Pacific Rowboat

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Eric Sponberg, Oct 8, 2015.

  1. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,002
    Likes: 205, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2917
    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    It has been a long time since I started a new thread, but now is the time to go again. I have just finished a design for a Pacific Rowboat, images attached, for my client, Jacob Hendrickson, who wants to row solo, non-stop, from Seattle, WA, to Northeast Australia. The voyage will take nearly a year, so this boat has to have enough room for stores, food, and water to last him that long, yet not be too awkward to row and handle.

    The direct route is 6,208 nautical miles (7,145 statute miles). A similar route has been attempted solo, non-stop, only once before in 1982, by Peter Bird, and he had to be rescued about a quarter mile off the Great Barrier Reef by the Australian navy. A lot of rowing experts consider this a completed voyage nonetheless, but Jacob wants to actually set foot on solid ground at the end.

    The boat's dimensions are:

    LOA: 28'-0"
    LWL: 26'-0 5/16"
    B: 5'0"
    Draft: 2'-6"
    Displ to Dwl: 2,590 lbs.

    Jacob is an ex-Air Force pilot, having flown A-10 Warthogs for many years, including two tours in Afghanistan. This past summer, he rode his bicycle across country from Oceanside, CA, to Ocean City, MD, to test his stamina and complete a self-imposed goal of Air-Land-Sea efforts. His Air Force duty completed his "Air" challenges, the bike ride was the "Land" challenge, and so the Pacific Row will be his "Sea" challenge. You can visit his website here:

    http://www.jacobadoram.com/

    Jacob is devoting his campaign to Alzheimer's Research. His grandfather has the disease, and so he has a close personal connection to it. Jacob has set up a crowdfunding campaign to raise money to build the boat and complete the voyage, hoping to gather US$1 million for Alzheimer's. After the voyage, he will continue the fundraising by touring the country with the boat, and afterwards, he'll sell the boat and devote the proceeds to the Alzheimer's campaign fundraising. You can visit the crowdfunding site here:

    https://www.gofundme.com/jacobadoram

    So, I hope you all like the design and I am willing to answer questions and comments about it. The boat will be built in fiberglass and epoxy over Core Cell foam core using the strip planking method for both the hull and deck house. Ideal construction time will be about 6 months, and it would be nice to start soon, but raising money takes time.

    Eric
     

    Attached Files:

    2 people like this.
  2. bregalad
    Joined: Dec 2010
    Posts: 109
    Likes: 5, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 36
    Location: Georgia

    bregalad Senior Member

    I've read your article on re-fitting Sea Pearl and comments you've made regarding the general design of ocean rowboats. I've occasionally wondered what you'd come up with given a clean sheet of paper.

    On Jacob's website it states the 2590 lb displacement is its empty weight. That seems high.
    Is that actually the empty weight?
    Does it include some ballast ..... you've previously commented that many ocean rowboats have, by design, too high a propensity to roll over.
    Should this boat be less likely to roll? It does seem to have a lower profile than many others, especially Charly Pitcher's designs.

    It seems to me the flag and wind generator in the drawings show some artistic license. They'd be a significant drag penalty rowing into a headwind ..... OTOH they would look odd facing the other way.:)
     
  3. waikikin
    Joined: Jan 2006
    Posts: 2,276
    Likes: 91, Points: 58, Legacy Rep: 871
    Location: Australia

    waikikin Senior Member

    With some luck the flag and windgen will be facing the other way for Jacob plenty of the time. The boat looks good.
    The crowd funding looks to be slow, at 200 a week at this stage, I think Jacob might well invest his own 100K in foam, glass, epoxy etc ASAP & get cracking on the hull & deck skins bulkheads etc, some one will loan him the space to build.. then contributors/sponsors will have a tangible stimulus or even billboard it.
    Maybe Jacob can start with the transport trailer & set up the mold stations to it as a mobile display, inside a month he should have a 26' hull skin.

    All the best from Jeff.
     
  4. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,002
    Likes: 205, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2917
    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Hi Bregalad, Thanks for your comments. I have been wanting to do an ocean rowboat design for about 30 years. My early concepts back then were for 2-person, double-cockpit, central accommodation boats for shorter passages. Because this one is for a much longer passage with only one person, I went back to the central cockpit concept with the main accommodation forward. Wanting to also have plenty of sitting headroom and forward visibility, I came up with the pilot house concept and forward facing window. This gives the boat more of an "aircraft" look, which is fitting for the owner who is an Air Force pilot.

