Motor Controls

It’s certainly a bit of a travesty talking about motors right after the last post referring you to Glen’s very down to earth rational. I have met very few people in my lifetime who truly live up to what they preach, and Glen is most certainly one of them. He applies his eco-political sociology to every inch of his daily life, learning to use scarce resources efficiently and sustainably. What for me conforms nothing shy of a waking nightmare, like our entry into busy Pago Pago Harbor with no engines, for him is an exhilarating dance with the elements he wants to do over and over again. His spartan but highly efficient double canoe has no engine and I still remember like it were yesterday entering San Pedro Harbor just north of Los Angeles right after nightfall on our first journey on a Polynesian rigged vessel aboard Manu Lele. Glen’s face was chiseled with absolute attention, tuned perfectly to our surroundings, and he danced from one mast to the other, adjusting the sheets, tweaking the tillers and taking advantage of every huff and puff of the feeble and fickle winds inside the breakwater. We rounded up into an empty space upwind just barely wide enough for Manu Lele. The master sailor brailed the main sail to stop the forward motion, but we ended up just a pinch short of where he wanted to drop the hook. He unbrailed the sail for ten seconds and brailed it back in. Manu Lele advanced a foot and a half and the anchor went down exactly where it had to be.  Glen’s highly developed skills weren’t the only magic that night. We had barely sat down on the hilariously practical deck chairs, white plastic garden furniture with the legs cut off, when the full moon started to blush on one of its cheeks. A partial lunar eclipse unfolded above us over the next hour or so while we reminisced about the highlights of our five-day journey out amongst the Santa Barbara Channel Islands that lay sweetly behind us in time.

But I am a little proud of the contraptions I epoxied together to be able to work Aluna’s auxiliary engines from the cockpit, instead of having to twist myself down into the motor wells whenever an adjustment is needed. You can buy those kinds of things from the respective engine manufacturers, but they set you back an obscene amount of money. So I fiddled and twiddled, cut and pasted, analyzed and compromised, tried and erred until I could connect the two lengthy cables to the Criscraft twin control head I had bought for a couple bucks at one the hundreds of nautical swap meets we dragged ourselves to during the building of Aluna. Here is a shot of some leftover pieces from the fittings I had made for our two old and cranky outboards we started our journey with. They could be classified as remnants from the development phase and still haunt the bilges of Aluna, I haven’t had the heart to let them go…

When we got our swift and always obedient and ready to serve new outboard in Pago Pago, I immediately got to work and with the experience of the previous research and prototyping it took me less than a week to get the system operational. Having a careful look at the following series of pictures, and if you count with bit of a nack for fiddling with plywood and epoxy of your own, you should be able to reconstruct something to fit your own situation, should you happen to have the need. And if you’re as lucky as I am you’ll receive plenty of compliments and admiration not only from your marinized peers!



2 Responses to “Motor Controls”

  1. Thomas Says:

    Those two old motors weren’t cranky, they just needed the right kind of love. The greatest luxury in sailing is not needing a motor. It shows you have entered a state of understanding – no wind no speed no matter. Perhaps this is why one of the most derided boats is the McGreggor 26 with it’s 55hp motor, stubby mast and lost hull shape.

    • alunaboat Says:

      So the old and cranky one must have been me then! For those petrol engines the only affection I seem to be able to generate are swearwords. In the end though, they needed parts more than any kind of love. With the new motor my vocabulary of swearwords has atrophied!

      On 26/11/12 2:08 AM, “Aluna’s Travel the World Blog”

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