ESPcat Getting Started

I have been fooling around with the ESPcat idea for quite a while now so it’s time to get started.   That’s me standing next to Borderline.  Next is my friend Noel, slave laborer.
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The catamaran Borderline is a bit unusual in that it was designed to be both a racing sailboat as well as a family power boat.  The power boat role was achieved by the addition of a cabin pod designed to give a bit of shelter and to roll out a couple of sleeping bags for overnight trips.  As you can see by the size of the pod, it really was never gong to work.  The pod is the first thing that has to go.

I contacted Oleg and he dutifully turned up with his hiab truck.  Mrs. Oleg stayed in the truck.  She handled the money.

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We had moments of high drama as Oleg ripped the cabin from Borderline.2015-11-05 13.38.18

Now I have to fill in the empty floor space and begin construction of the cabin.  You might think that building ESPcat is all about electronics and solar panels and lithium batteries but the boat itself is equally as important.  When we get to it, I will go into some detail about the electronic side of things but for now the focus has to be on the boat.

Boat designers and boat builders have become lazy when it comes to hull efficiency.  Huge engines are cheep and readily available so why bother to make hulls efficient. Most power boats push great walls of water around.  These walls of water come from energy and that energy comes from fuel.  Burning fuel makes smoke and bad smells and rising sea levels.  It’s all bad.

Hull shape is everything if you are building an electric solar powered boat.  Borderline’s designer, Andrew Eaton, did an excellent job of designing an efficient hull shape.  The hulls have a fine entry with  a waterline length of 8.3 meters and a waterline beam of 0.65 meters.  That gives a length to beam ratio of nearly 13 to 1.  The bigger that ratio the better.  Typical mono-hull boats have a ratio of 3 to 1.  The swept up sterns gives very low turbulence as you slide through the water.  Construction is fiberglass over over cedar making for light weight (1000 kg, 2,200 lbs).  When adding a cabin to hold the solar panels, I must be careful to add as little weight as possible in order to keep hull efficiency high.

The journey continues.


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