Doomsday boat.

Discussion in 'All Things Boats & Boating' started by river runner, Apr 29, 2012.

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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Personally, I went through this thought process in the 70s, and designed and built this boat as a result.
    But I was young and naive then and really thought I could live off the sea and what I grew on the boat.
    And I tried hard, raising three kids aboard.
    30-some years later, I'm a bit wiser about the whole thing.
    A boat needs a port, and that's where the problems start.
    You can't just stay at sea indefinitely.
    The watermaker stops working, you're low on fuel and bad weather is coming, or you broke an oil line and dumped the oil in the bilge and are out of spare, or a sail was neglected and flogged itself to ribbons, it's always something and then something else and then three more things at once that send you to port for repair and resupply.

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  2. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Bataan obviously has experience. He has been there and done that. So have I.

    You guys are just dreaming. While you are struggling to find diesel to power your watermakers, I'll make a toast to you with the big cup of water I have on land.

    If you think it's possible to live off a boat in a survival sense, you have obviously never actually done it.
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    My family and I sailed for a few weeks in the Marquesas with a family of four on a very simple 35' cat on their circumnavigation and we ate a lot of coconuts and fish, but still had to find rice and bananas somewhere too.
    In the tropics, literally all our water for 7 people in 100 degree temperatures came from the clever 'rain tarp' possible on a catamaran without a pilot house.
    There's some footage of this in the footage below.
    If you're interested in survival/remote sailing experiences, check out these videos and see us eating land crabs, climbing for coconuts etc.
    And this one, which shows how the actual people who live off the land in these remote areas without Safeway or 7/11 do so....
    It's called "Goat Hunt on Ua Po".
    And here is Allen Farrell, who at age 86 was still prowling BC beaches in mid-winter barefoot collecting Fir bark (burns like coal) from the beaches for the wood stove on CHINA CLOUD, his engineless, junk-rigged, shallow draft floating home that sails like a witch.
    All this footage shows a little slice of the reality of small boat, big ocean, hungry crew etc.
  4. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    think "boat people" from Communist nations VS....

    the total lack of anyone successfully 'holding out' against fairly weak and primitive Communist "community organizers".

    I really don't think in SHTF you will have many, if any "bad guys" going after frumpy small cruising sailboats, as long as you don't have any hot babes topside, and that is even when in harbor and heading out under bridges, etc.

    The "bad guys" will go for the Go Fast and pimp boats, which in THEORY could run you down, but in practice my guess it will turn into war between other Bad Guys wanting each other's boats.

    With a little 'brass' and finesse, you could probably have them thinking they could use you as a source of intel as to boats of real value, and they would give you their radio frequency.

    For "Doomsday Boat", I understand Bataan's point, so I'm thinking more "On The Beach"(post nuclear war escape to OZ) rather than "Waterworld" (terrible movie with Kevin Costner that lost 100million).
  5. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    A stimulating philosophic conversation going on here, gentlemen. It is stimulating to learn about some of your experiences and mindsets.

    Having only limited experience with big boats I'd be drawn, necessarily, to small craft. Beach cruising then. Here in Florida I could manage unless the alligators or pythons ate me. I'd really miss pizza and beer however.

    I expect that fellows like Viking North could survive for quite a while with the use of his 18 foot dory for shoreline foraging. He'd catch a few finfish, scoop up some shellfish, and gather some low water sea vegetation like dulce, alaria, and such. In the summer months near shore excursions could find some berries and other edible vegetation for sustenance. Many ot the rest of you could do that if forced to do so.

    I kind of liked that other survival movie with Tom Hanks and his only companion, Wilson, who was, in fact, a volleyball.
  6. DStaal
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    DStaal Junior Member

    A large sail boat, able to be sailed moderately shorthanded, and with large holds. A few small-arms and some ammo; enough to stand off a few rounds of small gas speedboats. Bows and arrows might work, for that matter.

    Set out, and take one long sail; several months if you can manage it without hitting port. Let the gangs stabilize a bit and burn through their ammo/gas stores.

    After that don't plan on living on your own resources: The plan is to find/create trade routes between other survivors. The weapons are for self-defense while exploring for safe harbors. Long term your safety is that it's worth more to be able to have someone bring in cotton/spices/silk/etc. regularly than it is to take one shipment. :cool:
  7. WestVanHan
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    Creeks run into the oceans..

    Coastal areas with no roads and an over abundance of life,Viking lives close to such an area and so do I.

    Just because you tried in the wrong locale doesn't mean the entire world is unsuitable and all the fish in the world are mercury polluted.

    Yet again,location.
  8. SheetWise
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    SheetWise All Beach -- No Water.

    I think Jack Bauer and Angus MacGyver would survive in a revolution -- even on a boat. They could pull it off.

    My advice? Become more like Bauer and MacGyver. You will survive on your wits!

    While I'm thinking about it .. the Road Runner would probably survive as well -- but Wile E. Coyote may be a better role model.

    As you can tell, I'm deep in thought on this subject ...
  9. erik818
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    erik818 Senior Member

    First of all, defend organized society so it doesn't fail. If society fails anyway for whatever reason, we have to start over and reorganize it from local communities that eventually grow into nations. I don't believe in sailing or running away from the problem and hope for someone else to stabilize and organize the society while I'm hiding out.

    A boat is a good thing to have if you need to escape to a better place, but then there has to be a better place and they will have to let you in. Too many ifs.

  10. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Agree. I did the back to the land thing in the 80's. Hard work. Little reward.

    Now I've got better land on the waterfront. I'd still have a big problem surviving long-term even *with* the collaboration of my neighbours. I know what'd happen though - I'd be the engineering works and build/maintain stuff for the farmer types. We'd be doing specialisation on a smaller scale as that's how human communities work.

