November 11, 2015
Pacific Proa Adventure Project June-July 2013
This project will demonstrate that an Australian built boat can combine modern sustainable materials with traditional proa design principles to produce a fast, efficient ocean-going vessel.
Want to make your boat more environmentally sustainable? Read about some of the many technologies I’ve been pioneering on Gaiasdream and other vessels.
Pacific voyaging society.
Last Wednesday four pacific vaka’s arrived in Sydney for the opening of the World Parks Congress with a message that Climate change is already affecting there islands and that the rest of the world needs to act.
Gaiasdream was in Sydney harbour to welcome the Vaka’s and escort them from the heads past the oprea-house and the Sydney harbour bridge to the Australian maritime museum.
Today The Vaka’s prepared and departed Pittwater, NSW, for their voyage to New Zealand.
We sailed with them on Gaiasdream untill they were well outside the heads.
One of the most recognisable dingy’s in pittwater is my trusty 14 year old tender to Gaisdream. With her attractive lines, striking red colour and trade mark love-heart in the rudder, she has been immortalised in the sketch books of a number of local artists and even features in one of the postcards on sale at the local shop.
She was designed as a rowing dinghy, that also had the option of installing a dagger-board and mast so could be sailed, but the most common means of propulsion was via the small outboard motor that I fitted into a well in the center, making here an ‘in-board, outboard’.
It has been my dream to convert the Red Dingy to be electric for a long-while now, and turn her into a rowing sailing electric boat, with more power as an electric dingy than she has as a petrol outboard,
and over the past few weeks the stars aligned to make it happen.
The first task was to remove the trusty 3 hp outboard from, rip out the old engine well where it used to sit in as an inboard-outboard, and fill in the hole in the hull.
At the same time, I needed to build and install a new propeller shaft as well as construct a new and bigger rudder, which of course, needed to have my trade mark love heart.
A big part of the job was raising the aft floor to create more floatation for the extra weight of the battery bank since the boat is self draining and more space was needed under the floor for the engine components and the batteries.
At the same time as putting the electric conversion in place, I also gave the boat some tender loving care, with a fresh coat of paint, and some minor repairs, so that she looks almost like new again.
The electric propulsion system consists of 5 main parts, I) the 2kw brush-less motor with a 3 to 1 reduction chain drive, ii) the controller for the motor, iii) a joy stick to control it, iv) 3 12volt 100AH batteries to run it with, and v) a special 36 volt battery charger built into the boat.
So far we have discovered that at just over 5 knots we can run for 2 hours and at 4.5 knots we can run for 3 hours, and that the recharge time for 80% battery usage is about 6 hours.
The red boat still can take heavy loads and she is doing an awesome job as people and cargo mover, and is being used evey day as a commuter boat
Since she gets charged with 100% Green energy, she is a carbon neutral boat. Also we have gone from spending about 12 dollars a week to about 2.10 dollars a week in running costs, it shows that being climate friendly can also be good for the hip pocket..
Great news gaiasdream has been repaired and went back to sea to day for seastryls. The improved system works well and the other small improvements seem to work fine. Unfortunately the winds have been light in the last few days but it was a great start. soon when there are stronger winds I will push her hard just to make sure. It was no easy feat to remove the mast car with out removing the mast, but it all went according to plan.
Update from the bridge of GaiasDream
With a series of lows rolling across the base of Australia, I decided to leave for the first leg of the Pacific voyage on the back of a large low-pressure system last Wednesday. Sailing out of Pittwater past the heads I was greeted by an angry sea and a 3-4 m swell. Coastal advisories were in place for dangerous swells and I soon found myself broad reaching into a messy swell. GaiasDream was handling it well and I was particularly pleased that the recently added davit for carrying the dingy along-aside was working well with only occasional wash coming onto the dingy.
A few miles offshore, and having suffered a number of jarring impacts from beam-on waves, I looked down an saw some ball-bearings on the deck. My first thought was that these ball-bearings must have come from my sons sling shot, but then shortly after I saw some more ball-bearings and realized they were coming from the base of the mast, which I had packed with ball-bearings to enable the mast to shunt along the track. I thought I had engineered the track and ball-bearing system to withstand three times the expected maximum force so seeing ball-bearings on the deck sounded alarm bells for me. A quick investigation revealed a broken bearing casing and I could confirm that the ball bearings were coming out of the bottom of my mast.
At this point there was no way to tell whether the broken ball bearings were due to a weakness in the material or due to un-anticipated stress. However I was immediately aware that if enough ball bearings failed, then I would not be able to move the mast, and that would leave me literally stuck. reluctantly I realized I needed to turn back and immediately set preparing to shunt and return back to Pittwater. Luckily the shunt went smoothly and I made it back inside the heads and made it back to the mooring.
The positive news was that despite heavy seas that would have severely puts the brakes on a mono-hull, Gaiasdream performed well easily reaching speeds of 11 knots in winds of 14 knots hard on the wind. She is a fast stable craft, even in heavy seas and is easy to handle, even singlehanded. the new challenge is redoing the calculations for the ball-bearing system and replacing and modifying the ball-bearing system to ensure they do not fail under load. This will require lifting the mast and with our 22 meter mast that is no small challenge. This will happen this coming week. At the same time we will do some other minor modifications. After this small refit we will do some sea trails to make sure things are fixed and up to it. We will keep you updated for the new departure time for pacific project.
June 22, 2013
Because of an illness of my son Joshua, gaiasdream’s departure has been delayed.
The new departure is set for early next week around the 18th of June, weather depending.
Preparations are in full swing, among lots of other things, I did an success full HF radio check with yacht “spice” which is 500M away, witch will tomorrow depart Bundaberg Australia bound for Fiji.
I will be sailing single handed bound for the Kingdom of Tonga, where I will take on a crew for the rest of the voyage. More updates soon.
Gaiasdream and me,
are all most ready for the trip, today we did the big shop which is always fun buying food in bulk to last us at least for the next 6 weeks.
We also have 400 liters of veggie oil on board to run the main engine, and 32 liters of ethanol for the stove. I have ordered some sun and wind from the right direction to supply the electricity and main propulsion for the boat.
Weather depending we will be departing this week.
Today I took gaiasdream out single handed to try out the new modifications.
The spreaders have been modified to face more aft to solve a number of issues. Witch worked really well.
Also There was a risk of she main sheets getting caught on the new davit, it turned out to be no problem at all.
We tried out the davit as well, while Gaiasdream was under autopilot doing 6.5 knots my son Joshua came alongside in Aquarius the blue fast boat I built for him with a top speed of 23knots.
Hooked up the towing and hoisting lines and then lifted it clear of the water, it was extremely easy and worked really well, the dingy is high enough above the water to keep there on an ocean voyage.
This is a great asset, not many yachts can deploy there dingies while under way and at short notice.
All in all a great day on the water!
Gaiasdream has another improvement, with each step we get more ready for the voyage.
This week we have added a davit to hoist boats out of the water and were they can stay while we are at sea, since its on the leeward side of the main hull its away from potential waves hitting the boat. This position also makes it possible to raise and lower the dingy while we are under way. The only draw back is the main sheets can get caught on the dingy, but I have put some things in place to stop that from happening.
Australia has officially just had its hottest summer on record, and one that has broken a number of other records for floods, rainfall and heat. Australia made the news worldwide for adding extra colours to the weather map and here on Gaiasdream, we are still waiting for a calm and dry weekend to get the lazy-jacks back on after Ini took the spreaders off to modify them. The one plus is that the rainwater catching system works a treat and we have two full tanks of freshwater and can take lots of long hot showers.