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21 March 2007 @ 03:29 pm
busy enjoying Spring  
I am sorry I haven't posted in almost a week.

I went to Columbus Saturday and to the Saint Patrick's Day supper at the Dayton Canoe Club Sunday.

Monday night I bought some wetsuit gloves and hoods and boots from the Whitewater Warehouse in downtown Dayton to go with the wetsuit I bought a little over a year ago.

I am monitoring the USGS river gage website for the Great Miami River and when it indicates water temperatures above about 50 degrees F I will begin kayaking with the wetsuit. If I capsize I won't have to worry about hypothermia.

For temperatures between 32 and 50, I will need to buy what's called a "drysuit". (Maybe next year.)

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I am fascinated by the practicality of yet-uninvented low-energy use watercraft.

The waterways of the US are still scenic routes but almost none of our roads are scenic.

And many of these waterways connect real places that people really travel between.

Yet boating in America is totally a recreational activity rather than a travel mode. And, all existing boating technology except sailboats, kayaks and canoes is energy wasteful because it is based on "planing hulls".

The un-investigated middle ground (motorized but energy-efficient) is vast.

A guy named Shaun Chen with a new company in suburban Portland, Oregon has just begun to scratch the surface with two brand new products, including this one that I think he plans to sell for about $900:


"The Hydroglider weighs only 40 pounds and a 1 hour charge will be enough to power it for 2 hours with a top speed of 25 mph.

Powered by a quick-charge, high-torque electric motor, Hydroglider’s patented design has a wing that lifts the surfboard and you up out of the water, greatly reducing drag and allowing you to achieve speeds up to an exhilarating twenty-five miles per hour. A steering bar makes manoeuvring safe and effortless."


I estimate it only consumes about 200 watts or 1/4 HP to achieve the kind of speed mentioned!

This is so little power that a tiny 4-cycle engine could provide it at over 200 miles per gallon.

Or, it could be solar-powered with just 20 pounds of solar panel weight.

This compares to the 5-15 mpg that almost all conventional boats consume to move at about 25 miles per hour.