serene – 2, part 40

ontinue trialling and adjusting various boat equipments. The 2.2 Amph SLA battery works, but not to my expectation, first, it’s too heavy, second, its capacity is quite small, and third, the battery doesn’t hold its electricity for too long, about 2 days without charging and the battery would exhaust… After consulting with some other paddlers, I’ve decided to replace it with 3 Lithium cells, the results are just… superb!

I now have about 10 Amph in the very small 3 Li-ion cells, almost 5 times more the capacity, and 5 times less the weight, yet 5 times the price 😀, advancements in battery technologies is just amazing! According to one of my friend, an “expert” in electric and electronic devices, the Li-ion would usually last longer, and compared to the SLA, with zero maintenance cost. After replacing the battery, I fitted the last electrical components.

The AA charger and the USB charger, they’re positioned inside another waterproof box, connected to the battery box with electrical wires inside a plastic tube. The installation is pretty easy, the two devices are connected via two switches, simply put your iPhone (or your VHF radio, or your AA batteries) into the box, turn on the switch, close the box, and let the Li-ion cells, plus the solar panel do their job!

Also, I’ve removed the plastic seat, replace it with just a back – rest instead. The back – rest is built from plywood, bent into a curved shape, covered on 1 side with a rubber sheet (to make your back resting more comfortable), and fitted into the cockpit aft, it could be rotated slightly to suit my various sitting positions. These are last updates for the boat in this 2016 year, now it’s time to just enjoy the water!

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

văn giảng

ựa: trong thời đại nhạc thương mãi đang hoành hành trên nửa phần đất nước nầy, thính giả hầu như đã lãng quên những nét vàng son vang bóng thời qua, những nét nhạc hiện thiếu người nuôi dưỡng, phải lép vế dưới thế lực của những nhà thương mãi và những người có uy thế phổ biến loại nhạc thời trang hiện nay.

Những ca khúc thời gian qua sáng tác hoàn toàn bằng cảm hứng, không gượng gạo hay uốn nắn theo một đường hướng khác với ý tác giả, viết bằng những tình cảm trung thực nên dễ làm xúc cảm người nghe, gợi hoặc để lại cho thính giả những cái gì cao đẹp mà thời gian khó xoá bỏ được. Họ viết là để ghi lại những cái gì muốn nói và hy vọng truyền cảm qua người khác dìu – dắt nhau cũng đi trên con đường xây dựng Thiện – Mỹ.

Tác phẩm thời ấy như một đứa con xuất thân một gia đình thanh – cảnh có truyền thống tốt, lại được nuôi dưỡng tử – tế, làm sao không trở nên một đứa con hữu ích cho xã hội. Người nuôi dưỡng nó là ai ? nhiều khi không phải là người sinh ra nó, mà lại là những người hâm mộ giá trị của nó, tự thấy có trách – nhiệm phải giới thiệu cái hay, cái đẹp cho người khác. Chính nhờ tinh – thần vị – tha và giá trị của tác phẩm, nhiều ca, nhạc sĩ và cơ – quan phổ biến được nổi danh và nhận được nhiều thiện cảm của thính giả.

Ngược lại thời nay, những tác phẩm giá trị lại không được trình bày nhiều vì thiếu người nuôi dưỡng vô vị lợi, những ca khúc kém phần nghệ thuật lại được nghe hoài qua các làn sóng điện. Những bài hát này cũng như những đứa con hư xuất thân những gia đình truyền thống kém nếu không muốn nói là hạ cấp, có những nét phù phiếm bên ngoài mà nội dung rỗng tuếch. Nhưng chúng lại gặp may, được sinh sản trong một cái thế giới đảo – điên, tâm hồn con người đang thác – loạn chạy theo cái hào hoa bên ngoài, được săn – sóc bằng những bàn tay trục lợi của những kẻ có thế lực. Có lẽ vì hiện trạng chiến – tranh, vì thế lực kim tiền của ngoại nhân, những người kém trí thức, thiếu tự trọng đã gặp nhiều cơ – hội tốt trở nên giàu có trong nháy mắt, và những kẻ đứng đắn lại phải cam chịu phận nghèo vì tự – ái. Có lẽ vì hạng người thứ nhất khá nhiều, nên loại nhạc thời trang hiện nay đã phục vụ đắc lực cho họ, và loại nhạc đứng đắn có nghệ – thuật không đứng vững được vì hạng người thứ hai quá ít. Đây là điều mà chúng tôi và những người tha – thiết muốn xây dựng cho nền nhạc Việt rất buồn phiền, nhưng không biết làm sao lật đổ những tệ đoan ấy vì khả năng phổ biến nhạc hiện nay đang ở trong tay những kẻ thủ lợi có thế – lực.

