• 20th January 2010 - By greg
    5 months and 2 weeks until departure and I’m almost ready to go now – well, aside from the 200 lbs of food that still need to be packed, and two more ‘educational’ sea trial trips that I need to make.

    An item on my to do list since the last sea trials trip was to reinforce the trailer. When the garbage truck backed into WiTHiN strapped down to the trailer on the morning we were due to depart for Vancouver Island, I realized that I didn’t have adequate structure on the raised bunk supports to stop them from skewing forward and backward. When the truck backed into the bow, the vertical bunk support tubes rotated back and absorbed a lot of the impact. It was a lucky break. If the structure was as solid as I thought it was, the damage to WiTHiN’s bow would have been far worse.

    Still, it illuminated a flaw in the trailer design that I didn’t see. The temporary solution was to use tie down straps in tension to provide a sort of strut, but I didn’t want to rely on the straps for hauling a heavy, fully loaded boat across western Canada. So, I welded on some steel struts which I think are much better – photos below.

    I also added about 4 feet to the tongue extension tube. One end of the tongue extender is latched to the hitch on the truck, and the other end is latched onto the trailer hitch on the trailer. When the dolly wheel is down on the trailer, this long extension tongue is used to back the trailer way down the ramp into the water without backing the truck into the water. Since WiTHiN needs to sit up high on the bunks to clear that keel, I need to back the trailer very far down the ramp in order for her to float off the bunks when launching. Visa-versa when loading back onto the trailer. The previous tongue extender wasn’t quite long enough and we were putting dents in the hull from forcing too much weight on the bunks when launching before.

    One of the measures I can take to lessen the load on my battery, solar panels and wind turbine, is to use AA batteries for some of the portable electronics like my iPod, backup GPS, backup VHF radio, Viliv mobile PC, and emergency power for the SpiderTracks tracking beacon. I bought three AA battery holders and wired them up to the 12 VDC sockets that cam with my solar panels. This makes for a compact 12 vdc battery pack that can power any device with a 12 VDC cig lighter plug – almost everything. When the batteries die, they can be replaced from a stash of a few hundred AA batteries that I will have on board.

    I had a foam mattress made for the prototype boat and it fits perfectly in the cabin of WiTHiN, so I placed it back there onto of my Ventisit mesh pad. The foam mattress has a vynyl cover, so it ‘should’ stay reasonably dry. If it does get wet, then I can remove the foam to let it dry out. I also replaced my heavy duty Ocean Sleepware sleeping bag with a light quilt and sheet – far more comfortable in 16 + degrees C weather. I will pack the Ocean Sleepware bag for the start of the journey from Tofino, because even in the middle of summer, it can get quite cold out on the water. I’ll also be using the heavy duty bag for the sea trials next month.

    Speaking of sea trials, Bryon and I have changed the date for our east coast of Vancouver Island trip to leave on Feb 15th rather than Feb 1st. We plan on starting in Nanaimo and heading north to Port Hardy. Discovery Channel is meeting us along the way to finish filming a segment they started during the lake trials on Glenmore reservoir many months ago.

    Other recent work includes figuring something to hold my bed pan, and building something to protect the spare drive leg when it is stowed in the bow compartment – photos below.

    WiTHiN is packed pretty tight. I am going to make a diagram showing the location of everything and laminate it and post it in the boat. I already can’t remember where stuff is.

    Posted via email from adventuresofgreg’s posterous

  • 4 Comments to “5 months until departure”

    • John Bruce Milne on January 21, 2010

      Is that your potty hanging off the side of WithIn

    • Bryan Allen on January 21, 2010

      The battery photo shows AA alkaline batts. Based on my backpacking experience I’d very much recommend using AA disposable lithium batts – they cost more per battery, but each battery yields ~8x as much total power as an alkaline batt. The lithiums work better in cold conditions, too. And they’re lighter!

      Here in the USA the one company that seems to make the lithium AAs recently came out with a second version with a lower energy density; beware! You want the ones branded “Ultimate”; Energizer markets them here.

    • Diederik on January 21, 2010

      Isn’t your bed pan quite low? What if you’re doing your thing and some big waves hit the pedal boat…

    • Greg K on January 21, 2010

      I forgot to talk about the bed pan. I’ll be using the pan INSIDE and then dumping contents overboard and cleaning with the brush. From Jordan’s experience rowing across the North Atlantic, he recommended hanging it outside rather than inside. I was just trying to devise a way to hang it out there.

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