hello all, wheelchair friendly 45' boat design

Discussion in 'Metal Boat Building' started by wheels, Jun 26, 2010.

  1. wheels
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    Location: Folsom, Ca

    wheels Junior Member

    well this is a little bit of an introductory post and alot of a design post.

    a little background on me, I'm a 27 year old paraplegic (motorcycle accident about 7 years ago) upper body is fine (friends say i'm a little screwy in the head but that's genetics for ya) due to the wheelchair issue there are some very serious issues in dealing with a sailboat or cabin cruiser. After toying with the idea and browsing the web for info for a few months I've decided to start actively pursuing building a boat and living on it, in part to see if I can do it, and in part because I love the water. My father, brother, and I go deep-sea fishing yearly so no problem with stability in my chair in rougher waters yet.

    I have a background in cnc machining, and welding so I'm looking to build my own steel hulled single deck boat. I've priced out the steel and I have a picture in my head, I've gone as far as calculating weight and buoyancy but i don't know how to get center of gravity or any of the engineery stuff. I want to be able to go anywhere that doesn't have ice. Using 1/4 steel plate on the hull and deck and 1/8 plate for cabin/bulkheads/braces and such. It's probably overbuilt and the design will change as it matures. I'd like to run 2 moderately powerful diesels for propulsion and use solar/wind for power. I'm aiming for a cruise range of enough to get me from california to hawaii. I plan on living aboard and possibly doing charter fishing work with the physically handicapped so having a flat deck and wide doors is mandatory. for getting from ship to shore i already have a design for a landing craft style dingy that allows me to beach and roll right off. For getting from ship to dock a small hydraulic crane can either just pick me up chair and all and set me out or I can use a long ramp from the back of the boat. It will have a complete ADA compliant bathroom (shower, head, etc). Washer dryer refer dishwasher air conditioning and microwave. (obviously all of the real estate up top will be solar panels and there will be a 5Kw gen set just in case)

    Here's what I'm thinking so far. I'm leaning towards an angular build because i don't have the budget to have curved hull plates fabricated. The other thought was if I need repair in some back hole marina a flat plate is a lot easier to cut out and replace. The hull will have 2 real bulkheads so that if one compartment floods the other two will keep afloat. The interior bracing will be 2ft on centers with 2"x1/4" braces running horizontally every 2 feet. The pictures below helped me work out weight, buoyancy and square footage/cost of the plating. Right now the plate weighs about 23k-24k lbs, 50% buoyancy is at 58k lbs (assuming one cubic foot lifts 32lbs at 50%) ( feel free to voice thoughts about overkill or the need for more as I am not an engineer )

    Thankyou all, and without further ado, here are my drawings for "The Ugly Ducker" Mk1

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    be gentle.... or am I out of my freaking mind?
     
  2. hoytedow
    Joined: Sep 2009
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    hoytedow Carbon Based Life Form

    Welcome, Wheels. You might want to borrow a little aircraft carrier technology(elevator-hangar deck) to help you access lower decks.
     
  3. rasorinc
    Joined: Nov 2007
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    rasorinc Senior Member

    Take a look at this steel build in the light of a starting point. Everything can be made bigger and adaptations can be made for your situation. At least you will see what has to be in an ocean going boat and the steel thickness, etc. Check on list of materials.http://www.glen-l.com/designs/cruiser/andante.html
     
  4. alidesigner
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    alidesigner Senior Member

    For the design side of things maybe a post in the design forum will get more tips. For hydrostatics you can use delftshipfree from delftship.net. I dont use it but there are plenty of people in the software forum that will be able to help you get it working.
     
  5. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Wheels,

    Sheet material can be bent in one direction easily. A good looking and conventional hull can be produced without "curved hull plates fabricated". There are a number of chined forms which will be easier to build and better boats than what you show above.

    1/4" could be used in the bottom, 3/16" for the sides, then 1/8" and less for deck and house. Good stability characteristics depend on keeping weight low in the boat. The full bulkheads are a good thing, the partial bulkheads on 24" centers are unnecessary and should be replaced with longitudinal stringers (stiffners) of flat bar. This is lower cost, quicker to build, lighter, and makes life easier for interior fitout. Your tanks (for 2800 mile range) will be large and present an interesting challenge. Integral is lighter and lower cost, but will involve more hours to get them perfect.

    The hull form shown will be lacking in stability for the intended voyages, the waterline is too narrow. There will be less motion on your accommodation deck as it gets closer (vertically) to the waterline. This is desirable in an ocean going vessel.

    For long offshore voyages you will want some form of stabilizing system. Towed paravanes are out of the question, but a flume tank would be possible, also bilge keels or chine tubes......

    Lot's to consider.......
     
  6. wheels
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    wheels Junior Member

    Tad (random fact: best friends name is Tad), Thankyou for your response, It's that kind of information that really helps. I know I have alot more research to do before I even submit plans to a NA. (yes i do plan on having someone that knows what they are doing take a look at it before fabrication, i wouldn't feel responsible taking friends out without it) I've been playing with the design and the flat bottom is definitely gone.

