Solar boat trip on Caboolture River

Its a dogs life...

The Caboolture River is a quiet picturesque river not far from Brisbane which offers a delightful cruise for a solar boat. The trip was partly for testing the boat but really just for the fun of exploring up river from Monties Marina on the Beachmere Road.

Tarci conning the solar boat

I had moved one bank of engine batteries from its original location to a position forward to help with adjusting the trim of the Sienna. This bank of batteries was not installed yet, just located in place so we could the effect on trim, which is good. I’ll now be able to go ahead with making a shelf for them and to complete the power connections and cell monitoring. The new location has limited height available so they will be laid on their sides facing the centreline of the boat. The location will be awkward but, hey, boats are like that.

Here be dragons

So for this trip we were using the remaining two banks of engine batteries to power the Cruise 2. Sometimes we travelled at full speed which was around 6 knots with some assistance from the tide which was still slowly filling and almost at the top. And for some of the trip we travelled at around 3knots using only the power from the sun. At this speed on a sunny day the motor is using just solar power alone and not taking anything from the batteries. We started this trip about 12 noon and by the same time the next day the batteries are full again. We were boating for about three hours and in that time used only the power we can get from the sun in one day.

View from the bow

The Caboolture River is flowing in its floodplain and takes a very windy and interesting course. The banks are sometimes open cow paddocks and sometimes lovely dappled grassy glades in the forest. The kind of places elves would love to hang out.

Dining table of cedar and hoop pine

The Sienna is remarkably efficient and is proving to have a nice match of solar power and motor size. We motored at whatever speed caught our fancy and its cool that this matched just about exactly how much power you can get from the sun in one day.

There’s space on the roof for more panels but if today proves to be a good example, there will be plenty enough to provide the power thats needed for boat rental.

As well as powering the engine the solar panels also run the fridge, which we put to good use today, and it also runs a small fan in the composting toilet. The composting toilet is a great solution for any boat.

Elven glades beyond the fringing Mangroves...

I’ll be putting one on Current Sunshine when I have some spare cash.  It does not require a holding tank and therefore doesn’t require holes in the hull.  As well it doesn’t smell and you end up with nice garden compost.  And easy to dispose of.  On Current Sunshine the holding tank is about as good as you’d get and still it is troublesome.  It needs to be emptied regularly and in contrast to a composting toilet, gets worse the longer you leave it.

The small fan that draws fresh air into the toilet directs to a tube which is meant to lead through the roof to the outside air.  But I haven’t had a chance to do this yet and so its just exhausting into the toilet compartment.  And yet even with this poor arrangement there is still no unpleasant smell.  There’s a slight damp kinda musty smell, not unpleasant, that you get in cellars and caves.  But overall I’d recommend a composting toilet if you’re vaccilating over it.

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