Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Bahn camper works. Moving campers into modern construction.

I have been interested in RV's for a long time. Over the years I have noticed they tend to built incredibly cheaply with a few notable exceptions (air streams, certain fiberglass campers, bus conversions). The most common build is basically stick built with sheathing hung on wood framing. you also then have some with aluminum framing. You have also had a number made with fiberglass, much  like how a boat is constructed with a top and bottom section molded and then bolted/sealed together.

One of my personal favorite types of RV is the truck camper. Having a removable living section and a truck to tow some other toy like a boat or ATV seems ideal. One issue these campers have is that weight is a major issue. Pickups have limited payload and truck campers often push the limits of these payloads. These would make them ideal candidates for lightweight composite construction with cored composites. While there are fiberglass camper builders out there making outstanding products they seem to stop short of using the most up to date weight reductions methods available.

Enter Bahn camper works. They are using cored composite panels bonded into a single structure. Which makes for an excellent light weight and long lasting construction. While I don't completely love their layouts and designs it's nice to see some real innovation on the weight and construction of truck campers. Looking forward to see how they move forward. Also to see some more custom designs as they offer bare shells for either custom or DIY builds.

For more information see Bahn Camper works.

Monday, November 19, 2018

Oddities and Oddballs Chevy Avalanche 2500

If your into cars (well trucks I guess) you likely know that GM offered 2500 versions of the Suburban and Yukon XL. Most of these heavy duty people haulers were bought by government fleets for everything from security to Fire and Police command cars. Whats a little less known is that the open backed Suburban better known as the Avalanche also had a 3/4 ton 2500 version during it’s first generation.
Oddly, enough the first (and possibly only) one of these I have seen in person was actually the first Chevy Avalanche I ever saw in person. Back at the time of its release I was working at a marina, and we were having some grounds work done and the owner of the landscaping company showed up in a brand new Avalanche 2500, towing a Bobcat skid steer of all things. I remember  walking up to it thinking that’s an odd load for a new fangled truckUV to be towing. Then I saw the 8 lug wheels and made a mental note to crack open AOL and look it up at home that night. Even thou it’s often ridiculous that mass market auto makers go down a rabbit hole trying to find buyers for niche products they would have been more profitable without, as a car guy I love the wake of oddities it leaves behind.
So what did ordering a 2500 get you over a 1500 Avalanche? Well mostly it got you an open bed Suburban 2500. GM was nice enough to give you a Big-block V8 the vortec 8100 (8.1 liter displacement) standard on the 2500 where as it was an option on the Suburban (the 6.0 was standard). It also gave you a slightly less cushy ride with leaf sprigs swapped in for the standard coils. You also got a full floating rear axle and of course those cool 8 lug wheels. The frames were also different the 2500 closer to the pickups then the normal Suburban/Avalanche setup.
Now why would you order this? My guess is Chevy was targeting the RV and big boat crowd with this one. Unlike the 2500 suburban with it’s somewhat automatic government orders the avalanche had little use in fleets (thou I have seen a few in fire dept livery). It could however tow 12,000 pounds with the optional 4.10 gear-set and 10,000 with the 3.70 gear-set. Making it the perfect truck for towing your fountain executioner or that tag along toy hauler to the desert. It was also likely one of the last big block sedans you will ever see.

Thursday, November 15, 2018

Home made electric boat

Came across this little guy in Marblehead MA last year.

Looks like a conventional little fiberglass dinghy. A simple rope and pulley arrangement controls the rudder to a little wheel. The neat part is there appears to be a Optima AGM battery ahead of the thwart and cabling leading down to what I guess would be a trolling motor or similar electric pod drive. Would love to be able to find out more about it.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Book review Nature of boats by Gerr

Lets try a new feature for today. Book review of Dave Gerr’s book, Nature of Boats.

Well just to be clear before we get into it I love this book, I can grab it flip thru it and always find something worth re-reading. The book is really more a collection of past articles that N.A. Dave Gerr has written over the years for various publications (many seem to be from his excellent column from Offshore Magazine. Which sadly no longer exists. )
The book covers topics such as boat construction, design , stability and performance. It also features a number of drawings from Gerr’s own designs.  The book’s short articles allow for easy reading while providing a wealth of information, This helps avoid the book feeling over technical (boring) that some of the other books touching on basics of boat design can be.
I personally love to read Gerr’s view of performance power and sail craft as well as his well though out alternatives, Like Needle a lovely high speed power boat that relies on hull shape and waterline length to achieve economical high speeds. There is also parts that come off as more off a how – to book, such as the chapters on Nestor the nesting dinghy.
Overall if you have a deep seeded interest in boats I recommend you pick up a copy and take a look.
Book Review: Nature of Boats

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Boat yard on the CT river

I drive by here once in a while and look at what’s left of a small working boat yard along the CT river in Cromwell CT. Based on the old sign it appears it was once called the Adams Henry boat yard. When I first came down here about 10 years ago the track for the marine railway extended across the road into the water. ( the track still appears to be there but the road was paved over a few years back. It appears the boats were winched up the track on a car with custom built cradles. The cradles were then shifted sideways onto the concrete walls in the yard.
 Looks like you could fit a couple dozen 25-35’ boats in there. A neat place for sure. There is a house on the front of the property but I never see any one in the boatyard. I’ve asked around but so far no one seems to know any history on the place. So for now here’s a few pics showing the yard and the rails where the enter the water on the opposite side of the road.

Interesting boat Carver 325

Sometimes you just find a boat and you have to look into it more. I happened to be looking thru motor yacht listings one day and came ac...