    This boat does not have cast-in ballast at the moment, although we reserve the ability to change that should the boat prove to need it once we've got some on-the-water experience with it. It can be incorporated into the keel relatively easily. There is a water ballast tank on board, directly underneath the helmsman's seat in the cockpit, and this can add up to 227 lbs of ballast weight if required.

    The weight of the boat at the design waterline is 2,590 lbs, which is very close to the empty (dry lightship) weight. According to our weight estimate, Dry Lightship is 2,325 lbs. Full Load Departure weight is estimated at 3,773 lbs., which is 1,445 lbs. difference and includes the weight of Jacob, his gear, and 966 lbs. of food. Remember, he is going to be on the ocean for nearly a year, so this boat has to carry a lot of weight.

    I did a parametric study of many other ocean rowboats at the beginning of this design, gleaning as much data as I could from internet sources and personal contacts. Detailed information, even like principle dimensions and weights, is hard to come by. We narrowed in on 28' LOA as being the right length with a comfortable beam of 5' for rowing. A length of 25' was going to be too short with not enough load carrying capacity and being too deep, so too much wetted surface, and 30' was going to be too long with too shallow a hull, and so not as seaworthy. This is not the longest boat ever for such a purpose, nor is it the heaviest, but it is heavier than most, simply because of its mission.

    As for the flag and wind generator, the flag is only for when being close to shore, and particularly when approaching Australia or any other island nation along the way, and yes it is also for some artsy look. I also have versions of these views with human figures on board that are shaped to Jacob's personal dimensions which I took from him here in my office. The wind generator is required because the boat has extensive electronics on board, and 582 watts of solar panels. But the sun doesn't shine every day, and the boat doesn't go fast enough for a hydro-generator, but there is usually a fair amount of wind. If the wind generator proves to be too much drag, it can be dismounted from its pole--it weighs only 16 lbs., easy enough to lift out.

    This boat will roll, any narrow boat will, but the key is how much and how fast does it roll? The hull cross-sections are very wine-glass shaped, as you can tell from the Midship Section drawing. This kind of shape has proved very seaworthy in sailboats over the decades. Another key is the ability of the boat to roll back upright--it is very unstable upside down. We can pretty much guaranty that an ocean rowboat will roll over in storms, so you want to make sure that when it does, it does not stay there for very long. That is one trouble with very shallow boats with small cabins--they are almost as stable upside down as right side up--they are easy to roll over and they can stay that way--not safe.

    Thanks for your thoughts.

    Eric
     
  5. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,002
    Likes: 205, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2917
    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Hi Waikikin, Thanks for your comments. We are approaching quite a number of professional builders to build this boat, and there is a fair bit of interest in it. If Jacob cannot get the money soon, he will commit to working for another year or so to raise the money himself. He is now an ATP licensed pilot, and he can pick up well-paying flying jobs just about anywhere around the world. I think he may be on one right now here in Florida, according to his latest emails.

    Crowd funding like this always takes some time, and the more telephoning, emailing, interviewing, public speaking, and sales-pitching that you can do in the traditional media, so the money will flow in. It's hard work, raising money and sponsorships.

    Eric
     
  6. Remmlinger
    Joined: Jan 2011
    Posts: 238
    Likes: 18, Points: 18, Legacy Rep: 172
    Location: Germany

    Remmlinger engineer

    According to the drawings there seems to be no sliding seat.
    What is the rationale behind it?
    Uli
     
  7. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    What would the realistic "cruise" speed be for something like this, ignoring wind and current ?
     
  8. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    There was a rower who completed a Pacific crossing about 15 years ago, from South America to southern Queensland. He actually landed on what would be considered a coastal barrier island, so a nark might say he did not reach the mainland. I recall his boat rolled in the surf and he swam the last few metres. He later tried to row from New Zealand to South America, and had to be rescued, not surprising in the Roaring Forties you'd think.
     
  9. Doug Lord
    Joined: May 2009
    Posts: 16,493
    Likes: 289, Points: 93, Legacy Rep: 1362
    Location: Melbourne, Florida

    Doug Lord Flight Ready

    Seems like a great concept ,Eric! I wish the guy good luck.....
     
  10. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    Am I right in thinking that rowing at 90* to the wind direction, would have the rower fighting a tendency for the bow to want to veer off downwind ? With neutral rudder, of course.
     
