Designing and possible building a selfsufficient seaworthy boat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Rasponov, Feb 26, 2023.

  1. Rasponov
    Joined: Feb 2023
    Posts: 1
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    Location: Belgium

    Rasponov New Member

    Ahoi fellow captains and ship designers/builders!

    I have had an idea brewing inside of my head ever since I was 15, and since I'm turning 30 this year, I wanted to atleast get the design on paper of this boat.

    I got a few boat types and ideas of which I want to build atleast one, and I have settled on this ship as my main plan, with the other ships being a back up in case the first ship doesn't get build.

    What I want to build, is a ship sized between the Calypso from Jacques Cousteau and a commercial Fishing Trawler like the northwestern etc.
    Purpose of this ship would be to live selfsustained on her, and explore the waters I visit with her.
    She would need to be able to be sailed and maintained by as few crew as possible, but only if possible.
    I was also thinking of giving her the option of sailpower instead of only engine power so that her reach is further and so that she's more enviromentally friendly.

    As for interiour, I would like a few things, mainly a diving deck that can be accessed from the bottom of the hull of the ship so that it's easier to get in and out of the ship, and a small underwater observation room (hence why I included the Calypso in the inspiration). She will also require a Greenhouse so that vegetables and fruit can be cultivated inside of her (with the roof being on the main deck so that it can be made of strong glass and so that we can give the plants the sunlight they need) and ofcourse we will need some sort of water purification system

    I'm not looking for a luxury ship, just something that I, my partner and the eventual crew can permanently live on in case of (see her a bit as a prepper ship, instead of a prepper bunker)

    I was thinking myself of buying a decent sized second hand ship that needs restoration, and stripping the superstructure and insides of her, leaving the engine and hull, then rebuild her "from the ground up", but I would atleast like a design on paper handy, so that I know what kind of dimensions etc I need to look out for if I buy a second hand ship for this purpose.

    So my question is, is someone available who can help me draw out some early blueprints of this vessel, or knows a place where they make custom blueprints? I'm definitely willing to compensate for the work. I'd do it myself but I am severly lacking in the art department unfortunately.

    Anyways I would also like some input, advice, and ideas from you friends, as you all are more experienced than me, and I welcome any and all advice.
    The only advice I don't like is to not do it. I know it is a big undertaking, and I will not build her in a few years, she for me is a project for the rest of my life and I want to spend as much time as I like into it, I also will not be doing the work alone.
    As they say in Belgium
    Niet geschoten is nooit raak.

    Have a wonderful day friends!
  2. comfisherman
    Joined: Apr 2009
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    Location: Alaska

    comfisherman Senior Member

    Have seen a few re purposed crab buy back boats get converted to eco tourism, others to giant expedition yachts and others to gold mining dredge boats. Can only think of a couple that are still floating around being taken care of. Rest have been scrapped after becoming wards of the harbor. One in Kodiak was sunk by the Cg, the just cut up a 125 marco like the northwestern last winter on the beach in homer. Probably could have bought it for 1$ and the promise of taking it away and never coming back.

    Since a lot of this is just internet conjecture and fanciful thought, I'll pose only one idea.

    These were almost all driven with a big 30+ liter cat. While they are all supposedly under 200 tons or just barely it's mumbo jumbo that keeps them under that. Having watched them be hauled out quite often by the 660 ton lift in Kodiak, most those boats are 375-450 and the sponsoned ones push the 660 limit.

    So figure out your sail Sq feet needed to move something that curb weight is 375 tons.

    On the upside ther are big, could grow a lot of crops on the back deck. The one that sat for 17 years had a pretty good set of spruce growing out of its rotted deck. One the coast guard sank had a full night club/strip club built on the back deck... so plenty of space.

    I've moved a few around and with a good helmsman it only takes one guy to do tie up lines.
  3. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Barbados

    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Welcome to the Forum Rasponov.
    First question - how many millions of dollars (or guilders or euros) do you have available for this project, or how many will you be able to acquire in the next 10 or 15 years?

    Be aware that once you go over 24 metres Loadline length (which is effectively the waterline length) in Europe everything becomes a lot more complicated re manning and regulations.

    You might well find that it would be cheaper in the long run to buy a second hand vessel that is ready to go, if you can find something that is close to your requirements.
    However the requirements for a moon pool complicate things somewhat, although it should be fairly easy to add a small greenhouse for your veggies........ :)

    And very often it turns out with re-fit projects that it would have been cheaper / less stressful in the long run to simply build a new vessel from scratch (if you have the necessary millions available that is).
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2023
  4. Rumars
    Joined: Mar 2013
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    Location: Germany

    Rumars Senior Member

    The problem with your ideea is the greenhouse. Biosecurity laws will severely restrict where you can go and if you can return. Countries get upset at someone bringing in a fresh apple, ferrying around an entire ecosystem is simply unreasonable.
    You also don't need it to begin with, because a ship needs fuel, paint, spare parts and other things you can only find around civilization. The self sustained ship doesn't exist, you can only define the lenght of the voyage. Where there are people there is food, and if you have the money to buy fuel you have the money for food. Storing several years worth of food is just a matter of planning.
    Water is simple, desalination is common even for small private yachts.

    Regardless if building or buying, there are plenty of dive support vessel designs in all size ranges.
    As for someone "helping" you, forget it. A boat this size is a professional job, if you want a full custom design you hire the NA bureau of your choice and tell them what you want. If you want just modifications to an existing design same thing, the guys who designed it in the first place will accommodate you.

    After you decide on a length you start looking at the legal requirements for operating it, and the various options (aka. loopholes) that will make it possible, for wich again there are specialized people (aka. marine lawyers and tax people) that you will have to hire.
    rwatson, VinTin and bajansailor like this.
  5. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    Location: Milwaukee, WI

    gonzo Senior Member

    This is a multi-million euro project. Further, you need to calculate the cost of operation. As a minimum you will need a captain, mate, engineer and two deckhands. I know you plan on being the captain, but unfortunately don't have the experience or qualifications. You can accumulate experience and eventually get a captain's ticket though.
    rwatson and bajansailor like this.
  6. rwatson
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    Location: Tasmania,Australia

    rwatson Senior Member

    If you would like to review a slightly less ambitious project similar to yours, you might like to check out Project Brupeg, on YouTube
    I think it might provide a bit of useful perspective.

  7. Gottlieb
    Joined: May 2023
    Posts: 1
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    Location: South Africa

    Gottlieb New Member

    Hi Rasponov. Contact me @
    Not sure if I may share private contact details here but couldnt see a way to send a private message
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