advice on Thai Longtail boat project

Discussion in 'Projects & Proposals' started by napalmtheelf, Jul 20, 2006.

  1. napalmtheelf
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    napalmtheelf New Member

    Myself and a few friends are planning a 12 month trip up the Eastern coast line of Thailand, and the notion has come up to have a longtail boat built for us to make the trip in. Then it could be given away at the end of the trip when we reach the Cambodian border.
    As I say, the intended duration of the trip is 12 months so we're not in a hurry. However, to the point. Can someone advise me on whether or not a longtail is appropriate to this journey, its sea worthiness given changing weather conditions, or shallow waters etc.
    We would be going for the larger ribbed version with partial decking, and larger fuel capacity and covering to cope with changing weather. The aim is the hug the coastline so avoiding out to sea.
    Any advise on the subject?
     
  2. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Oh dear some one else watched 'The Beach' movie. Sorry but the answers to your question Is the boat capable? Well they were never intended for such journeys and would not be capable. The journey from Pattaya or even further north, leam Chabang is a mine field of deep sea ports, ship yards and oil refineries etc etc. If you got south of Pattaya you come to the Thai Marine port of Sattahip where you would be arrested for entering these waters, certainly approached. Then you would be at Rayong, mud and more ship yards, refineries deep sea pipes bouys etc,--- you know the usuall navigators nightmare. In the mean time your boat would have sunk any way. The weather can blow up to a dangerous level for such a vessel.

    Then you expect to dump the boat and walk up the beach just before Cambodia, the place where tourists are kidnapped for money!!.Interesting holiday you have planned there.

    The eastern sea board is industrial apart from some tourist destinations. To do any thing like this you would need to go to Crabi or Lanta Island, and travel as far as Malaysia,--a far safer destination.
     
  3. Mikey
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    Location: Bangkok, Thailand

    Mikey Senior Member

    I would be more inclined to say that the long tails can do a trip like that, they are pretty sea worthy. I have been out in a rain storm with heavy wind and irratic seas and the boat did pretty OK. Let's make a comparision; A 26 foot sailboat can cross the atlantic, if the weather doesn't turn really rotten on you, but there are better choices :)

    But the area you have chosen... Jack is absolutely correct, you cannot pass Laem Chabang and Sattahip, forget it. You would have to start east of that. And 12 months is too much for the eastern seaboard only. Plenty of time to do the south and then trailer the boat to Rayong and continue, not very expensive in Thailand. And you don't build a new long tail, you buy a second hand one.

    I drove down "the tounge of land" between Thailand and Cambodia almost as fas south as you can go with my daughter only a couple of weeks ago, safe enough for me not to worry about that.

    Mikey
     
  4. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    Mikey, I think I know who you are. Lets see now how can I verify that without disclosing your identity.
    Did you have a boat in Phuket that got broken into and the thiefs crow bared your drawers open because they didnt know how to lift them up first?
    Oh by the way tourist have been drowned in long tails,its faily common for the huge 4x200hp engined speed boats of Boat lagoon Phuket to dash out to sea to rescue those things. Google-- Phuket gazette, archives.
     
  5. Mikey
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    Location: Bangkok, Thailand

    Mikey Senior Member

    It was bad seamanship that caused the tragedy when one crew member of ABN AMRO 2 lost his life. And the definition of seamanship does not change if you are the skipper of a Volvo Open 70 or of a longtail.

    There are clear limitations to the weather that a longtail can handle, but from my own experience I can say that they aren't as bad as many think. My comparision included "if the weather doesn't turn really rotten on you" and "there are better choices" - both these talk for themselves.

    Neither Thais nor tourists are known for their good seamanship and people die because of that, yes, you are right Jack, but if you respect the limitations of the boat, respect the sea, and is experienced, then the trip that napalmtheelf talk about is feasable.

    Jack - You are very experienced in these waters and you could do this trip safely - I never said that everybody could

    Mikey
     
  6. napalmtheelf
    Joined: Jul 2006
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    napalmtheelf New Member

    Did they take a lontail trip in The Beach?
    Only remember the swimming for the island part.
    However, thanks for your advice. I was expecting heavy shiping because of the access to the East, but thanks for making it clearer. I was drawn to the Western coast up to Phi Phi, but Krabi and that area around there I know well and hoped it would be mirrored further up, making a nice journey. Sad that 'progress' turns the seaways into a shreader! oh well
     
  7. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    So I take it you are not the Mike I know then?.

    To assess the capabilities of longtails one only needs to look at where they are used. The Chao Paya river in Bangkok has hundreds -nay thousands, perfect for the absalute calm river, Chopping through the clumps of vegitation like a food processor.
    In contrast to that, you would not find one on the beach of Pattaya any more, if you do they are for ferrying tourist a hundred yards or so to the big boats. Similar story at Ko Larn they are just there to enlite the passengers.
    Again the area of Kantang (south west) many long tails darting between the islands of Lanta, Ko muk, ko kraden, ko Ngia, a perfect place for them.
    In contrast to that you would not see one on the beaches of western Phuket, Katta Karron and Patong as these beaches face the Andamman sea.
    I think you have to agree there is a pattern forming here.

    I guess if you really wanted to do what Napalmthelf was expecting to do then you could, but this would be a test of seamanship and endurance.
     
  8. Gypsie
    Joined: Apr 2005
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    Location: Lombok Indonesia

    Gypsie Randall Future by Design

    There was a case in Phuket where the Thais where not too happy about a Farang owning a longtail and someone was assaulted, it might be the case in other places in Thailand
     
  9. Frosty

    Frosty Previous Member

    A "Farang" is Thai for foriegner!!

