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Thread: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

  1. #176
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
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    Vancouver, BC
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    152

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    That's the good thing about a pointy bow, it gives you a place to keep all that mucky wet stuff! Although, when I'm weighing anchor, I'm sometimes in a bit of a hurry to get way on, and might not have time to feed the rode through that little hawse pipe! Hmm... another advantage of a motor, you can hold in place while tidying up!

    (all my tackle ends up in the middle of the cockpit, usually the conditions allow stowing and mopping, but once in a while I find myself sailing with all that mucky stuff underfoot... that's when I'd like a pointy part in my next boat!)

    Getting lots of time on the water up here, yesterday was my 30th day out this season, already! It used to take me all year to get that many days in the log.

    Cheers,
    Dale

  2. #177
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default

    Cheers Dale - 30 trips so far, sounds great.
    I coil the rode and leave it on deck over the samson post until dry, then feed it in later. Suppose I could also pop the hatch in the forward bulkhead and pull it in from there.

  3. #178
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    2,309

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Getting stuff prepped for the trip, here's a picture of most of the gear I pack for a cruise on the Sacramento Delta:



    On the back row:
    - 9' 6" hatchet blade oars. These are heavy but balanced, I made nicer ones but don't use them for cruising near the rip-rap levees.
    - 6' 6" short oars, for backup and tight channels
    - New grabber for pulling weeds off the motor prop
    - Oarlock extensions for standing rowing
    - Motor
    - Motor electronics case with main 26 V battery, solar MPPT, 12 V converter, USB chargers
    - PFD with whistle
    - Cook table with folding legs and opening to mount Jetboil stove
    - Stove, utensils, fuel and insulated mug. I did not make a galley box, there's no good place to store one and this is enough stuff to cook with.
    - Duckworks bucket loo with Wag bags

    Next row:
    - Anchor and short chain
    - First aid kit and emergency bivy in dry bag
    - Self inflating sleeping pad, sleeping bag and pillow stuff sack
    - Dry bag with tools, spare batteries, spare parts
    - Various dry bags for clothes and gear
    - Kayak style dry pants and top, not likely to need in Summer but it can rain and I have used them
    - Jar of lanolin. Welsford recommended kit, used to lubricate and seal.

    Next row:
    - CG required throw cushion and day signal
    - Tent center section and bug screen
    - GPS with Bluechart, flashlight, rowing compass, VHF with remote antenna, leatherman tool
    - Bailing scoop and sponges. The 3 gal loo bucket could also be used if desperate.

    Front:
    - Rowing mirror
    - All around white light
    - Aft section of tent

    Not shown:
    - My flares are out of date, am getting an electronic flare instead
    - Anchor rode and spare lines are stored on the boat
    - Whale pump hard mounted
    - Solar panel stays on the boat now
    - Waterproof charts
    - Cell phone
    Last edited by rgthom; 06-05-2021 at 10:56 AM.

  4. #179
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    2,309

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Due to job constraints I was only able to do part of the Delta cruise, trip report on the forum here: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...ered-Walkabout

    According to the GPS log the boat covered 34 miles in 9.5 hours underway. About 8 miles were by oar, the rest with the new motor. I generally kept pace with the sailboats, going faster upwind and slower when conditions favored sail.

    The solar panel began charging as soon as sun hit it in the morning, generating 4+ A by mid-morning and 6 A during the middle of the day. The motor was drawing 4 to 6 A underway most of the time, up to full power 9.5 A only a few times to overcome strong wind or currents. This meant the battery was usually fully charged or close to it, reaching full charge soon after I stopped or switched to rowing for a while.

    The motor alone could not handle 2 types of conditions: weeds quickly clogged the prop in the shallow lakes, and steep chop caused cavitation that made turning by motor too slow. Oars worked for both these conditions.

    I'm sure this displacement speed camp cruising would not be very exciting for some, but I am happy with the system. For about 20 years my boat cruising was by kayak, then for 20 years by oar only. If the next 20 years is by solar powered motor assisted rowing it will suit me just fine.

    Here's a short video of motoring along the Sacramento River shore near Rio Vista:

    Last edited by rgthom; 06-20-2021 at 02:51 PM. Reason: bad video link

  5. #180
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    northwestern Wisconsin
    Posts
    11,096

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Thanks for this thread--always interesting to get a peek at another corner of the small boat world. I really admire your thoughtful cruising set-up aboard your Walkabout--so many nice touches to have everything working smoothly. I tend to suffer along with sub-optimal solutions rather than doing the work needed to make things perfect.

    Tom
    You don't have to be prepared as long as you're willing to suffer the consequences.

    www.tompamperin.com

  6. #181
    Join Date
    Sep 2010
    Location
    UK
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    1,303

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Yes, this is a really fascinating thread. While I can appreciate 'pure' boats dedicated entirely to one means of propulsion I think having a variety of ways to make the boat go is good for cruising, especially if they can be used at the same time.