    On a small boat away from other people? Hah. What are you going to do when your expensive synthetic sails fall apart from UV degradation? Where are you going to get your antifouling paint from? Come to that, for most of the boats built these days, where are you going to haul out to apply that paint? At least my boat can sit on its own bottom & be careened.

    Oh yeah, better hope you never get a bad tooth, either.

    As for the optimists who think they can wander down and grab a boat at gunpoint, what makes you think we boat (and land) owners don't also have guns and, more likely, are far better at using them than you are? Not only that, I can *make* them if I have to, anything from a 22LR up to a 50mm or bigger breech-loader.

    Come on. Get real.

    BTW, I also live somewhere with rich food resources and a small population. I just have a better grasp of what it takes to keep a 21C society running.

  11. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Many of Viking's fish are poisoned thanks to coal. If he expects to live, he can't eat:

    *Any Fresh Water Fish
    *Striped Bass

    Also, most of the fish he can eat are located offshore - well offshore. That takes fuel and sails which you will have to buy, thus, you are not surviving, you are just playing around.

    If there is a toxic algae bloom and he doesn't know about it (because society isn't babying him with warnings anymore), he could possibly die from harvesting his local shellfish.

    If you rely on others, you are not doing "survival" stuff. You are just half assing it.

    I know Viking North's waters better than any other waters in the world. I have spent the majority of my time in them.

    And actually... yes, most of the fish in the *entire world* are indeed ruined:

    Add ciguatera to that and fish start to become a very difficult prospect for long term survival.

    You guys have no experience doing this. You're just imagining it from your comfy chair. I've done it. PDW has done it. Bataan has done it. We all say it's not possible. Try to live off the sea/land from a boat for a couple years and see if you can make it without buying anything.

    Then, post your story here and I'll gladly admit I'm wrong. :D

    Thing is, boats require maintenance and they are not made from materials readily available at sea or up a creek/river. You have to buy the materials.

    Only alternative is to run a true wooden boat and keep on replanking from trees you fell. You would have been much better off just sitting on the shore because you are wasting energy on a boat when you don't have extra time/energy.

    Again, just try it. You have to try it to see if it can be done. All of us that have tried it will tell you it can't be done.
  12. BATAAN
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    BATAAN Senior Member

    Not too long ago, before 1914, there was an existing system of interdependent small ports that shipped bulk coastal cargoes by sailing vessel, most of them wood, and the owners made money at it, and crews of coasters were much better fed and paid than deep water sailors.
    Wood boats just need an axe, a saw, trees and a lot of energy and presto, you have a small sailing ship capable of carrying goods to any reasonable tidal beach.
    Here are some survival boats....

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  13. viking north
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    viking north VINLAND

    Catbuilder, fish poisioned by coal ??? Toxic algea blooms ??? Fish far off shore ??? Any fresh water fish ??? Ahhh you don't know my waters,(not Nova Scotia) you have not sailed far enough north otherwise these things you would not question. In addition to large stocks of fish there are large stocks of wild game of which snaring rabbits would require the least expended energy. That plus the highest energy meat in the world--seals of which on last count there were 12,000,000. They arrive along shore in large numbers on drifting pans of ice in early spring, perfect timing to suppliment the dwindling winter rations. I know we're just having fun here, but there was a time during the cold war many planned this survival game and in reality it's still not a bad idea. We keep a years supply of food on hand, have done so during and since the cold war days. Not so much in prep. for society breaking down on it's own accord and going to hell in a handcart but triggered by a natural disaster. One super volcano, a rock from space, or something as simple as a total corn crop failure could trigger some majour unrest and critical shortages of food.

    Fish poisioned by coal ? I have to ask how and where did that come from-- Possibly you meant the coal burning industrial acid rain riding on the south easterly prevaling winds killing the fresh water rivers and lakes. Thats pretty well a dead issue now that most manufacturing has gone overseas-- even the salmon runs are returning to the rivers in Maine.
  14. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member


    However, the axe(s), saw(s), chisels, planes etc are or contain steel, which is made from iron ore, needs limestone and coal and a bunch of other things, which require mines which require lots of people and then blast furnaces which require yet more people and those people need to eat so agriculture has to be efficient enough so one farmer can support 5 to 10 non-farmers and so it goes.

    I haven't even touched on the distribution system.

    This is the same problem those Utopian Green types run into in their quest for a world where we all 'live at one with nature' but somehow have all the comforts of a 21C technology. Reality.


  15. pdwiley
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    pdwiley Senior Member

    Look. The Inuit lived in that territory for a hell of a long time before Western Europeans arrived. Take a close look at their population density and their frequency of moves to follow the game and tell me you can maintain anything more complex than a skin kayak.

    It can't be done. Do you think that you are better at surviving in that environment than they were?

    As for rabbits, it is a well known fact that you will starve to death if all you have to eat is rabbit.

    As for your game animals, if there is an asteroid impact or major volcanic eruption, you are assuming the game animals would still be available. That, to put it kindly, is a very optimistic assumption. In fact, if there is an asteroid impact in the ocean, assuming there is still a functioning port or harbour on a coastline is an optimistic assumption. Better hope the impact isn't in your ocean. Better still, keep a high technology (more like develop one) to prevent the impact in the first place.

    Catbuilder is right WRT mercury. I was part of a team collecting fisheries data in the northern waters of Australia 30+ years ago. There was no industry there and never had been. The mercury content of sharks and other fish like northern bluefin tuna was sufficiently high that a steady diet of it would not be a good idea. Oceanic top predators accumulate heavy metals.

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