WPSU

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ecoboats

Cap'n and Duroboat owner Larry McPhail check out a Duroboat
that made it all the way around the Great Loop!
We've been dawdling our way south on Kentucky Lake, anchoring in pretty coves, watching the leaves start to turn red and yellow.

We spent a few days at Paris Landing State Park, and while we were there, we toured the Duroboat factory, in Huntingdon, Tennessee.

This small company makes small, aluminum boats.  Owner Larry McPhail invited us to visit because Duroboat bills itself as a good choice for the fossil-fuel conscious.

The trim, colorful boats are unusually light for their size, which means, if you strap on a gas-powered engine it will burn comparatively fuel to push the boat through the water.


A lightweight boat also means, you don't need a honking big truck to pull that puppy around on a trailer; your gas-efficient compact car can do the job.

And McPhail says, the boats are economically designed such that there's very little waste in the manufacturing process.

To emphasize the point that Duroboats are gas-efficient, McPhail's two twenty-something daughters, Katie  and Elizabeth, last summer completed the Great Loop in a 16-foot Duroboat.

The Great Loop is often seen as the province of retirees in cushy yachts;  Katie and Elizabeth say they aimed to show you can have this big adventure in a small boat--without consuming a ton of fuel.  You can read about their adventures here.

In other eco-boat news,  this week marked the running of the Wye Island Challenge, a race just for electric boats held in St. Michaels, Maryland.

And the winner?  Capt. Todd Simms piloted his 23-foot launch to victory with an average speed of 6.5 mph around the 24-mile course.

During the race, the boat nosed straight into winds averaging 15-20 knots . . .  and waves three feet high.  Says Sims, "This kind of race demonstrates the viability of electric propulsion  in real-world conditions."

Details for gearheads:  The Torqueedo Cruise 4.0 electric outboard that propelled the boat uses a 48-volt lead-gel AGM battery bank--or, two high-performance lithium manganese batteries.

Go for a virtual cruise in a Torqeedo-powered boat by clicking here.



2 comments:

  1. Hi, Cynthia & Bill--

    Re: Query about when I'd like to visit: The answer is when you're in the Florida area around the intra-coastal waterway. I'm thinking that I can visit your Aunt Marilyn and Sam before they leave for a cruise in mid-February, and you're there at anchor near Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton or Delray Beach. What do you think of that idea? Of course, I haven't said any of this to your Aunt Marilyn because it just popped into my head, and I wanted to see you because I haven't seen you since this past January at Josh's Bar Mitzvah. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. One other item: What do you think about that nasty bit of business involving the sludge on the Danube River? Worse, it will affect the waterways of 6 countries through which the Danube flows. So instead of that marvelous Strauss waltz, "On the Blue Danube," we now have the brown, crappy Danube. The pix on the tube are even worse! Ugh! :-)

    ReplyDelete