need more experienced advice

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by jbehr, Sep 20, 2010.

  1. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    Location: Florida

    jbehr Junior Member

    hey this is my first post here so try and take it easy on me :D

    im trying to find a way to make a sailboat completely solar/wind powered that is capable of ocean voyages and has the normal accommodations ( like fresh water maker, stove, freezer, gps, etc) and that has a sustainable source of food. now the ocean provides all the fish i could ever eat so i've got that covered with a little fishing, however i would need fruits and vegetables so i was hoping for a way to put a greenhouse inside the boat. it would need to be big enough top accommodate a minimum of four people.

    so what do you guys think?
  2. daiquiri
    Joined: May 2004
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    Location: Italy (Garda Lake) and Croatia (Istria)

    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    That's the easiest part. I would have said "it has to be big enough to accomodate a greenhouse". Now, that sounds like one pretty big greenhouse to me. Which means one big boat. But since I know nothing about greenhouses, I'm passing your questions to the others.
  3. Alik
    Joined: Jul 2003
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    Alik Senior Member

    I think Richard will come and ask if You have ever sailed :)

    Another victim of electrical propulsion brainwash.
  4. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    jbehr Junior Member

    well i only say electrical propulsion as a precautionary measure obviously i would want it to be propelled by the wind :)
    another reason was that i want it to be able to be at sea for as long as possible so no limited supplies of fuel
    unless i'm misunderstanding what your saying
  5. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    jbehr Junior Member

    also in reply to the greenhouse point i also wasnt completely sure of the size implications for it but keep in mind its not meant to completely sustain just as a suppliment to the fish and variety

    so my best guess would be 30 ft or so im sure you could fit alot plants for only 4 people in there

    EDIT: quick food for thought....what do you think Noah ate on the ark? wonder why some animals arent around today :)
  6. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    A thirty foot greenhouse can hold a lot but how big of a boat are you planning?
    If you meant thirty foot boat, I suggest that you go sailing with four people for a week and you will think again.
  7. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    jbehr Junior Member

    haha no not 30 ft sailboat i was thinking of a 42 footer for me and another as a live aboard so with an added greenhouse it would be more like a total 70ish ft or so
    (assuming 30 ft is enough, it may even be too much?)

    and this is absolutely nowhere near the stage that i would be contemplating having it built

    and i guess i should ask a more direct question

    how about is it possible
    like building a ventilation system that lets air in and keeps water out
    and also electrical production capabilities for everything necessary(like total KWh)
    also a system that lets light in maybe a directed mirror or even a plexiglass roof/deck above it

    P.S i put the greenhouse inside the boat for safety and it would need sailroom just to clarify.....someone else asked me why not just put it on top earlier :)

    also im pretty sure artificial electric lighting would push my electrical budget over the top theres no way that solar panels and a wind generator could power everything AND that kind of lighting, plus the sun doesnt cost anything
  8. mark775

    mark775 Guest

    I actually think a greenhouse is a great idea. The problems, as I see them, are having it not be in the way, not uglifying the boat, not breaking up in weather, because you'll want to have it removable so as not to detract from the value of the boat (Or incorporated into the design, in which case 30' is also too big)
    First, potted plants, and dirt, in general, are very non-traditional on a boat but let's get past that. I wud think about little doghouse greenhouses on deck that don't get in the way and one simply opens from the top, and taller plants inside the boat - nothing smells fresher and more alive than tomatoes - a great addition but they are delicate and a hanging variety might be something at which to look. I wud think in terms of individual plants in the cabin and sharing the space in symbiosis.
  9. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    jbehr Junior Member

    i would agree that symbiosis would be a good(if not the best way) to combine the ideals where i run into the problem is that the sheer amount of plants needed would take up all of the supposed "shared" space unless there was a whole section that the entirety of them could be in. which is what drove me to the integrated greenhouse in the design.
    also creating a ventilation and lighting system suitable for plants throughout the whole boat if it were shared would seemingly make it more difficult i would think.
  10. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    Alik was right................and the answer is obvious.

    so, I skimp on that question.

    Make the boat 170ft, not 70, and the greenhouse might become feasible. You would still have some problems with the weight of glass and framing though.

    Electric propulsion for a sailing boat does not exist, and will not exist for the next 20 years, when open ocean shall be your cruising ground. There is NO WAY around, and nothing to discuss further.

    As much as I understand your desire, this all will remain a idea, but cannot be done within any sensible frame.

    The assumption that you, and three others, can live from fishing while at sea, is a wrong one! You donĀ“t catch fish on the open ocean! There is no fish.

    Spend the two million$ you have saved now (thats just the greenhouse), to buy a proven vessel with the accommodation you require.

  11. jbehr
    Joined: Sep 2010
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    jbehr Junior Member

    so in essence your telling me that i would need 120ft or more of a greenhouse to make a substantial amount of food for 4 people for the duration of the growing seasons?

    also i wasnt implying that i would catch fish in the middle of the ocean i was saying to catch fish near coastal areas and store them in the freezer until i could get to the next destination.

    also could you please elaborate or direct me to a link that explains why i wouldnt be able to have an electric propulsion backup on a sailboat in case the wind dies off

    ty for your responses its very much appreciated
  12. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Most of the ocean is a desert for fishes. You will be hard put to feed yourself in many areas. Sailboats use windpower to move, that is all you need. If you are needing freezers and other luxuries, think again. Solar power is not cheap. When you have no wind, the optimal technique is to wait. It has worked for milennia.
  13. apex1

    apex1 Guest

    You find my replies red highlighted, above.

  14. PAR
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Eustis, FL

    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    Jbehr, your design brief is possible, though quite expensive and you'll have to accept a larger craft. Richard's instance of 170' is overstated, but you will need a lot of "real-estate" to populate with PV's just for some of your needs, which is impractical at the moment (which is Richard's point).

    For example, your requirements of a freezer, water maker, greenhouse and partial electric propulsion would require a huge PV array.

    I think you need to contact a professional designer and start a realistic development of a design brief. One of the first things established is a project budget, which usually is the limiting factor, regardless of how grand you goals may be.

    In short, yes, your ideas are possible, but can you afford to consider them in total?

  15. WestVanHan
    Joined: Aug 2009
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    WestVanHan Not a Senior Member

    As for electric propulsion,look in the "hybrid"'ll see my proof of multiple tons of batteries needed to go a few miles.

    Coast guards and customs will have a very dim view of you showing up with live plants,dirt,etc on their shores.
    So you dump everything organic overboard...and disinfect it as well.

    For $10k ( maybe .5 to 1% the price of a large vessel) you could buy enough freeze dried and/or dried vegetables and fruits that would store in a small space and last for years.

    You should check out the web site of the guy who spent 1000 days out in the ocean.
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