laser electrical system

Discussion in 'Laser Talk' started by birdhouse, Jul 28, 2012.

  1. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    hello-
    first post here. i bought a laser a few weeks back and have been having a riot with it! this is kinda long winded... and yes, i'm turning my laser into a RV for the water! no i don't plan on ever racing the craft. i usually sail for 4-6 hours on the columbia river outside portland, OR

    the thing that bugs me about the boat is the lack of dry storage. i plan on putting in a 13x30 waterproof hatch between the mast and cockpit. adding two bulheads, one in line with the mast pocket??, and one just in front of the cockpit. i'll add drainage thurofares along the bottom as to allow water trapped in the hull to migrate from bow to stern, yet stay out of the dry (bulkheaded) portion. this dry space should allow me to easily fit all electronics, as well as enough gear to do overnighters on some of the islands in the river.

    i've already bought a 30W solar panel to mount in front of the mast on the deck, a 14Ah 12v SLA, and a charge controller. i also purchased a chinese amp that hooks to an ipod that draws ~15w with two 3" marine type speakers that aren't chinese. so that covers the the music, and power set up.

    sometimes it gets pretty suspect on light conditions as i'm pulling into the ramp, so i'd love to have a lighting rig so i can be safe and take my time, and potentially night sail! i know i'll need a red/green light for the bow, but i'm confused on how to rig 360 degree white light. are they usually mast top? i could work that if i had to, but it would be a PITA! can i do a light off the stern on a pole? is that legal with sailer and sail potentially blocking the light? even two lights on the back two corners would be easy. i plan on using led for all lighting.

    some background on me: i worked in a boatyard for a few years. before that i build a half dozen CLC 15-17' sea kayaks. i own an offgrid ranch with solar and wind power. i built the wind turbine and it's capable of over a Kw. i know my way around a few things, but this sailing this is pretty new to me!

    thanks for any thought/advice/flames!

    adam
     
  2. Slipstream

    Slipstream Member

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    Pls post some pictures when you're done
     
  3. racinglasers

    racinglasers Member

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    Wow, just wow!

    This is like trying to turn a sea kayak into a sailboat ..... why don't you consider getting a little larger boat that will accommodate storage and electrical ?
     
  4. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Good luck making a water tight anything on a Laser. Sounds like a lot of work when looking for another boat would be an easier solution.

    As far as the nighttime lighting, most states are fairly lenient when it comes to a a small vessel without a motor. Often you only need to carry a flashlight that you can shine on the sail as other craft approach (I personally do not think this is enough). I think some sort of red/green light mounted on the bow would be sufficient.
     
  5. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    thanks for the replys!

    i'll take pics as i do the work. yes, i should probably get a larger boat, but this is my first sailboat, and i've owned it for less than two weeks, so i'm trying to temper myself and be happy with what i can do with it. i'm sure i'll get into something larger this winter when prices come down some. i really want a cal 20, or j 24, but the fixed keel thing is a whole other issue.

    i really don't find that fiberglassing is all that much work. mix up some west systems, wet out the glass, and wait for harden. i'll make the bulkheads in two pieces in my shop, then insert into the boat, join with more fiberglass, and fillet with west and filler followed by more fiberglass.

    i'm really excited to have a solar powered electrical system! though it will have severe limitations, it should easily provide music, a bow light, and charge my cell without issue.

    i'm wondering if all these retrofits will make the boat worth more or less when it comes time to sell it. obviously a racer wouldn't want it, but for a day sailor, it would be quite a treat!

    adam
     
  6. racinglasers

    racinglasers Member

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    Adam, you've been off the grid too long ..... get a grip!

    Laser's have value to people who race them in sailing clubs. You will reduce the value of your Laser with these mods. If you paid $500 for the boat then go for it!

    The cockpit is s too small for a day sailor to enjoy. You can find a used day sailor boat in the 15 - 17 foot range with a bigger cockpit that will be enhanced by your admirable efforts.
     
  7. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    i paid 900 for it with a lightweight ALU trailer. i'm gonna make the mods, as it will make me happier while sailing, and im sure a future buyer (non racer) will enjoy them as well. BTW, the solar ect. is on the cheap. it'll cost me less than $250 to do all the mods i'm talking about.
     
