Wharram Builders and Friends

A Photo & Discussion Forum for Wharram Design Enthusiasts

    We are approaching the point where going all electric will make sense..........at least for a "voyager".    The cost in inconvenience of maintaining a gas or diesel engine is at the point relative to batteries and solar panels, etc that unless you are married to a schedule, or impatient it makes sense.  Batteries are expensive.... solar panels are "cheap".  But it means that you can run an electric galley, a water maker, and electric propulsion (in port).   Imagine eliminating gas or diesel, propane or alcohol. Eliminating the cost and weight. Eliminating pumps, cans, tanks, lines, filters, dirty fuel issues, different standards for propane bottle fittings, having to have a vented compartment, eliminating the danger of explosion, etc.....Having reliable refrigeration, fresh water that you KNOW is good quality and don't have to haul out on a dinghy or take a slip to get.........  Being able to take a fresh water shower in the cockpit without having to worry about using precious limited water......... It's a WIN WIN WIN situation as far as I can see.   We can purchase lithium batteries economically enough that it would be foolish to use anything else when you factor in REAL usable capacity.......not to mention cycle life.   Regenerative electric outboards are available and not expensive compared to ICE outboards.

     My personal dream that I'm hoping to achieve is a "small" catamaran to go world voyaging in as a long term (many years) live aboard.  Because weight is such a huge factor in multihulls, everything points toward electric.   I want a level of independence that would previously have called for a larger boat....but I don't want a big boat....the optimal size would be the Tangeroa , which with aggressive weight control I could equip with a decent "workshop" in one hull, and a decent complement of tools, spares, and materials.   It would have a biplane junk rig, and use one or two outboards.  A pod or the "half pod" I described recently would be a non-negotiable.   Everything would be geared to "max independence".   It would have a refrigerator / freezer in some form, and a vacuum sealing system for foods, and some sort of dehydrator... perhaps along the lines of "sailing the farm".  Cooking would be electric with a small propane backup, and direct solar options.

    The big challenge is electric and salt water........ inherently incompatible.   The problem is connections...That's where electrolysis happens.   Interestingly lanolin seems to be about the best protection from this......at least ashore.  You can buy all kinds of fancy products, but ordinary lanolin from sheep will stop corrosion / electrolysis better than any of them (really).  

     I dream of slipping the surly bonds of earth, and dancing the ocean on laughter silvered wings....  Playing fast and loose with the poetic words of John Magee....... As a pilot this beautiful work has been an inspiration flying ultralights, trikes, hang gliders, ordinary aircraft, and even a jet.   The beauty and joy of sailing falls into the same joyous realm... at least for me.

Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, --and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of --Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov'ring there
I've chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air...
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I've topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew --
And, while with silent lifting mind I've trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.

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