    As for stabilization I would love to go for a nice hydraulic fin stabilizer, but the thing that keeps sticking in my head is this.. Am I going to be able to afford the electronics to control it and if it breaks in some backwater country are they going to have the tools to fix it. So while nice I'll probably end up with something mechanical rather than hydraulic, just have to consider what's out there, and yes sooo much to consider.

    I can definitely see why if someone has the money they buy production. This could get very daunting for those of the wrong mindset. I know it may take time and there will be multiple changes to EVERYTHING before the final draft but I'm excited to think of doing this with something I made myself. It's kinda like if I decided to climb a mountain. There are easier ways to get there, but they are more expensive and don't give the personal satisfaction of overcoming the disability (ya I'm incredibly stubborn)

    Thankyou all for your input so far, next set of drawings for critique will be up shortly for those interested.
     
  7. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Wheels.....

    Good for you....stubbornness is required....

    Book recommendation.....Preliminary Design of Boats and Ships, Cyrus Hamlin NA, ISBN 0-87033-391-7.....out of print but available used.

    The reality is that there are no production boats that will work for your intended use....therefore a new design is required. It may be there is a stock hull that could be adapted...but that may end up being a compromise with little up side.

    As you want most (if not all) accommodation on a single deck level...have you considered a multihull configuration? Downside would be difficult access to the bowels and mechanical equipment....

    Bilge boards or a deep centerboard might be a straightforward roll reduction system, easy to do simply and strongly in steel. Active fins are the most effective system, but cost is high, downtime is a factor, and they are vulnerable to damage. Towed paravanes can be done with multiple powered winches (electric or hydraulic)......
     
  8. wheels
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    wheels Junior Member

    Tad thanks for the book info, Got one one the way.

    Wow, the wealth of knowledge here is incredible. As i'm sure with most who catch the bug the picture in my head has changed 300 different ways in the last couple weeks.

    Some things have solidified and I'm learning what to call what I'm thinking and having my eyes opened to new possibilities. I found what to call the layout I think. I believe the term is Sedan Trawler. A single level full displacement hull is what I'm looking for. Area below deck will basically be monopolized by engine room and Fuel!!! Lots of it from what I'm learning. I'd like to keep length to about 45' and beam to about 15' (definitely under 20) and draft to 5-6 feet. Something like this form factor only without the fly bridge (kinda hard to get the wheelchair up there safely and quickly) With the front of the pilot area pushed forward and sleeping accommodation in the rear.
    [​IMG]

    Gone is my preconception that you must have 2 main engines to do things safely. A main and a wing sounds better and better. And I have a new concept of running a smaller engine at peak efficiency vs a large engine at idle speeds. I'd like to keep fuel consumption down to less than 1gpm while at cruise (again i'm ok with going 6kts but if necessary do 12+ with wing engaged (south east asia is in my list of places to visit and I'd like to be able to run if the worst happens)) In a world of unlimited budget there would be a nice 130-150 diesel main and then two wing engines of equal or greater power and folding props but that is for another thread and another day dream.

    Gone is the flat bottom and no keel. Due to ease of manufacturing I'll be keeping a hard chine. The lenght of time to get from point a to point b has doubled in my head as well. Slow is efficient is starting to float around in my head. The hull will have 3 bulkheads. One very close the the bow just in case I get holed by some random floating cargo container and 2 spaced evenly so that the bow and any one section can be breached and still float. The way weight is distributed is another important factor to me. This boat, in my current mind picture at least, will have self righting capability as the cabin and pilot area are "water tight" and the full width of the boat, so as long as the windows don't pop out I should be good.

    But I believe it's doable. It's going to take some hardcore saving to buy supplies and rent space to build. Another thing that sticks out to me is i find myself more and more drawn to utilitarian design. While beautiful I don't need Teak and $50k in electronics to pull it off.

    changing as she goes,
    freeboard 2.5 ft,
    draft 4.5(ish)ft,
    Loa 44',
    lwl 42.5',
    steel weight 33,700 lbs,
    4000 gal fuel capacity (28600 freaking lbs worth!!),
    300 gal fresh water tank,
    100 gal blackwater,
    100 gal grey water (I like my showers)
    480 square feet of enclosed cabin space/ living area

    and leaving 10k lbs available for engine, genset, watermaker, Solar panneling, insulation, wiring, electronics, appliances, bed and me, before reaching full load of 50% buoyancy.


    the cad program i'm using won't let me make complex curves so this is more for general shape, layout, and initial weight calculation.
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    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  9. rxcomposite
    Joined: Jan 2005
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    There was a ship built for the physically disabled. In fact it was built by physically disabled persons. I beleive it is Lloyds Certified and it is made of wood. cant remember the name now. Must be getting old or the early morning drowsiness. in fact two were built.

    Try searching for it as they organize disabled person to crew the sip. Not 100% but a mix of able bodied men and disabled. there is even a coffe table book about it.