Thấy thực tại mà càng thương mến dĩ vãng. Cho nên ngay phút đầu tiên tiếp xúc với nhóm “Đất Lành” chủ trương tuyển tập nhạc “Vang bóng một thời”, tôi đã có cảm tình ngay. Đây là một việc làm đáng ca ngợi và khuyến khích, một việc làm vô vị lợi. Chúng tôi thiết – tha mong Quý Vị đón tiếp tập tuyển nhạc nầy với một thiện cảm nồng nhiệt, và miễn thứ cho nhóm chủ trương những thiếu sót vì hoàn cảnh khó khăn trong việc thực hiện.

Hè 1971, Văn Giảng

Một vài bìa nhạc Văn Giảng:

serene – 2, part 39

ade several short paddlings (10, 12 km) to trial my newly – built Serene – 2 kayak. The overall feeling is very pleasing, the boat is much easier to control compared to my previous one Serene – 1, and it’s faster, taking up momentum in just a few light strokes! But the velocity measures would be postponed until I could finish all equippings, all adjustments, and begin longer paddling to know precisely.

Yesterday, I had a capsize in my kayak, reason is that the seat raises the center of gravity (CG) by approximately 5 cm, just a very short distance but severely affect the boat stability. This is something I’d already knew in the designing phase, but still try to do the silly thing of installing the inappropriate seat. The solution is quite simple: remove the seat, just sit barely on the bottom, and build just a back – rest instead.

Apart from that, everything works well enough: the bilge pump, the rudder and rudder pedals, other electrical devices, etc… The shorter hull reacts more sensitively to load balancing, the kayak needs to be trimmed a little bit further aft to reach its most stable point. I’m especially happy with the rudder, to give a decisive conclusion on the Rudder vs. Skeg debate: the Skeg is simply left too far behind to argue! 😀

Only long paddling would tell, if there’re some significant improves in “economical speed”, the important point of a kayak designed for cruising: the minimum effort required to propel the boat on large distance and in prolonged period of time. It takes some more efforts and times to really complete harnessing my Andalusian horse and make it ready for sea paddling trips in this Northern monsoon wind season!

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

serene – 2, part 38

any miscellaneous jobs required still to finish equipping my new kayak for upcoming paddling trips. First is adjusting the seat’s back rest, it’s a bit too high that strapping on the spray skirt could be a bit difficult. I simple cut down its back, then rivet the cut – out part onto the rest part. The hatches’ gaskets are cut from a thin (5 mm) rubber sheet (1st & 2nd images), should do their job of keeping the water out.

I made a new cart for transporting the boat on land, it’s just a smaller and lighter version of the previous one. I reused the pair of wheel, couldn’t reduce the wheels’ size since they have to be big enough so that the cart wouldn’t sink in when pulled on sand and mud. The result is quite satisfactory, big enough to easily transport the kayak, and small enough to not affect the boat stability when carried on the aft deck.

The list of small jobs to really finish the boat seems to be never ending, there’s always something I could do to improve, here and there, e.g: a mesh bag would be installed inside the cockpit, under the deck, to store various things I could need during a paddling trip, e.g: a small knife, a tiny light torch, a small monocular (to be equipped), reserved batteries for camera and GoPro, lighter, my tobacco box, etc…

It’s an interesting experience equipping a kayak for long paddling trips: everything need to be ready and accessible around your cockpit: food and drink, the back up paddle, the paddle float, radio and camera, everything… 😀 Fortunately, my newly purchased PFD has two pockets on the front side where I could hold some crucial things with me: the VHF radio, the Garmin and the Cannon waterproof small camera!

