Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Since the dawn of time ....

From the earliest times man roamed the earth, clad in pelts and bearing tools of stone and wood ... and throughout all events that have transpired since, until this very point in time .... IF .... if mankind (and womankind) has learnt anything at all ...

... it would be that the ONLY civilised way to start any day is ... with an espresso coffee and a properly made croissant.


I live in a great part of the world. In fact, if I knew of a better place, I'd probably live there.

Mandurah - looking south towards Bunbury / Margaret River
However, no-one in this region makes proper croissants. They are all bread rolls in a crescent shape and taste nothing like they should.

On the basis that life's too short ... ENOUGH IS ENOUGH !

So .... I am going to make a couple of dozen croissants (with 32 layers of butter) and I'll show the process and the results on this blog soon.

Stayed tuned ...

Monday, 9 January 2012

Single-handed cruising & Hybrid Propulsion Systems

Well … I admit it. I have spent a little time drooling over technical specs on the Hybrid Marine website. How sad is that. In fact, one of my first entries to this blog was of a boat powered by a hybrid system.

Any weights, Hybrid Marine's products have been good, if not a bit pricey. Though, over time, with attention to ongoing development, they are creating increasingly effective systems, making them a more astute buy. Also, proliferation has brought price reductions. They make widebeam & sea-going systems too.

What is a Hybrid Propulsion system ?

They can take many forms, but to Hybrid Marine, it is a diesel engine charging a bank of batteries to power and electric motor driving the prop. The diesel can also propel the boat if required. It requires a little more room to accommodate the electric motor and the accompanying bank of batteries.

The batteries work as house batteries too. And with a bow thruster fitted, the battery for that can be used as a spare if the house batteries are low.

The down side of battery banks is the initial cost, the space and weight. Weight relates to ballast, so is more a consideration than a cost.

Maintenance is also an issue and if not maintained correctly, may not live out their expected lives of about 10 years, pumping up the running costs/cost of ownership. 

Hybrid Marine provide good battery maintenance systems with increasingly better to understand monitoring systems for those that may not be the most knowledgeable as to how it all works, but becomes the end user (and owner) of the gear.

A bank of batteries may provide around 8 hours running time before requiring charging. Not bad eh.

So what does all this have to do with single-handed cruising ??

Well … I mentioned ongoing development at Hybrid Marine. And an item to accompany their systems is currently in prototype phase and hopefully available soon, which could re-write the manual on single handed cruising.

And that is a remote control, which in this day and age should not be rocket science. Though a very clever addition, particularly where locks are concerned.

Adding my two-bits ... twice

1.   If they are truly smart, the battery for the remote will be rechargeable by replacing it in a cradle on or around the control panel. I look forward to seeing it listed (with my free-to-use cradle idea) as an option soon. Let's see if they read this blog.

2.    With an onboard 12V mini-PC (also functioning as audio & video media centre) connected to a VPN via your marina's WiFi, Australian located (or located anywhere for that matter) boat owners could monitor their boat's power and security systems to alert by email, phone or SMS marina staff if any intervention or maintenance tasks are required, providing those sytems have a provision for PC monitoring.