CONCLUSION = New Electric Propulsion?
|No, this is not some new electric JET drive.
It is a 1,500 watt standard hair dryer
the same amount of power that drove
the ALGEMAC II Totally Electric
Powered Solar boat.
The test we planned dictated the minimum amount of power to maintain steering while making headway. The only way to find the actual speed and power is to make a test trip to and from Southport and also upriver and downriver on the tidal Cape Fear River. That data was collected in order to fairly assess how well the motors, batteries, solar modules, controllers and number of motors running (1, 2 or 3) that are required to safely cover the distance. Three Torqeedo motors having 2 horsepower each at a nominal 24 VDC comprise the total drive system.
SPOILER ALERT... we are talking about speeds of 3 to 5 miles per hour. If those speeds, completely negating the use of fossil fuels are anathema to your sense of water travel, please consider the hull speed of the boat is most capable of 7+ knots (8+ mph) which has been exceeded previously. That is not the test at hand.
The speed was kept to a max of 5 mph to monitor the increase of power inflow versus out flow. I found maintaining the ratio quite simple and should be amenable to control through artificial intelligence combined with landscape recognition so that the pilot may spend more time observing the realm rather than acting within it. As one who has raced motorcycles up to 160 mph on tracks, the slow pace allows just as much enjoyment at the other end of the speed scale.
Finally arriving at the Southport dock Robert and a few others from the Southport Wooden Boat Show stood by to handle the deck lines laying along the gunwale and in a jiffy the ALGEMAC II was neatly tied to the dock cleats. At 3:51 pm the arrival had been completed with the main battery bank at 25.9 volts DC and the motor controller displays catching up past 24.4. At the end of the daylight the battery bank was over 26 volts DC and I was on my way to the Appreciation Evening event at The American Fish Company, a pub at the end of the dock. BBQ, chicken, coleslaw and wine were gratefully accepted as well as positive congratulations from a number of what seemed to be a hundred guests.
The next morning the show opened at 10 AM as I scrambled to fold up the hide away queen size bed, sweep the floor, arrange the chairs clean my dishes, and bunch of trivial movements that culminated in a somewhat shipshape presentation. The streets of the town were awash in all manner of wooden boats but I was unable to get off our boat, it was mobbed most delightfully.
After the crowd had left the bed reemerged with billowy comforters, soft pillows and enough wisps of wind to lull the tiller man to sleep. Of course there was no way to pursue a good night dreamscape without a nightcap at The Fishy Fishy Restaurant bar and a call home.
At about 0900 hrs the tide turned toward the North and home to Wilmington, NC. As the sun and tide worked together and the combined power to the motors was regulated to just under 1,500 watts (2 hp) the GPS replied with a fairly consistent 4 to 5 mph all the 26 plus miles back to Cape Fear Marina.
Back through the City of Wilmington Port one needs to keep a sharp eye out for large ships turning in the port basin for you never can be sure of where or when a tug or vessel may change course and use your boat as a dockside fender.
Always nice to return to town through the Wilmington draw bridge. The tide action beneath the bridge has its own mind, with opposing eddy currents and swirls around the large piers and dolphins. Interesting too is a floating barge being assembled at a boat yard to be towed to Wrightsville Beach as the Commodore Club Restaurant. That should be interesting.