Matthew's blog

Crossbeam webs

After a (rather too long) hiatus from building the Starwind 860, we're back at it with the plywood webs of the aft crossbeams. (A similar set for the front crossbeams will be built once this pair are complete.)

The trimaran's folding crossbeams are a fairly conventional box section structure, with plywood webs fore and aft joining thicker top and bottom flanges of laminated wood strips.

A truckload of plywood

Delivery day is always a good day for someone building a boat.

We picked up the first batch of okoume plywood for our Starwind 860 yesterday- the first real "work trip" for the '05 GMC Yukon XL that'll eventually become this boat's road-going companion. Progress then ground to an immediate halt. (If it's 28 C and mostly sunny, you don't work- you take the boat out to the sandbar to chill out for a while.)

Engine technology to watch for

With the recent release of the final report of Nigel Calder's HyMAR project, marine internal combustion / electric hybrid powertrains are making waves once again- and not necessarily in a good way, as Calder's team found that the benefits of the expensive hybrids were limited to a relatively narrow, low-speed operating regime. We've known for quite a while that the major advantages of gas/electric and diesel/electric hybrid cars- namely, instant start/stop and regenerative braking- don't apply to boats. We've also known for quite a while that hybrid systems only make economic sense aboard ship if the house loads are comparable to, or larger than, the power required for main propulsion.

Tech addicts need not fear, though: There are many other fuel-saving and pollution-reducing technologies waiting in the wings, and hybrids aren't quite out of the running yet.


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