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

serene – 2, part 37

ontinue trialling my newly – built kayak with some short paddlings. The adjusted rudder pedals now work properly and smoothly. The battery system charged well, everything works as expected. One point I’ve found out is that, the SLA (Sealed Lead Acid) battery should be positioned upright for it to be charged to its maximum capacity. I was thinking about Lithium battery which is more compact, lighter, has more capacity…

But that would be later, maybe I should deploy a system of SLA and Lithium in parallel, as the SLA could provide short – bursts of hight current (required by the bilge pump), and the Lithium could provide a lower amperage for a longer period of time. Today, the Sea – to – summit spray skirt package arrived, the all – neoprene thick skirt fits well to the cockpit coaming, it should do its job of keeping the water out well!

Also I’ve found out that I need to adjust the seat’s back rest a bit, it’s too high that strapping the skirt on could be a bit difficult. One important add-on to the kayak is the water drinking system. 2nd image: the 2 plastic water bags, from left to right: 10 and 8 liters respectively. The smaller oval – shaped water bag is put in the forward compartment, with a water tube running through a cable gland over the deck.

That way you can drink (suck the water out of the reservoir through the tube) without having to stop paddling. The low – lying bags would help with the boat’s stability, no more bulky water bottles needed, and the deck space would be clearer for other items of necessity. I’ve found this drinking system idea very practical, as I’ve lost quite some water bottles lashed to the bungee cords in heavy sea, when strong waves wash over the deck.

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

Vũng Tàu sailing – 4

erene – 2 is almost done, but the trialling would be continued on for quite some times. Now having some free time – slots to turn to sailing, joining my “sailing comrades” again in Vũng Tàu. North winds are turning much stronger, and though we’re sailing in a somewhat protected bay, the wind gusts reach 25+ knot, and waves above 1m.

The Baba (Vietnamese word for a specie of turtle) trimaran has been overhauled for repair and being refitted, there’re some works required still on the boat. It was such a wonderful experiences, and a very wet ride, when waves wash all over the boards. Looking at the stern wake in the clip below, we were going easily at 12+ knot! 😀

serene – 2, part 36

ade the first trialling of my kayak today, a short 10 km paddling just to verify if everything works! All goes smoothly, hurray! The solar panel is adding juice to the battery, could see that obviously since the lights have become more intense, and pump has become much stronger (I almost used up the battery the day before). Under this tropical sun, that wouldn’t be a hard task for the solar cells, I guess!

The rudder works nicely, the pedals could be easily kicked by my legs, changing direction instantly. The pedals movements could be improved however, to become lighter and more responsive. Every parts of the boat simply just work! And the paddles also, I’m feeling pleased with the new paddles. And for the main part, the boat itself… it feel just a bit more stable (that’s what I was expecting for), but the hull now tracks much better!

It could go quite straight even without the rudder deployed. The feeling that the shorter boat is very steady, and could possibly go faster compared to my previous Serene – 1 kayak. Though the LOA (length over all) of Serene – 2 is shorter, its LWL (length waterline) is pretty much the same. The higher free board makes climbing into the boat a bit more difficult, but that’s not a problem, cause the cockpit now is a bit larger.

The slightly higher free board is very important, it should keep water out of the deck for many of the times, and hence waves shouldn’t threaten flooding the hatches much. My overall feeling is very pleasing, for those months of efforts put into the watercraft! 😀 But 10 km is too short, I need to trial the new kayak more, and record the routes by my Garmin, to really evaluate the boat’s performances in precise numbers.

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

serene – 2, part 35

ticking the vinyl decal decorations is among the last steps that complete the kayak. Since the deck spaces are almost used up for various accessories, the boat names and owner’s informations go onto the port and starboard sides instead, and the boat eyes intrinsic for any Vietnamese boat of course! The solar panel is tied on the aft deck, stretched with two short wooden spars, and lines through its grommets.