  7. #182
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    I was able to do a run yesterday to test performance on solar alone, put up separately in People and Places: http://forum.woodenboat.com/showthre...wered-day-trip

  8. #183
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Last weekend was a TSCA campout on Tomales Bay. I took the electric Walkabout with a full charge on the battery, good thing since the bay stayed clouded over by the marine layer the whole time. I was getting some solar charge, the peak was around 50 W near mid-day, so the Genasun boost controller was making the most of any available sunlight. I went about 10 miles total, mostly motoring but some rowing, and the 22 Ah battery did not run out.

    Dave Luckhardt photo. I am trying to row backwards to shore while deploying an anchor buddy and feeding out the rode, but the rode kept catching so I would shoot back out again. Would have been funnier on video.



    Photo of the fleet at camp. The bay is generally calm, but fishing boats running out in the morning can leave big wakes so the boats are either anchored out on anchor buddy or clothesline, or pulled up on the beach.

    Last edited by rgthom; 09-28-2021 at 03:34 PM.

  9. #184
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Don Bybee was at the campout, he has been installing a small scale solar electric setup at his house. He said that he is using a LiPO battery from China, Ampere Time brand, and it is working well. I looked them up, a 24 V, 100 Ah model is on Amazon, with about a thousand 4.5 star ratings: https://www.amazon.com/Ampere-Time-R...38&sr=8-3&th=1

    This has over 4X the capacity of my K2 Energy battery at 2X the price. Weight around 50 lb. I could run on battery alone for 20 hours at my typical current draw of 5 A.


  10. #185
    Join Date
    Nov 2014
    Location
    Seattle, WA
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    5,323

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Wow - that's half the cost of anything I've been looking at and really changes the power/cost equation. Nice!

    No photos showing for me in the previous post BTW.
    - Chris

    Any single boat project will always expand to encompass the set of all possible boat projects.

    Life is short. Go boating now!

  11. #186
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Yesterday on the Napa River - full mid day sun on Oct 2 produced 4.1 A at 26.5 V, which is 64% of the rated solar panel power. Since the motor can drive the boat 3.5 kts at 4 A it is still plenty of charge. I went 6 miles up the river using 4 to 6 A, in a 40 minute lunch stop the battery was fully charged again.



    The recently installed waterfront dock at downtown Napa used to be all mine. Tourism must be picking up, now there are kayak and paddleboard rental operations taking up most of the space, and a very cool Venetian (real wooden imported from Venice) Gondola so you can take your sweetie out after too much wine tasting...



    Motoring along the river:

    Last edited by rgthom; 10-03-2021 at 06:21 PM.

  12. #187
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    Apr 2010
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    Fairfield, CA
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Full sun Oct 16 on Montezuma Slough, charge current still at 4 A mid-day.



    I went about 7 miles down the slough before turning around. I was planning to go farther but kept hearing loud splashing ahead, much more frequent than the occasional splash of a breaching sturgeon. Getting closer it turned out to be a sea lion. I've never seen one making such aggressive splashes before, so I stopped at a *safe* distance and took this video:



    Thinking I could get a better one I started to video again, but he stayed quiet for a couple minutes. Suddenly he surfaced 50 yards away and closing. I put the EP Carry on full blast 9.5 A and headed back up the slough, with the sea lion off to starboard and loping along matching 4.5 kts at no apparent effort. Eeek... Eventually he got bored and went down again. The sturgeon fishermen back at the ramp said several are in the slough and getting aggressive about grabbing fish off their lines. They said none had ever tried to board their boats, but all of them have big gas motors. I may stay away from that end of the slough for a while.

  13. #188
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    The closest boat launch to my house is at Suisun City, an 8 mile drive. The first side channel after launching is called Hill Slough, it runs along the north side of the Potrero Hills before petering out near Highway 12. I hardly ever go down it, as it gets very narrow and shallow toward the end, but no-one else does either so the wildlife is rarely disturbed. Yesterday was high tide mid day, low cloud with some intermittent rain. I figured the birds might be out so took an electric cruise down the slough. Charge current varied from 1/2 A under dark clouds, up to 3.5 A in the bursts of sunlight. Starting with a full charge the battery had plenty of reserve after the 12 mile round trip, including maybe a mile rowing.

    Chart of Hill Slough:


  14. #189
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Short videos on Hill Slough, mostly to test my new iPhone 13 Pro Max camera.

    Near mid slough:


  15. #190
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    The end of navigation for me. The slough was still deep enough to run the motor here, but so narrow and winding, with wind, that I could not turn quickly by motor and ran into the shore around the bends. I got a little farther rowing. The local cows do not see many boats on their pasture.

    Last edited by rgthom; 11-02-2021 at 05:33 PM. Reason: more than enough "enoughs"

  16. #191
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    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Wildlife included hawks hunting just above the reeds, kites hovering, egrets and heron along the shore, and a family of otters crossing just in front of me. Unfortunately, I am not fast enough at grabbing the camera to get any good videos while still steering to avoid the shore. I did catch these little shore birds feeding, hated disturbing them.


  17. #192
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    Apr 2018
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    Bay Area, CA
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    192

    Default Re: Electric boost for a camping rowboat

    Great videos. I'll have to look into Hill slough when the tide next serves. There's just so much interesting water out here!

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