Developping countries fast commuting boat project

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by trimix, Aug 16, 2012.

  1. trimix
    Joined: Sep 2004
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    trimix Junior Member


    I might need help for a precise feasibility study I am doing on a voluntary basis. The target of the project is to reduce commuting time between countryside and provincial cities using rivers rather than bumpy roads. This will be a kind of public services but will also help in the tourism development since tourists will be allowed to use it. However, riverside villages and users already raised some concerns that shaped the current basic requirements. Ultimately, this new transportation vector will reduce by half the time to go from main villages to main provincial cities, reduce the accidents on the road, etc... The same trip will take half of the time used by a bus for the same trip and even more for courageous motorcyclists !
    The idea is to have the same kind of service we have with commuter trains in which you can put your bicycle onboard to ride the few miles from your home to the station and from the station to your workplace.

    Here are the main guidelines :
    - a river passenger boat able to transport 50 pax and up to 40 motorbikes (the kind that are use by locals in South East Asian countries like Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam...). A 5MT reserve for freight might me ideal.
    - esthetic doesn't matter
    - fuel efficient (possibility to use ethanol to be envision)
    - fast commuting : cruising speed 30-35knots
    - closed cabin for passengers with sits. Air con optional
    - easy and economical construction and easy maintenance
    - able to resist to floating objects like water hyacinths,plastic containers, small branches, coconuts.
    - waves to be reduced at the maximum -> very important since river banks are not stable everywhere and are sometimes crowded with light housing constructions and this is a strong requirement from the authority to grant for the authorization to navigate to the future boat

    A catamaran is looking to be adequate but wave and speed constraints might be difficult to satisfy. We thought about using Hysucat type foils the tunnel foil might quickly suffer from floating objects or get stuck with water Hyacinths.... pro and cons !

    What are your suggestions ? Ask questions if needed, I don't want to post a large message to start however nobody will read it.

    Cheers !
  2. taniwha
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    taniwha Senior Member

    speak to Luigi of ******* boatyard in Pattaya, Thailand. He has a lot of experience in this and also built flood relief boats.
  3. J Feenstra
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    J Feenstra Junior Member

    Foil type may not be ideal as you described the river to be more of a swamp than a deep water river.
    Perhaps a scaled out version of a flat barge may be more up you’re river (haha..). It has a shallow draft so you can dock at the side of the river without any sophisticated docks. The problem remains propulsion and speed.
  4. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    Have you looked at a fuel consumption figure? That alone should pretty much kill the idea. Figure 1200 hp as a first guess. Thats 24 hp per person. Compare to a bus that can average about 1.5 hp per person at the same speed. If you wanted to move 600pax at 6 mph, that would be a different matter. Look at the specs and cost of fast ferries around the world. Round trip from Key West to the Tortugas on the Yankee Freedom II costs $165 a person.

    edit, okay- a quick calculation suggests you could probably run a door to door limo service at about the same cost. Surry van service round trip to the Miami airport from Key Largo is about the same distance and runs on a comparible schedule and costs half as much at around $90. A rental car costs about $40 a day.
  5. Alik
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    Alik Senior Member

    We have done a lot of these fast cats for SEA region...
  6. lewisboats
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    lewisboats Obsessed Member

    You are not going to do 35 knots and be kind to the banks... diametric opposites unless the boat is outrageously long.
  7. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    Speed, economy, and small wakes are mutually exclusive factors. They are not happy bedfellows.

    If you could make do with a very long narrow boat....maybe 150 feet long and about 12 feet wide, and you could live with an operating speed of about 12 MPH (about 20 KM/hr), then you might have a chance of makeing it work. That would be an expensive build and perhaps clumsy in a twisty river or a narrow river. It might also demand some discipline from the passengers.

    Ferries in that part of the world are practically famous for capsizing and drowning a lot of people. That is mainly the result of overloading, absence of enforced regulations, poorly maintained boats, and the propensity of the pasengers to run to one side of the boat in order to see something that interests them.
  8. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    here is a proven starting point, remember the Nazi S-Boat was

    developed from a banker's fast commuter yacht, and its semi-displacement hull and 'Lursen(sp) effect' reduced wake.

    1943 - German Schnellboot S.100

    German S-boats of World War II were among the best small combatant vessels ever produced. The armament carried by the S-boats gave them almost the same firepower as that of a destroyer and specially developed paint schemes rendered them almost impossible to see at night. The S-boat had a cruising range of 700-750 miles with speeds from 39-43.5 knots.

    IIRC, the hull design and size stayed almost unchanged while the boats greatly increased in displacement and engine power as the war worn it might work with very differing amounts of cargo.

    Also supposed to be fairly economical and seaworthy at both high and low speeds.

    What about those Russian hydrofoils? Surely Communist Viet Nam has exp. with them. Is the exp. include knowing why those never caught on in a free market? LOL. Because it sounds like you just painted the perfect niche use for them.
  9. rasorinc
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Our PT boats burned about 2,000 gallons a mission. That was 3 packards V-12--1000 hp each. At 3.25 a gallon = 6,500.00 US
    and he has BANK issues so will not be going 35 knots. I suggest he totally re-think the project. Douable but must downsize.
    Like to see a map of the rivers he wants to run in.
  10. trimix
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    trimix Junior Member

    Well, well, well ! Happy to read that the project revealed some interests. Maybe, it sounds crazy but maybe a good idea will arise from those exchanges.

