, build a big hardtop for the panels and shelter and come up with something like the original post. They can be coast guard licenced to carry 20 passengers so can carry some weight.

    Steve.
     
  12. tom28571
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    tom28571 Senior Member

    The solar tri you mentioned stopped in Oriental, NC last month on his way to Fl. Actually he stayed longer than intended because of lack of adequate sun to leave and make a full day of cruising. Almost every square inch of available space was covered in solar panels and the speed was still so slow as to bore even the most patient ICW cruiser.

    As you say, there was no provision for charging other than solar which was probably his way of being completely independent of outside power. Did not seem either very practical or much fun to me. I believe that solar power will be a practical mode of propulsion one day but that day is not here yet. Much development and innovation is still needed to make it so. I've seen many attempts at a solar cruiser over the last few years but none are yet at the practical stage. That is practical initial and lifetime cost as well as performance and cruising comfort.

    Electric power is becoming a useful means of propulsion in automobiles provided you accept the limitations but application to a boat is far-far more difficult. Overcoming the much lesser drag experienced in a car is easy compared to a boat. If you are willing to contend with all the disadvantages then you can be part of the development cycle but I've not seen even one that meets reasonable demands of a coastal cruiser and they all stop at our town dock on the eastern ICW.

    Someone has to be on the leading edge so we wish you good fortune.
     

  13. Steve W
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    Steve W Senior Member

    Wow, so he did make it out of the lakes before it got too cold, good on him, yeah, waaaay to slow for me.

    Steve.
     
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