Building an Electric Boat Aquatron at Hales Bar

Building an Electric Boat

By Dan Fannon

F or quite some time, I’d wanted to build a boat. But what kind of boat? Would it float when it was done? Would it look more like a workbench, or would it have graceful lines?

My wife, Melissa, and I had many questions. In search of answers, we went to an annual gathering of boatbuilders in Guild, Tennessee, at Nickajack Lake on the Tennessee River, where we could talk with people who had built their own boats.

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Mobile member search

Find squadron members with mobile member search

By Dan Bartell

Have you ever been away from home and needed to call a United States Power Squadrons member but didn’t have the person’s number in your cellphone? Or perhaps you’re having lunch at a marina, and you see a boat flying the ensign or with a squadron burgee and want to call or email to say hello. Now there’s an easy-to-use extension of the USPS Information Center that runs on your mobile device’s web browser available at usps.org/mobile.

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Photo of Sails 2.0 author's sailboat Principia

Sails 2.0

New sails breathe new life into an old sailboat

By Jeffrey Taylor

I replaced the jib on Principia a couple years ago and had the mainsail made to order just last year. The old sails had big, fat, blown-out bellies and, at over 10 years old, were long in the tooth for Dacron sails.

Before replacing the sails, I didn’t know my boat was behaving badly because I had no idea how sweetly it could sail with nice, crisp, new sails. The old sails weren’t so bad in a light breeze, but if the wind picked up, they dragged the boat so far over on its ear that Principia was in danger of rounding up and behaved like a pig going to windward.

After getting the new jib, the improvement was so great that even with the old mainsail I could hardly believe it was the same boat. I hadn’t planned on replacing the main until Principia got caught out in a violent, intense thunderstorm at the beginning of the season. I rolled up the new jib before the first 45-knot gust hit, but the storm tore the old mainsail to shreds.

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Lake Michigan

Hybrid power refit

Taking a solar-electric hybrid approach to marine propulsion

By Phil Shelley

As an engineer interested in renewable energy, I’ve long considered the viability of electric propulsion for marine vessels.

In recent years, large vessels such as cruise ships, ferries and tugboats have increasingly adopted hybrid electric drives. Now that solar panels have become more efficient and dramatically cheaper, I decided to try converting a medium-sized hull to a solar-electric hybrid. Read More

Outboard problems underway

Troubleshooting outboard problems

Learn how to fix outboard problems while underway

By Rick Lavoie

Before starting to troubleshoot outboard problems on the water, make sure to secure the boat. Anchor if the boat could go aground or if wave action makes moving around difficult. If you can’t anchor, rig a sea anchor using a line with some life jackets and a bucket (or two) attached and deploy it off your bow.

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Step-by-step fiberglass deck repair

By Chris Leavitt

Houston Sail & Power Squadron/21 member Richard Lipham solved a big problem for Sea Scout Ship 1996. The ship’s main training boat, a 1973 Santana 30, had developed a crack in the outer fiberglass skin under a deck stanchion. The core became soggy, and finally pressure on the stanchion broke a hole through the deck. Here’s a step-by-step look at the repair.

Cdr Chris Leavitt, JN, of Houston Sail & Power Squadron/21 has been a Boy Scout leader since 1993, a Sea Scout Leader since 2000 and teaches seamanship, sailing and navigation. He has two sons and a wonderful wife of 37 years.

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Connect your GPS to your VHF radioa

Connect your GPS to your VHF radio

By Ron Schwiesow

Modern VHF marine radios include Digital Selective Calling, a semiautomated method of making radio calls. DSC allows mariners to send instant, digitally coded distress calls to the U.S. Coast Guard and other vessels within transmission range. It also allows selective, digital communication with other DSC-equipped vessels. When a GPS receiver is connected to the VHF radio, your vessel’s location is automatically included in the transmissions—distress or otherwise.

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