    There are some design ideas and principles mentioned in the book.
     
  10. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    The giant square riggers are a different beast....but as you say there are some principals that may apply....They tried to work out tracks for wheelchairs but discarded the ideas.....also problems with high sills on deck access doors. The designer Colin Mudie went to two flush sill doors in an air-lock setup with a fully drained well between. Of course they were dealing with MCA classification....

    The first one is Lord Nelson, steel and finished in 1985. The second ship is the Tenacious, (finished 2000) of wood composite and built in a special yard created for handicapped folks by the Jubilee Sailing Trust.

    http://www.jst.org.uk/tenacious.aspx
     
  11. rxcomposite
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    rxcomposite Senior Member

    you've got it. Tenacious is the one. good luck in your endeavor.
     
  12. wheels
    Joined: Jun 2010
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    wheels Junior Member

    the way I was thinking of dealing with water tight doors was to have a 1" lip. (not too big a deal as hopping up curbs is a normal event for me) and have a drainage grate in front of the door extending out about 1' on either side.

    And thanks for the info on JST. It looks like a fun experience. They crew their ships with 50% of the crew being "able bodied". For longer trips I do plan on taking a friend along for the ride (ie the california to hawaii type trips) but my plan is to have everything workable for me alone just in case.

    I would love to sail but the accessibility issues on a sail boat are EXPENSIVE to overcome. IE: electric winches everywhere. And they just don't make sail boats in a layout that I could get around in from what I've seen. To outfit my ideas so far i'm looking at keeping things under the $100k mark. I was a certified welder back before my accident and took UTI's auto and diesel program to be a mechanic so I'm comfortable tearing down commercial diesel engines and hydraulic systems.

    I do like the idea of the aircraft carrier style elevator but instead of going up to a flybridge (which makes me nervous) it would be a section of floor in the cabin that drops down to access the engine/generator room.

    It really is a challenge between keeping things simple. The engineer in me love complicated machinery but the practical side of me says that's just another expensive thing that can fail and will need a backup system.
     
  13. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I remember a sailor in the 70's that had a track with a chair. He could do all the maneuvering while strapped to the chair. You would have to design the tracks to accomodate your needs. The cruising range you are looking for is difficult for a boat that size. Also, water is a major load. Take that weight into consideration. A designer would be a good choice for you. The cost of the design is usually more than offset by a better, cheaper construction. A home designed and built boat will be hard or difficult to insure. Without insurance, many marinas will not let you dock. The crappy ones that don't care will most likely not be ADA compliant.
     
  14. ColinFitzgerald
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    ColinFitzgerald New Member

    Hi Wheels !! Interesting project/idea. Are you still pursuing this ?

    In any case, have you considered a catamaran ?

    I'm thinking you may benefit from the large flat area a typical cat can provide. The hulls of a cat are typically narrow, such that you may have all of your accommodations on the main deck and just use the hulls for buoyancy and storage.

    The wide and low back end would also make for easy docking of a smaller tender and or ramp.

    Last but not least, cat's don't really "roll" like mono-hulls because of their obvious wide stance and form stability. Like anything else though, they do need to be well designed to have comfortable motion. Bigger is better in this respect.

    Opinion's will very here, but I'm totally sold on catamarans as a small live-a-board platform.

    Perhaps something like a pontoon house boat ? Obviously not blue water, but in principal these are catamarans and very 'cheap' to build. 100K would be more then enough and everything is definitely on one big level. Your hull is nothing more then two big floating sausages with a flat deck on top (more or less.. I'm being general here). Very popular here in Canada on our big lakes, but not too sure how these fare in coastal waters. I've chartered these and they would be very wheel chair friendly.

    I can definitely see you idea being possible and maybe not even any harder then a normal boat, just different.

    I've just started Westlawn's Yacht Design course (as of a couple weeks ago). You should check them out. They have a short(er) course that might give you a great starting point to better understand the basic engineering involved. None of it seems too difficult if your mechanically inclined, which you seem to be, but it's a huge field and getting started in on the right information is difficult (hence taking a course). So far I'm very impressed with their materials and I feel I'm somewhat qualified to judge them.

    I'm in the process of starting to design my own live-a-board. I can't say I'm qualified to design a boat yet, but I'm an industrial design consultant by trade and IMHO boat design seems pretty reasonable. I think the real challenge is in the systems engineering, not the hulls or basic structure.

    Let me know if I can help out and good luck !
     

  15. Tad
    Joined: Mar 2002
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    Tad Boat Designer

    Hummmm........if you really believe this the Westlawn Course will be a waste of money....concentrate on the systems and hire some one else to design your hull.....There is a ton of work to be done in the area of hull design.......not to mention structure......

    A catamaran will indeed be more stable than a monohull, but in the sizes discussed will not carry the intended load, also steel construction is out unless the overall vessel size is increased substantially. Catamarans, due to their fine waterplane, are very limited in load carrying, thus rarely employed for long offshore voyages......
     
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