  11. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,002
    Likes: 205, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2917
    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Hi Uli, Yes, there is a sliding seat. It is shown in the stowed position in the interior general arrangement plan, just to the right of the water tank labels in the center of the boat. This seat is made by Gig Harbor Boat Works, which you can see here:

    https://www.ghboats.com/options/custom-boat-options/sliding-seats/

    Actually, I contacted Gig Harbor to get dimensions of their rollers, and they were very nice to send me a sketch and said they could sell us their wheels and we could customize the seat to fit the geometry of our cockpit. So that's what we're going to do.

    Eric
     
  12. Eric Sponberg
    Joined: Dec 2001
    Posts: 2,002
    Likes: 205, Points: 73, Legacy Rep: 2917
    Location: On board Corroboree

    Eric Sponberg Senior Member

    Hi Mr. E, Yes, that is by design. As the wind blows stronger, you want the bow to deflect to leeward placing the stern into the wind--it's safer to ride the waves that way. It is actually the combination of the slightly more profile area forward above the waterline and the slightly more profile area aft in the keel below the waterline that will tend to turn the boat bow downwind in higher winds. In calmer conditions and with the rudder and autopilot, the keel will help to keep the boat on track more easily than if it did not have a keel.

    I studied the boat Flying Carrot quite a bit, the boat that English designer Phil Morrison designed for Ollie Hicks who wanted to row around Antarctica. The boat had a keel not too dissimilar to ours, but it also had the larger cabin aft, not forward. As a result, the boat tended to go backwards in high winds more than forwards, and Ollie had to give up the quest. I corresponded with Morrison about that design to see what his thoughts were on that, and one was a recommendation that I had been mulling over--put the bigger cabin forward. I attach a photo of Flying Carrot for comparison.

    Interestingly, the devotees of ocean rowing do allow AutoPilots to control the rudder and steering underway. We'll have a Tiller Pilot ST1000 by Raymarine as the AP. We also have a lockable tiller that you can lock in bias positions at 1° increments either side of centerline up to ±9°. You don't want any more deflection than that or you'll get too much drag.

    Eric
     

    Attached Files:

  13. Mr Efficiency
    Joined: Oct 2010
    Posts: 7,390
    Likes: 233, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 702
    Location: Australia

    Mr Efficiency Senior Member

    It does seem like an extended torture session to those not afflicted with such urges, and with a real risk of meeting your maker. I guess he'll have all the best technology available, to minimize that possibility.
     
  14. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,190
    Likes: 134, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Are any of the solar panels aimable? On such a small boat, orienting a couple panels is not hard, and extending the charging time is very valuable, far more so than the meager power at low elevation would suggest. You can run direct to the load and improve the life of the batteries, which is an issue over this duration. And the psychological value of being able to wake up in the morning and shift a panel and see the charging begin is worth it in itself - the illusion of control in an environment where you have almost none.

    Most of the time, you would appear to have an abundance of power. Can a fly be rigged over the cabin for the tropics?
     

  15. philSweet
    Joined: May 2008
    Posts: 2,190
    Likes: 134, Points: 63, Legacy Rep: 1082
    Location: Beaufort, SC and H'ville, NC

    philSweet Senior Member

    Store-bought technology can only address the situations you succeed in predicting. There is no technology for dealing with a broken collarbone on a rowboat. A toothache or infected blister can kill you. An minor eye injury can leave you blind.

    I'd go with low tech and low integration. Handheld battery powered everything. I'm guessing he'll have some weather receiver and data capability beyond a SPOT. A bilge pump, watermaker, electronic compass, and the autostick are about the only loads I would wire up (and maybe one lamp in each end). Everything else would use rechargeable lithium batteries. I'd use a shunt type charge controller with the shunt wired to the lithium battery chargers and some fans. On a good day, very little power would go through the storage batteries.

    Portable battery powered equip would include GPS, SPOT, Laptop, TV/DVD/CD, drill/driver, recip saw, most lighting including strobe and nav, VHF, EPIRB.

    Plug-in appliances would include bread machine, spotlight, Peltier cooler, box fan, portable pump.
     
Loading...
Forum posts represent the experience, opinion, and view of individual users. Boat Design Net does not necessarily endorse nor share the view of each individual post.
When making potentially dangerous or financial decisions, always employ and consult appropriate professionals. Your circumstances or experience may be different.