    Sorry Gypsie
     
  10. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Thailand powercat spotted

    I was just over visiting Thailand for the month of Aug, principly the NE this time. But for the last week I went down to the Chonburi, Pattaya, Rayong area to meet and talk to a few boatbuilders that might be capable of building a few large cats of a design similar to my 65 footer.

    I found this rather interesting 'simple' cruising powercat docked at Ocean Marina south of Pattaya. I would say, not a fancy yacht, but rather a floating cottage, particularly were she powered with a little less engine. Obviously straight lines lend themselves to wood panel construction

    This might be my idea of a vessel to explore the Thai coasts with. Any comments, positive or negative?

    Does anyone know the origin of this vessel?...I suspect Thailand itself?
     

    Attached Files:



  11. View attachment 9509 [/ATTACH]
    This catamaran was built in Malesia and works as charter catamaran in the gulf of Siam.
    Albatros Design made for us a similar design for similar use, let's say a party catamaran to be used in day trip in Thai water and between Thai island. Cabin version will be available too.

    Comments welcome.
     

    Attached Files:

  12. brian eiland
    Joined: Jun 2002
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    Location: St Augustine Fl, Thailand

    brian eiland Senior Member

    Your layout drawing does not come out dark enough. You can go back and "edit" your submission and make the drawing a lot darker.

    I assume you are saying Malaysia??
     
  13. Yes, sorry, I am italian and for Malesia I intended Malaysia. But I don't know how to make more darker the attachment. I just changed it. You can see the boat on www.amdesign.co.th
    Luigi
     
  14. Scott Carter
    Joined: Oct 2006
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    Location: Annapolis

    Scott Carter Senior Member

    I see this thread is over a year old, but I thought I'd throw in my two cents re. Thai longtail boat seaworthiness.
    Some of you may know that I began a post-tsunami longtail boat building project in the Phang Nga province of southern Thailand. It was on the west coast facing the Andaman sea, where, depending on who you talk to, somewhere between 1,000 and 3,000 longtails were lost during the tsunami over the entire western coast. Lots of aid flooded (no pun intended) into the area, including re-building longtails. My project was the Cape Pakarang Boatyard www.tsunamiboatproject.com (not actively building anymore) and we built 119 longtail boats and donated them to fishermen who lost them in the tsunami (or so we hoped). We also repaired about 30 or so which were just damaged.
    So, what do I think of their seaworthiness from this experience? For starters, because of the Thai methods of construction (no plans, setting the carvel planking first and then adding ribs, etc.) the hull is quite round in shape. Different builders apply different techniques (some do set ribs in place first, "western style") and so some boats come out with flatter bilges than others. But overall the boats are very roll-y (they roll easily). Step on the rail of one off of a dock and you'll know what I mean. The woods typically used are tropical hardwoods of various species, but most have high specific gravities (are heavy) and so the boat, with no engine, is lucky to float if swamped. Add a 250 kg. engine and longtail drive and they'll go straight to the bottom and stay there. Typically they have no decks other than a small fore-deck, so modifications for an extended journey would be mandatory, but readily achieved. In terms of their weight, they're heavy. A typical 25 rib boat (this is how they're described in terms of length in Thailand) has a 10 meter keel and will weigh in at just over 2 tons (I've weighed several of them). Again, this depends on the wood species used and the builder's discretion as to the molding and the siding of the various structural components.
    In terms of structural soundness, they're like battleships. Several of the recipients of our boats related stories of losing their grandfather's boat in the wave. This, of course, would be an exception as most fishermen do very little in terms of maintenance, and eventually worms find their way in. But while new-ish, they're over-built and robust, for the most part (there are always exceptions though). Typical frame dimensions are 3" x 5". This is 166% of the cross sectional area of what is called for in the scantlings listed in Dave Gerr's "Elements of Boat Strength). The keel cross section is typically 3"x10" which is 326% of the area specified in the same scantling tables. My point is that these are very stong and robust boats, but that's not all that seaworthiness is, as most of us know.
    In terms of the power plant, a Yanmar TF-115 self-contained engine, bolted to a gimbaling and swiveling (360 degrees total swing-around for reverse ability) longtail drive (from where the boats get their name) develops around 10 h.p. and pushes these boats to about 12 to 15 knots (not too shabby). But, if you've ever seen them driven you'll see that they are physically demanding to operate, especially in tight quarters. Some are fitted with rudders, which makes long course steering a bit less exhausting as the longtail just drags straight out behind the boat and the rudder makes minor corrections. I've recently built one with an inboard Yanmar engine/gearbox, tiller steered. It works well, keeps the engine protected, is quiet and easy to operate. I would recommend this arrangement over the longtail for any extended passages.
    So, that's my two cents. I wonder though if these guys have taken off already? If so, good luck!
    Scott Carter
     

  15. Mikey
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    Location: Bangkok, Thailand

    Mikey Senior Member

    The frames are very tightly spaced. I like the comparison with battle ships :) As you say, they are also very heavy to handle, I was surprised and I think there are few who wouldn't be. I drove one from Phi-Phi to Phi-Phi Lei back in October 91. I it had been a bit windy for a couple of days, weather wasn't that good, pretty decent waves, and I was really tired when I got there. The owner took over on the way back again which was just good because a rainstorm with strong winds came in. Seeing all land dissapear made me scared but the owner didn't worry at all and just told me to relax. So I did. He had spent all his life (young life, only 25-30 years old or so) on long-tails. Now, HE got very tired handling the boat in the waves. I don't know if I would have been able to get the boat back, probably, but I would have been totally exhausted.

    The boat rent was 400 bath for a full day including diesel back then, that was when the bar to the left before coming to Reggae bar still had the sign "Please smoke your **** elsewhere" outside... All that is gone now

    How is the schooner project going?

    Mikey
     
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