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Archive for October, 2008

Pumpkin Boats Galore

A Maine pumpkin boater

 It’s pumpkin racing season again.  All over the world, giant pumpkins are carving out giant pumpkins for racing.  Locations include Nekoosa, WisconsinWindsor, Nova ScotiaTualatin, OregonDamariscotta, MaineBurlington, VTElk Grove, California and Hampshire, England.  This list is not comprehensive, and it seems like this sport is growing in popularity, especially among competitive pumpkin growers.  These folks aim to grow big pumpkins, some well over 1500 lbs.  It seems you can carve a pumpkin boat from a 600+ lbs, but the bigger the better.  The Windsor, Nova Scotia race appears to be the largest race drawing over 50 contestants, as well as the most advanced, with both a paddled and motorized catagory.  This Wall Street Journal article notes that the first pumpkin boat was made by Wayne Hackney of Winchester, NH in 1996 when traveled 2 miles across Candlewood lake in Connecticut. » Continue reading “Pumpkin Boats Galore”

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Rats of Oz Go Big

This vessel, Mitzie, was built by some members of the Australian wing of international chopper bicycle gang group [thanks for the correction Mr. Limp Jimmy] and beer enthusiasts, Rat Patrol.  This undeniably unique amphibious ride features total couch comfort and steering via rotating cocktail table.  The floats are plastic barrels epoxied together and filled with a 2-part polyurethane foam.  These are enough to keep the 150kg (330 lbs.) boat above water with three passengers.  The water drive is a pair of paddle wheels, one tied to each bicycle drive wheel.  Unlike strategies with paddles to spokes, this is an independent unit.  The front wheel doubles as a rudder.

» Continue reading “Rats of Oz Go Big”

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It Floats and I Love It

Air Art from flip on Vimeo.
This via gizmodo, one of the best remote controlled blimps anything I’ve ever seen, by LaChLuVe (a group or person i cant find any more information on).  This craft appeared during the Radio Controlled Airship Regatta at the Airship Convetion in Friedrichshafen, Germany on October 10th 2008.

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Using Your Hands

I was tipped off today to a new-to-me class of craft, the Paddleboard.  This image is from the look book of shaper Joe Bark. You have the choice the paddling on your knees or prone.  Some models such as the one pictured have rudders with a tiller you can grab with your toes.  Paddleboarding goes back to the early 20th century in Hawaii where paddling was an essential part of being a waterman.  A waterman, I have learned, (at least in US surfing culture) is the oceanic version of a cowboy, multi-talented brave and quiet.  Like the waterman, paddleboarding resides primarily in Hawaii and Southern California.  Like Bull-Riding, Paddleboarding appears incredibly uncomfortable.  Perhaps in part because of this, it seems that paddlers earn points for embracing this far less glossy aspect of surfing.  After the jump, watch a video: » Continue reading “Using Your Hands”

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29 Day Solar Powered Atlantic Crossing

Last year the solar electric boat Sun21 crossed the Atlantic Ocean in 29 days with five men aboard, a Shipbuilder, Skipper, Doctor, Historian, and Biologist.  This passage set the record for the fastest ever solar-powered atlantic crossing.  The fastest Atlantic crossing by any boat, set in 1998, is two days, 20 hours and nine minutes.  Sun21 has a cruising speed of 5 knots.  65 square meters of solar panels provide 10 kilowatts of power for the 12 ton boat.  In the keels sit 520 Amp Hours worth of 48 volt batteries that store 25 kilowatt hours of power, about 80% the average daily use of an American home.  These batteries keep two 8 kW motors, one quarter the size of the electric motor in a Toyota Prius, running 24 hours a day.

The boat cost over US$600,000 (700,000 Swiss Francs) to build and was funded by “idealistic individuals.”  Considering the bloated floating trophies available for view in most large ports, costing many millions of dollars each, this boat is a great example of well directed wealth!

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Two Men Cross Pacific on 15,000 Plastic Soda Bottles

©Peter Bennett/Ambient Images (from JUNK blog)   

©Peter Bennett/Ambient Images (from JUNK blog)

This is JUNK, a homebrew boat made of recycled materials, proven in an ocean crossing.  Dr. Marcus Eriksen and Joel Paschal have crossed the Pacific ocean on a raft whose flotation uses the bottle-in-net floatation technique.  In fact, there are 6 individual 30 ft pontoons, lashed together with aluminum masts.  Perched on top is the fuselage of a Cessna airplane as the cabin.  It is square rigged and makes about 2 knots.

» Continue reading “Two Men Cross Pacific on 15,000 Plastic Soda Bottles”

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Dampf Faltboot! A Steam Powered Folding Kayak.

Dreamt up in 2001 and first launched in 2004, a gentlemen Heiko Schmalz from Leipzig has created yet another testament to exquisite German engineering.  In this case, a steam powered folding kayak.  The steam boiler, hanging from the cockpit combing, is heated with wood and provides 0.3 horsepower to two side wheeler paddles. (picture after break)   » Continue reading “Dampf Faltboot! A Steam Powered Folding Kayak.”

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Sydney Harbor Shrunk With Magic

In this case, sadly no shrink-ray was used. Instead, we are witness to the magic of bent light and digital imaging in the hands of Australian photographer Keith Loutit.  Using a tilt-shift lens effect, these time-lapse images of Sydney harbor appear to be the most incredible boat models ever.  They are great fun to watch, with great music too.  Watch them embedded here, or follow the links directly to Vimeo to watch them in HD.  As a side, these are great lessons in the kite-like movements of boats at anchor in a wind or current.

Bathtub III from Keith Loutit on Vimeo.

one more short clip after the jump » Continue reading “Sydney Harbor Shrunk With Magic”

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“Mine is Smaller Than Yours”

Tom McNally and his 3' - 10" vessel, Big C 


Tom McNally and his 3ft.-10in. Vessel, "The Big C"


Until recently, I was oblivious to an ongoing competition of ocean crossings in small boats, very small.  Pictured above is Tom McNally (image from his myspace page) from Liverpool, England.  At age 65, aboard this 3’10″ vessel, The Big C, he is about to attempt a 10,000 miles double-crossing of the Atlantic over about a year and half.  As part of sail 4 cancer, McNally will be raising money to fight cancer while under way (you can donate via the s4c link).

» Continue reading ““Mine is Smaller Than Yours””

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