    I read a lot of pro and cons that I would associate to passenger ferries rather than river commuter we are trying to define. However, I agree that some of the requirements are not compatible, so compromises will have to be made.

    The post from Squidly-Diddly regarding the Voskhod type hydrofoils that are still in use in Vietnam was the initial idea but for those who already took them in Vietnam even the ride is pretty smooth, you can feel the ages. However, the ride from Hochiminh City to Vung Tau takes about 1h15 for about 50km at an average speed of 30-33knots. That is our benchmark even they also suffer from the water hyacinths.

    The idea of the long and narrow hulls can be interesting if we think about a catamaran. We will have no waves to cross so long and thin hulls might to the trick and those hulls can be longer than the cabin/storage we don't care. A modern version of the hydroairy ship but not extreme as the W-AMV. In fact, an hydroairy with longer hulls could do the trick to reduce waves to a maximum without using hydrofoils which are requiring stability management which is not suitable with simple and economical design.

    Is this sounds crazy or can we further explore this ? This thread is meant to exist for brainstorming so please refrain to criticize too much once and the other comments, this will kill the debate.

    Cheers !

  11. sottorf
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    sottorf member

    A HYSUCAT hydrofoil system is not really prone to damage from floating debris if designed correctly. There are amany Hysucats operating in debris infested waters and they do not suffer from problems. Weeds and hyacinths would foul the foil but not any worse than the props. So the foil will not reduce your operability compared with a conventional catamaran.

    As the wave generation is a primary concern, you will need a design optimized for low wash. Typically this measn a long slender catamaran of light weight and one which operates away from critical depth Froude numbers. A HYSUCAT foil will reduce the wave height and wave energy of the catamaran by 20-30% (based on actual measurements before and after fitting foils).

    A big question is how fast do you intend to run and how big the boat boat needs to be (passenger numbers?).
  12. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    For the cost of one of these fast ferries, you could build a lot of miles of decent road. Both would have a similar life or annual upkeep. Roads empower the population. Ferry service constrains them and makes them dependant on powerful people. If your point is to subjugate a population, then by all means build a ferry and subsidize it to what ever extent is needed to prevent other transport options from becoming competitive. If you want a viable commercial venture, you probably should start with water taxis in the population centers and gradually expand the service. You can reduce the distance of the mainline longhaul this way. You need to understand the customer's needs. It's helpful to have some in order to do that. The water taxis I am familiar with are all customized to a particular route/season/clientele. A company with twenty boats will probably have twenty different boats.

    You seem to want a very specific purpose boat. If there isn't a lot a development on these rivers, I would think small versatile craft would be the order of the day. Special purpose craft imply a thoughly developed infrastructure to already be in place.

    What are you going to do if somebody does decide to built a decent road a year after you start the ferry? You had better be in a position to make sure that won't happen.
  13. sottorf
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    sottorf member

    For 30-33 knots the HYSUCAT will work well.

    THe Russian hydrofoils are a good solution for river transport and specific low draft models were developed for Russia's vast river netowrk. However now the designs are dated and there has been little further development unfortunately.

    The solution to this will be a long slender low wash catamaran, where the hulsl are optimised for reducing wave-making. There are quite few technical papers available on low wash catamarans available. If it is useful I can post some of the papers here I have on file.

    Personaly I think there is scope to develop ahydrofoil supported catamaran
    where the foil system is optimised for low wash by making use of wave cancellation effects between tandem hydrofoils.
  14. sottorf
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    sottorf member

    The Schnellboot was indeed a brilliant piece of engineering for its time. The low wake characteristics of this hull are based on its semi-displacement hullform and high slenderness. Both can be combined more effectively in a catamaran hull.

    Conventional hydrofoils never caught on in the free market for a number of reasons:
    • Operators have no experience with them and are worried about reliability. Most ferry operators look for 95%+ reliability of their vessel.
    • It is a very conservative industry. In the commerical world nobody wants to take more risk than they have to.
    • hydrofoils are expensive to build. The most successful hydrofoil passenger ferry is the Boeing Jetfoil. Its price is roughly 3 times a comparable catamaran.
    • Technical complexity and high maintenance cost. This is what killed most of the military hydrofoil projects worldwide.

    HYSUCATs do not have the same disadvantages because
    • they are fixed hydrofoils with no moving parts underwater. Therefore little maintenance and little additional cost.
    • they are fitted onto catamarans that are already well developed and reliable.

  15. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    I agree "roads empower people" VS ferry service.

    IIRC one theory about Russian hydros was not only were they paranoid about roads being bombed(not really an issue) but as far as "Homeland Security" it makes it a lot easier to control people's movements.

    You can't just hop off a boat in the middle of a near frozen river like you can with a bus or even train....even with cooperation of boat's captain.

    Also, a road can be maintained with a little constant low tech labor VS large high speed boat, which is "big money or nothing".

    But I'd look into reducing speed to about 20 and maybe a 'box keel' which is supposed to reduce wake greatly at about that speed. Its one of those "wonder designs" but really only works good for one particular ap, but that might be yours.

    I saw a vid of a non-foil box keel moving fast with no wake VS boat 1/2 its weight, but can't find it. IIRC it was an 1st class build by some European group and my guess is the no-wake box keel voodoo isn't something a hack designer is going to get right. Something about how the keel displaces water that lifts the boat then it all goes right back to where it was so no wake.
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