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  #1  
Old 01-29-2009
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Car Battery & Tipping the Boat

I purchased a Chrysler Lone Star 13 boat last fall. I have only had it out four times. I have a desire to sail, and a desire to fish. I have my boat set up so that I have a trolling motor on the stern, hooked up to a car battery. I do not have a great deal of confidence, ok, I have NO confidence as a sailor yet. I have this fear that I'll tip the boat over at some time. The fishing gear I can lose. But what will happen if I tip the boat and the car battery comes in contact with water. Will it shock? Will it blow up? Will it safely sink to the bottom of the lake? I know, I worry too much!! I'm an accountant, I get paid to worry!!

Thank you!
Steve
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Old 01-29-2009
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It will sink. It will not shock or blow up, the acid will dilute rapidly, the lead however will leach into that part of Marine heaven for all eternity so make a effort to retreave it asap.
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Old 01-29-2009
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Car batteries aren't really designed for use with trolling motors, which really require a deep-cycle battery instead. Car batteries are designed for very high loads for relatively short periods of time and then recharging completely. A trolling motor puts a mid-range load on the battery for an extended period of time and it can be hours or days before it sees recharging. Most lead-acid batteries will last far longer if only drained to the 50% charge level. Draining them further than that generally shortens their life drastically.

As for the battery and what happens.... if it is a wet cell battery that is not sealed, then the electrolyte will pour out and that can be a problem since it is mostly sulphuric acid. Ideally, you should be using an AGM deep cycle battery, since they are sealed, and inverting them won't cause them to leak acid.

Given that you're in fresh water, a 12 VDC battery won't be much of a shock hazard. However, you don't want the battery sinking to the bottom of the lake, if you can avoid it, since the battery is a heavy metal poison when you get right down to it.

The battery, regardless of type, really should be secured in a battery box, that is strapped or bolted to the bottom of the boat. This will help contain the acid if the battery is inverted, and also prevent it from falling out of the boat—and possibly taking your trollng motor with it.
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Old 01-29-2009
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Thank you for the replies. Car battery is too generic, I apologize. I do have a sealed "marine" battery, that is designed for trolling motors, and is what they call a "deep cycle" battery. I have been tying the battery to the seat so that it won't slide around, but I have not made an effort to secure it so that it would not fall out in the event of a tip. I'll work on that. I do have a waterproof case that I purchased, and the battery goes in that. I will work to fasten that to the bottom of the boat.

Thanks again!
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Old 01-30-2009
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IMHO, the best way for you to gain some confidence and also enhance your sailing skill is remove the trolling motor, battery, and all gear for awhile. Go out one day with another person who can help you right the boat in the event of a roll over. Go out far enough to get a good breeze, but not so far that you wouldn't mind swimming back and just sail the boat..push the boat to it's limits and let it teach you. It won't take long for the boat to teach you what makes it go fast, what makes it go slow, and what makes it roll.
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sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice sailaway21 is just really nice
shenry,
Bama's advise is what I would recommend as well. Welcome to sailnet both of you!
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Old 01-30-2009
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Right, don't use a car battery since it was not specifically designated for this purpose nor to be in constant touch with the water. And ny the way, that's some good advice right there from STTnBama.
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What, you want him to actually have to learn how to sail? CD would be so disappointed with you.

BTW, if you really want to learn to sail the thing, he's right...ditch the motor. Only put the trolling motor on the boat for when you're actually going to be fishing. I'd also recommend you get Dave Seidman's book, The Complete Sailor. It is one of the best books you can get IMHO. About $16 at the local bookstore.

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Originally Posted by sailaway21 View Post
shenry,
Bama's advise is what I would recommend as well. Welcome to sailnet both of you!
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You know what the first rule of sailing is? ...Love. You can learn all the math in the 'verse, but you take
a boat to the sea you don't love, she'll shake you off just as sure as the turning of the worlds. Love keeps
her going when she oughta fall down, tells you she's hurting 'fore she keens. Makes her a home.

—Cpt. Mal Reynolds, Serenity (edited)

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Old 01-30-2009
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Sage advice from all. Thank you! Yes, I know that I need to leave the trolling motor at home. I do have two paddles that I can use if I get "stuck". My boat is so small, that it does row easily. We use the paddles to get a little away from shore before lowering the dagger boards and catch the wind. I am sure that I'll get more comfortable with the boat the next few times that I am out.

Just yesterday, I received new sheet rope that I had ordered from West Marine. The ropes that we had were old cotton ropes, and they caused everthing from the main sail to the boom not to be as responsive to subtile changes in the wind that we wanted. I think that will help. I'll get there! Thank you again.

Steve
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Your "new ropes" comment brought to mind my first sail. I think you'll find the new ropes won't make much difference. My first boat was a little Glen L cat that my best friend and I bought from the guy who built it. The builder was a real perfectionist who, after building and sailing our boat, built a Shark catamaran by taking templates off a friends Shark and making his own molds. His prized possession was a framed copy of the front page of the NY News. They sent out a plane to greet the new Queen Elizabeth about 40 miles off New York. They wanted to be the first to greet her. In the picture you could see a little white triangle. Walt had sailed his Shark 40 miles offshore. He was that kind of sailor.

We took our first sail on a local reservoir and, when we checked in, the gatekeeper said someone else with one of those funny boats had checked in earlier. Sure enough, it was Walt. He knew we were going out and was checking to be sure his baby wasn't going to be abused by her new owners. We launched and were going nowhere. The day being dead calm it was, of course, not our skills. There just wasn't any wind. Meanwhile Walt, who had no idea that there was no wind, was sailing around us in circles calling out instructions. That was a lot of years ago and today I'd be the guy in the other boat but I'm still learning every day I'm on the water. Good luck. You're starting on the best avocation in the world. Many happy years.

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