La Riposte

Published Works

Sunday, November 17, 2013

The Electric Boat Project, Part I

Gypsy's "Little Sister"
 Those of you who have followed my progress through “A Round of Words in 80 Days” over on Read-Write-Listen (my author’s blog) have heard of my plan to reduce my carbon footprint between now and December.

One of my ideas for doing this was to start commuting to work from my floating home at Lady’s Island Marina to work using a little solar-powered electric boat. I’d originally imagined a kayak, using a small electric motor combined with the sweat of my brow to get the job down.  I couldn’t find the kayak I wanted (although I’m still looking) but in the meantime found a cute little 8-foot dinghy, that came with oars and a sail.

 I picked it up, sent off to Amazon for a trolling motor, and bought a deep-cycle Marine battery from Walmart. Put all the pieces together yesterday, and took her for a test run up the Beaufort River…

An excuse to use power tools!
She made about 3 knots of speed, and after a trip of 2.3 nautical miles, the battery had only dropped down to 89 percent. That means there’s plenty of juice for a trip all the way to the pier at the Marine Corps Air Station where I work, which is 4.14 nautical miles from my home port. My little boat handled the waves generated by passing large boats, although not without a little trepidation on the part of her Captain, so the only problem is the speed / distance.

At these speeds, it would take 1.5 hours to get to work, and another 1.5 to get back. I could probably speed that up somewhat by rowing or paddling, or I could commit to using that time to read, write, practice language, possibly write or record spoken notes for transcription, eat breakfast, shave with an electric razor, etc…

Navigation? There's an app for that!
So, will give it some more thought, and probably do a full test-run sometime this week. Stay tuned for the next chapter in this little story! If nothing else, though, I now have the perfect little boat for fishing, sightseeing around Factory Creek, (where I am docked) and even running over to the city of Beaufort for dinner or a drink.

More adventures to follow!


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