Widgets The Floatery » A Catalog of Unusual Boats

Elco electrics invite interest

Elco Drop-In Electric in a sailboat

I first read about ELCO in the book Devil in the White City.  The book tells the true story of a serial killer living the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. It simultaneously tells the story of designing and building the fair itself. ELCO was the company hired by Frederick Law Olmstead to bring electric boats to the waterways he designed. He was insistant the boats be electric rather than   steam-powered for their clean, quiet nature. I couldnt agree with him more.  Well, steam is pretty cool these days, but as much as I love the soothing rumble of a diesel engine (I have loved three diesel engines in my life), I hope go electric on the water from now on.  

No surprise then that I surfed over to ELCO’s site to see their current work.  These drop in electrics are interesting in their modularity, and appear to do a lot of the hard work for you in setting up your own inboard electric.      

ELCO Drop in Diesel repacement

Comments off

Accidental Adventurers: Kept Alive by Sea Birds?

Ko Ko Oo and Haung Htaik are lucky to be alive after supposedly floating at sea for 25 days in a cooler.  They apparently survived in monsoon water and fish barfed up by cormorants.  I am quite interested in this survival technique of having birds share their fish.  This follow up article from cnn states “Lee Hollingsworth of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds told CNN it was not uncommon for Asian fishermen to use birds such as cormorants to dive down and retrieve fish that are then regurgitated whole.”  How do you do this?  Do the cormorants come to rest, and then how do you coax them to share their fish?! 

via: Two Men Survive 25 Days At Sea In A Cooler.


Comments off

10 foot Circumnavigation a No-Go

According to the around in ten site, ” No one turned up in their 10ft boats to race around the world.”  Oh well.  I wouldn’t do that either.  It was a dwindling group already.  

The main man master microcruiser Tom McNally is still on the scene though, draw big crowds at the London Boat Show.  Go Tom!  We can trust this veteran to not bow out of his adventure.

Comments off

There’s Flukes!

Ted Ciamillo plans to cross the atlantic this summer in this wet-type submarine in 50 days.  The is sub is human (pedal) powered with carbon fiber flukes.  Apparently this fun fin (available for humans as the Lunocet) is 15% more efficient than the best rigid propellors!  I’m lazy, so I’d love to put a fin like this on an electric boat.  

via Crossing the Atlantic in a pedal-powered submarine – Boing Boing Gadgets

Check out the whole article at New Scientist

Here’s the Lunocet getting close to allowing breach.


Comments off

Beach Craft of Brazil

Thanks to a friend Jasmine, I recently got to scan these photographs from Brazil circa 1950 (give or take 10 years).  Her Grandfather was a pilot for Panam, a sailor, and photographer. In one of his trips to Brazil he took these pictures.  I am curious to learn more about the sailboats shown here.  They pair gorgeous exotic sails (at least to my eyes), with a simple rectangular keel-less hull that look almost like lashed rafts of logs that have been cut off to angle the bow.  I am completely taken by this set of photos.  Please post more information and links if you know anything, and I will add updates if I can learn more about this history of this vessel type.  I did learn so far the Praia de Iracema, as written on the image, is in Fortaleza, Brazil.     

Comments (2)

Free Fallin’ like Tom Petty

Noreq Free Fall Lifeboat

This little vessel is in a pretty elite class.  It’ll safely drop 19 people 16 meters into the ocean.  Yowza! Pictured is the runt of the litter– big sister can hold 48 people for a fall of 25 meters!  I love the details and styling.

Comments off

Tiny Boats Depart for Global Domination in Under One Month

That’s right, the Around In Ten race begins in less than 30 days.  It whittled down to three competitors, a Floridian, a Mainer, and Jerusalemite.  These fellows plan to race around the globe in boats smaller than 10 feet in length.  Steve Rinker, the Mainer (dare I say Mainiac? ) is doing the best job of updating the AIT photo gallery.  Here is his boat The Floating Bear in mid November.  


The Floating Bear.  Steve Rinker (November 17, 2008)

The Floating Bear by Steve Rinker (November 17, 2008)

Of course, if I were planning on sailing around the globe in a tiny boat, I would probably doing much more important things that uploading pictures to the internet.  So I thank Steve for sharing, and cant blame the others.  I hope this all actually works out, it will be fun to keep track.  

Speaking of tiny boats, no word on Tom McNally’s new crossing yet, but he was kind enough to actually comment here on this very blog! My first brush with greatness!

Comments off

Imaginary Motorized Washtub from 1931

Modern Mechanics Aug 1931

Modern Mechanics Aug 1931

Thanks to the Modern Mechanix blog with its righteous piles of scanned images from old magazines, you are now able to enjoy this bizzare doctored photo from a 1931 issue of Modern Mechanics.  While it appears presented as preposterous, I know some pumpkin boaters whose crafts are not far off this mark.

Comments off

Afloat in Hong Kong Harbor

photo by Karsten Petersen.  Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Nov 2, 1976

photo by Karsten Petersen. Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Nov 2, 1976

 I imagine since boats floated, people have made them their homes.  The fishing communities of China must be among the oldest of liveaboard cultures.  These images show the the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter in Hong Kong harbor.  The first image, from 1976, is from an incredible collection of images by Karsten Petersen.  Do not pass up seeing more of his images.

photo by ©UdoSm

This second photo from panaramio shows the same spot about three decades later.  I also found some pictures by  Bernard Tse.  He describes this community as the “remains of the aboriginal boat people.”  In recent images and satellite pictures, it is clear the numbers of people are dwindling from the days off when it appears you could cross the harbor hopping from boat to boat.

Comments off

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”

Comments off