There’re some more items to be built or fitted for this kayak: the seat, the carriage for transporting the boat. I would rebuild my previous carriage, reuse the 2 wheels, but build it lighter and smaller, to easier carry it on the aft deck. The seat and back rest are also important parts, but those would be postponed to a later phase of the project. Also, I’m still waiting for my spray skirt to be shipped from Amazon.

After sticking the vinyl decal decorations, the bottom receives additional 2 layers of transparent PU paint, making them 3 layers in total for the bottom (the deck only received 2 layers), protecting the vinyls. The handle line pulling through a hole drilled at the bow (with a wooden block inside) is just a simple hang – man knot, the kayak has no handle at the stern, since the rudder has taken up all the space.

It’s so good a feeling to see the boat completed! Looking back on the building progress, there’re still things that I’m not really pleased with, in building quality, in the look & feel, in equipments… But I believe this is my best boat so far, accommodating various small design changes that I’ve found neccessary from my paddling experiences. I should start trialling the kayak soon, to see how she would behave on water! 😀

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

serene – 2, part 34

he bilge pump is a critical component of this Serene – 2 kayak. Empty out a flooded boat, or simply make your seat less wet, it gives you lots of confidence and convenience on long paddling trips. Today, I installed the bilge pump with its water hose (through a hole drilled on the port side). Electrical wires are connected and carefully sealed inside plastic tubes with silicone glue to make them really waterproof.

I wouldn’t want the whole system to collapse just because of one leaked electrical wire (anyhow, there’s still the fuse in case of a power surge, e.g: short circuit somewhere). Watch the short video below to see how the bilge pump works, it’s just so great! 😀 I would just move a wooden knob (the reed switch), and the water jumps out! The small “buzz, buzz” vibrating sound of the bilge pump is so fascinating!

One problem, however, due to the very deep V – bottom of the kayak, some small amount of water remains still at the bottom which could not be sucked out by the pump. That’s not a big problem anyhow, cause I would install a seat that raises me a few centimeters higher on the floor, and wouldn’t make my pant soaking wet. In the video, the water flow doesn’t look very strong, since the battery is already running low.

I would make more thorough testings to see how the whole system works in combination: battery, solar panel, lights, and bilge pump! But I would wait until the 12V battery “fuel gauge” shipped from Amazon, so that I can have exact measures on the battery usage, how many times it could pump out a boatful of water. It’s important to understand how your system works, so that you could make good uses of them on longer journeys!

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4

serene – 2, part 33

ectified one problem with the signal light, the bulb is too greedy, it eats up a lot of electricity and could potentially burn up the reed switch (I’ve noticed the reed switch has malfunctioned sometimes due to the high current). So I replace the bulb with 8 small white LEDs (1 Watt each). Some more soldering work, but finally it’s done, equally bright, but less power consumed, and safer for the switch.

Today, I installed and tested the rudder system. First is the two cable lines used to pull the rudder up and down. The 2 lines run back to the cockpit and are attached to 2 small wooden balls, with a short segment of bungee cord. Third image: the wooden balls and bungee cord. The bungee serves as a shock cord, in case the rudder should collide with some thing and kicked back, so that no damage would be done to the whole system.

One simple rule to operate the pull up / down lines: grab the ball that is further from the cockpit and pull it. Well, it sounds pretty simple, but useful enough, when in action, you just don’t have to think over and over again: which line is up, and which line is down! 😀 The two rudder control lines run back to inside the cockpit where they’re attached to the pedals via 2 small wooden jam cleats to adjust the lines’ tension.

All works well, but the pedal motions are not really smooth, because the bungee cords are not strong enough to pull the pedals back (once one pedal is kicked, I would just have to kick the other pedal to balance the rudder). But I would just leave them as they are for now, as they’re working already, would consider replacing the bungees with stronger ones (or revise the design a bit) later on.

Serene – 2 photo albums
part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4