Projects here are in a different category because they are not in the critical path to getting off the dock for the move to Friday Harbor and other 2012 mini-adventures. In general, these are larger, more complex, or more expensive than the ones that have to be done first in order to solidify the substrate. I have not been maintaining this list much… most of the action is at the one linked above.

Notably absent here is the whole übergeek class of projects… the console system, Arduino network, Datawake, piano, and so on. Naturally, there is a fair bit of overlap; a number of standard off-the-shelf essentials (like HF radio) happen to be located in the console, thus landing that over in the gizmologically intensive planning document due to packaging. So basically, the collection on this page is for everything except the lab and its tentacles.

Major Ship Enhancements

Dodger Replacement

The original fabric dodger over the companionway was beautifully done (by Artful Dodgers) but is now getting very tired. Instead of replacing this with traditional soft materials, I wish to make it out of sheet stainless or other material with opening planar polycarbonate windows… I hate that blurry flexible stuff that can be damaged by paper towels. This will provide solid mounting for antennas and the solar water heater. The most likely material choice is King Starboard, which is very much in the DIY realm… stainless would be nice but extremely expensive to do well.

  • Check all the attachment bolts/pins to make sure the entire assembly can be removed from boat for engine-pulling
  • Define the 2-D shape (fits within 4×12 sheet) for the top piece, as well as specify the gauge
  • Cut to shape, pre-bend approximately, and attach to existing dodger frame
  • Design front framing strips to bound window assemblies
  • Design windows (opening if possible, at least the front one) and integrate with framing

Redneck Bow Thruster

Although some traditional sailors turn up their noses at the idea, a bow thruster can make a huge difference in close maneuvering in wind and current… Nomadness does not behave well in reverse and has some weathercocking issues that can make slow-speed control very difficult. But Cap Sante quoted $13K for a Lewmar tunnel truster installation, which is crazy. My RBT idea is an external deployable solution that can be tested with off-the-shelf thrusters and then support experiments with water jets (well-proven and widely used by European tugs… though willdo.nl appears to have died). I’ve been posting about this concept for years and just now discovered Exturn, so there’s probably some zietgeist afoot.  If I can avoid having to invent this, it would be great. Unfortunately, commercial units like that and Sidepower that mount externally and drag through the water are not appealing to me, so my deployable concept is still more interesting… though potentially fiddly. Current tasks:

  • Attach Hull-guard strip bought from Shurtz Marine as gasket for vee
  • Design the platform and interface shape
  • Cobble a simple test unit with the on-hand pair of Minn-Kota 65-pound thrusters
  • Do a series of tests to establish one data point

Solar Water Heater

This is a pre-heater for the Isotemp, using the same heat-exchanger loop that was intended to carry engine coolant. I don’t like hooking it to the engine for lots of reasons, but it’s a perfect way to integrate solar water heating into the boat.

  • Find suitable collector (possibly Heliatos system)
  • Acquire smallest gear pump
  • Plumb through deck
  • Add basic controller or dedicated PV panel if the scale is correct
  • Over-pressure valve and maintenance port
  • Interface with Isotemp

Hydroponics Bay

One of my voyaging objectives for 20 years, this is a dedicated cabin devoted to an efficient veggie-growing facility (the converted forward head compartment, though the toilet will remain). Modules with nutrient I/O and a data port will have a home rack in this room, with a high-power Lumigrow ES330 providing insolation. Modules can be unplugged and relocated to lifelines and cockpit stations where the same I/O is available, allowing efficient use of natural lighting whenever possible.

  • Acquire Lumigrow ES-330
  • Remove sink, mounting cabinet, and medicine chest
  • Design overall system with central nutrient tank and pumps to remote ports
  • Spec Arduino node for module tracking and data collection
  • Install light and module nests


This substantial project, already well-defined with a full schematic (see Issue #9 of the Nomadness Report), is a centralized water-distribution, filtration, production, and monitoring system that will be located on the wall next to the aft head compartment. As we get closer to doing this, I’ll break it down into to-do items.


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