  8. Rob Hair

    Rob Hair Member

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    Adam, I don't mean to discourage you and if the mods are really what you want, then maybe you should do them. I do think that you must realize, though, that you will almost certainly make the boat unsellable, to racer or non racer. I would be interested to see your progress with this project.
     
  9. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    "almost certainly make the boat unsellable, to racer or non racer"

    can you elaborate on this? the solar panel could be easily be removed. thinking of mounting it with HD velcro. i can't see how having a nice waterproof area would hinder selling the boat. the front bulkhead would strengthen the mast pocket significantly... a common problem area with lasers. the total weight added with the waterproof area would likely be less than 10 lbs if the battery ect were removed.

    do you guys all just sail your boats for two hours max and not need any water/food/clothing?

    adam
     
  10. Merrily

    Merrily Administrator Staff Member

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    I have a port with a fat bag. Can store food, water and a dinghy smock in there with no trouble.

    Enjoy your mods, birdhouse.
     
  11. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    Being primarily a racing boat, and the reason a 20-year-old boat still has value is that it is still actively raced. What I'm saying is the priced of used Laser is artificially high. The changes you propose would make the boat useless for racing and destroy what value it had.
     
  12. Rob Hair

    Rob Hair Member

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    Adam, I'm sorry if my comments seemed harsh. I am trying to be helpful. I do think if you really want the modifications that you describe, then go ahead. If you expect to sell the boat, then I would not do the mods. I think anyone looking to buy a Laser would prefer an unmodified boat - I know I would and I don't race.

    I really think you would be happier and more comfortable with a larger boat - one that was designed for what you are doing.
     
  13. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    "The changes you propose would make the boat useless for racing and destroy what value it had."

    so you're saying i'm the only person out there to buy a laser with no intention of racing it?

    i bought the boat because it's quick, it was cheap, and it is fun. i'd like to think that there are at least a few others that would feel the same way.

    the mods i speak about aren't heavy. a big sailor could eat a few less cheeseburgers and get a bit quicker, or for me (165lbs) i can add some mods and still keep the gross weight at a minimum.

    adam
     
  14. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    "I think anyone looking to buy a Laser would prefer an unmodified boat - I know I would and I don't race."

    what would be so bad about being able to keep a fleece dry and maybe a sandwich? as stated before, i know my way around fiberglass, ect. after i'm done, the boat will be stronger, and won't look like a boyscout got loose on it with a dull hatchet. with a ~10lb added weight, what would be the negative side to it?

    adam
     
  15. torrid

    torrid Just sailing

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    This is the last I will have to say on the subject:

    1. Such extensive modifications are blatantly in violation of the class rules
    2. I hate to think what cutting a large hole in the deck will do to hull stiffness
    3. I'll gladly take my 10 lbs. of cheeseburger weight (actually more than that), which I can place where I need and use to hike in strong winds
    4. You do this to a $1000 boat, it will become a $500 boat at best (more realistically $250).
     
  16. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    i appreciate your forwardness. however,

    "I hate to think what cutting a large hole in the deck will do to hull stiffness"

    the hull of a laser is not joined to the deck, except along the perimeter and mast pocket. cutting a hole in the deck doesn't effect the hull stiffness much, if at all. furthermore, adding two bulkheads will actually make the hull stiffer, and more robust.
     
  17. BLS

    BLS New Member

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    Hey birdhouse,

    It's your boat, do what you want to it and then pay the consequences and/or reap the benefits. Best of luck.
     
  18. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    thanks BLS.

    i've got most of the parts sorted. hatch, fiberglass, west epoxy, bow light, speakers, 30w solar panel, fuses, 12v 12Ah SLA battery ect. still waiting on the amp. still need to get some filler stuff (microspheres or something) to do the fillets between hull and bulkheads and still need some of that 3m 5200 stuff. heading my my offgrid ranch this weekend to install more solar, but hopefully will have time next week to start mods.

    went sailing again yesterday after work. sailed to a new island in the columbia. put in about 6 miles total! i was FREEZING by the time i got back to the dock... wishing i had a nice cozy DRY fleece in a waterproof spot!

    adam
     
  19. laserxd

    laserxd Member

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    first pick up some beer, then start building and take lots and lots of pictures of the build and finished product
     
  20. birdhouse

    birdhouse New Member

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    i didn't think it was legal to cut fiberglass without a camera and open beer nearby??? i don't want to go to jail for this!

    adam
     

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