Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cool Ideas

I’m starting to think that just as cars now are only available with everything that was once called an option, boats are only being offered with bow thrusters, generators, and air conditioning. A quick survey of the weekend arrivals is pushing the 50% threshold anyhow. What happened to sailing to quiet places to be cooled by summer sea breeze and invigorated by a swim and fresh air? I never have been “like the other kids,” but I just can’t see the attraction of going from shore power air conditioning to anchored out generator air conditioning.

Here’s my air conditioning unit. Pretty simple. Think it was marketed as the “Wind Scoop” once upon a time. It’s fairly effective, though it does get a bit wonky in places where wind and tide oppose. The plus side is no generator, no circulator pump, and no compressor. And correspondingly no fossil fuel consumption. The air smells nice too. I don’t think I’d thrive on 35’ of recirculated air. I suppose the downside is not having that sense of security so many cruisers in the era of entitlement draw from a pulsing internal combustion engine.

And another cool idea that needs no juice… latent heat of evaporation is the concept. I think I first read about this in a C.S Forester novel. But I thank good science teachers for my understanding of the concept. In simplest terms, when water evaporates, heat is absorbed. That’s why we feel cold in wet clothes in a breeze, even on a hot day. Applied to the new favored stainless water bottles, this principle provides a refreshing temperature drop, though not the jolt of icewater. My specific setup seems to work well with an old gym sock (preferably recently laundered,) slipped over the water bottle. Fuzzy side out evaporates, hence cools better. Michael Jackson fans might go in for one white glove instead. Same concept. Hang the setup in a shaded spot with good exposure to the wind. Even with refrigeration, this setup is great as it keeps the hydration near to hand, reduces cold loss from frequent refrigerator openings, and makes you feel smart just for knowing the concept! Try it. Some folks will think you strange for wearing 1 gym sock on your water bottle and none on your feet, but they will suffer that thought over a tepid water bottle.

I won't get started on the bow thruster standard option now used in lieu of the rudder and engine for steering...It will just make me cranky.

1 comment:

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