Epic adventurer - Murray river trip update


The story of Bullwinkle, the 4.3m racing catamaran.

Each of the different Bullwinkles are all the same hull - a 4.3m Sundance cat (locally built heavy fibreglass) deep displacement hulls (no centreboards)

Bullwinkle I was an old racing cat bought with a friend a long time ago. During one trip out we caught a snook because we decided to trail a vane and snook lure out the back (always a safe thing to do because the the fact that the ancient boat weighed more than the rest of the competitors put together, coupled with our lack of sailing skill meant there was never anyone behind us.

Bullwinkle II had the mast and rigging removed, an electric outboard, a large deep cycle battery added, and two milk crates to sit on so I (the other owner gave his half to me after leaving the country) could cruise and go fishing for up to 6km at walking pace. The main problem with Bullwinkle II was that everyone that saw us out on the water came out to check on us because we were sitting on what looked from a distance like the roof of a sunken boat.  (but thanks to everyone that did come and check on us - especially the guy on the jet ski that came all that way) You have to wonder why as they got closer they didn't wonder why we would be fishing from our sunken boat, but anyway, we appreciated the offered help.

Bullwinkle III had a 3.5 HP two stroke engine and a stack of aluminium poles as guard rails. The poles fit into 25mm(a guess) polly fittings so I could use the T junctions to screw everything together and hold it all down with rope.
It also had a wooden floor in place of the trampoline.  It also sported two deck chairs an echo-sounder, and a steering wheel made of an old pram wheel and a few pulleys to operate the original rear rudders. It was able to move at a top speed of 17 kph. Which is actually plenty fast enough when you are only 6 inches out of the water, and pretty good for a displacement hull.


Bullwinkle IV is a work in progress but will be aquaponics powered :)

Once again powered  by the electric trolling motor. - DONE

SatNav and Depth Sounder (and all required safety gear Except self inflating life vest) -DONE

Self inflating life vest - TODO

And perhaps some small safe (perhaps downwind only) amount of sail - TODO

It will have a 230 watt solar panel - DONE

Hopefully some supplemental wind generation as well. - TODO

It will have a comfortable but small and lightweight black swivel office chair that will operate the rudders - NEARLY DONE

The motor will be set 1/3 from the front between the hulls for ease of operation ie near the chair (it doesn't steer from that position, other than very low speed positioning for docking etc. For docking it can move dead sideways or in any other direction as required - you actually can steer it from there but at a great loss of forward power) The shaft will be cut and rotated 90 degrees so the accelerator twist is intuitive like a motorbike with reverse in the opposite direction

The chair steering will have a nylon grippy clutch so I can get off the chair and it will maintain it's course. -TODO

It will also have at least 2 x 6m lengths of PVC NFT tubes that will collect water from front facing tubes when the boat is under way, and run Murray river water (very nutrient rich from farm runoff and whatever else we pour into it. - but nearly food grade ie it's often used as Adelaide's drinking water) The water will be licked up at the front, run through the NFT tubes (planted with salad greens) and then the slightly cleaner water will be dumped into my tiny wake.   - TESTED - NEARLY DONE

I'll need a dead man's switch that kills the motor if I'm not on the chair or if I dont hit a button every 5 minutes when a buzzer goes off.  That way if I fall in it wont be the end of the world. (self inflating life jacket at all times - it's a short swim to the bank but I long walk to recover your boat if it just keeps running until the sun goes down and the battery goes flat 2 hours latter) - TODO

There will be some kind of fish keeper that draws water from the river when under way, but that I can hang over the side into the river when at rest so I can keep fish fresh. It might not be needed, because the river always provides carp at a pinch and I find them quite reasonable food if you you cook the crap out of them and eat them as they get crunchy with chopsticks directly from the grill. Their high fat content makes for quite nice crunchy bits and their gamey taste is helped a bit by smoke and over cooking. The chopsticks means the fact that they have all those free floating bones that aren't attached to anything are no longer a problem.  - NOT YET THOUGHT THROUGH

UHF Radio - DONE

CB radio - TODO

Backup lightweight camp stove - DONE

Navigation lights - TODO

Some kind of area boat lighting - just a 12 volt LED  trouble light or two from a automotive store under the solar panel  - TODO

20+ amp MPPT Solar Charge Controller  - TODO (as soon as I figure out how to get around the cost - 120 things in 20 years is supposed to be self funding and I need to do some creative accounting to perhaps sell myself the fish I catch or something :) )

Green house/rain shelter - TODO (perhaps optional as the solar panel will add a roof, and I might just have some clear plastic rolled up under it to make a rain shelter if needed, but if it's raining, I'll more than likely just pull in to the bank for the duration because I wont be making a lot of power anyway.)

Night time accommodation will be onshore via a swag -DONE
with an option to stay on the boat via a stretched canvas over the front section of hulls just in case there is nowhere decent to sleep, or I stop in a town. -TODO

Water purification will be via a small still to be used on a camp fire, and perhaps a small solar still on the boat . If that doesn't work I might have to buy a reverse osmosis device -

Campfire still - DONE

Solar still - TODO

Big hat - DONE

Time lapse camera or web cam or something - TO THINK




120 Things in 20 years, where we learn the most difficult thing to add to the Murray river trip epic adventure todo list is "Make list of things I've forgotten".


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