Reinventing the Wheel for Recycling

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by ProtectTheOcean, May 17, 2011.

  1. ProtectTheOcean
    Joined: May 2011
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    ProtectTheOcean Junior Member

    I'm writing you folks hoping to pick your brains.

    As some of you may have seen, two sailing catamarans have been made using PET bottles held together by netting for floatation (Junk and Plastiki). We want to take that a step or two further, with one of these ideas:

    1) Sheeting the netted bottles, giving the hulls a skin, perhaps by using material similar to the flexible plastic cutting boards, to increase hydrodynamics.

    2) reusing the appropriate FG sailboats, a pair of them to create a catamaran. In mind would be a pair of 25-28' shoal-draft vessels joined together by cross-members. Obviously this idea is the most dicey in terms of hydrodynamics, but I'm not yet convinced it can't work.

    Issues on #2 include sail plan. What happens if one uses the head sail on one hull and the main on the other? The flow of air is not the same as it would be with a conventional Marconi rigging. Better to mount a mast at center, between the two hulls, and keep the cloth fairly low, maybe make a ketch? But before it gets that far, can they be lightened up enough to relieve the concerns of a displacement hull?

    It's important that the vessel be a sailboat, and we'll be looking to use an electric motor for doldrums, maneuvering at port, etc., with the batteries replenished by solar, wind and hydro generation. The overall idea is to make an ocean-worthy vessel out of used/junk goods.

    Any constructive input is greatly appreciated!
     
  2. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    All the research shows that the plastic will break down into toxic substances. If you want to be "green" in fact and not just fit in with the green crowd, recycling an old boat is what really makes sense. There are thousands of boats that are junked because there is no market for them. The fashions change, so very few people are interested in them.
     
  3. ProtectTheOcean
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    ProtectTheOcean Junior Member

    Gonzo,

    Thanks for the reply. Yes, that's part of why I thought it would be good to sheet/skin it, so they don't photo-degrade (as PET doesn't biodegrade) yet are there as a slew of sealed chambers.) But that's also why I thought of trying to make a Cat out of old FG boats, an idea which I actually prefer.

    The problem comes in with the shape (and weight) of the hulls. Since they were given ballast appropriate for a monohull, can that be modified to get rid of the weight and keep the anti-skating properties? If it could be done, a couple 25-30' sailboats, common enough these days, could become a rather handy catamaran, no?

    Then there's the rigging. Obviously, one COULD mount a single mast between the hulls, but would there be advantage to having the original masts on each of them? Obviously, flying headsails off of both when the wind is at your back would be great, but when the wind is abeam or one is trying to point up into the wind, then will the airflow be a mess, or could it still be an advantage?

    I'd like to get this built this summer... if it can be determined how best to do so.
     
  4. Speng
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    Speng Junior Member

    Unless you're doing it for PR like Plastiki you'd end up in either case with an unseaworthy junker that won't be able to go to weather and would end up cracked up on a cliff thereby putting more junk in the water. If you want resurrect an old junker cat...
     
  5. ProtectTheOcean
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    ProtectTheOcean Junior Member

    The optimism is so refreshing! :p We're quite familiar with the dangers of plastics, and very much opposed to them. That doesn't change the fact that they exist, so the idea is to do something useful with them, instead of leaving them to photo-degrade in the oceans and landfills of the planet.

    I'm asking here because you guys are presumably the design experts. So rather than suggesting I recycle a boat nobody wants, help me build one that CAN point, using the materials already lying about preparing to be toxic and hazardous?

    What about the notion of two monohulls lightened of their lead? What makes traditional multihulls not point is a lack of keel, or ?

    Thanks!
     
  6. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    Just leave it off. This subject has been done to death before in hundreds of forums.
    It is a worthy idea-----but not viable.
     
  7. ProtectTheOcean
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    ProtectTheOcean Junior Member

    Thanks for sharing your opinion. Back to the subject now.

    Throughout history, accomplishments were made after numerous people decided something was impossible or impractical. How? They didn't give up just because people nay-say. Plastiki should have been impossible, along with Junk. Men came to this continent on rough hews lumber held together with tar and nails, crossed oceans blind. Surely we can put together a boat out of reused plastic that fairs at least as well.
     
  8. DaveJ
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    DaveJ Senior Member

    You come to this forum to asked people opinions, they have all told you your wasting your time, yet to refuse to take their advice. Here is a hint in life, don't ask questions where you are not going to like the answers. No one is saying do not do it, just that you're not solving anything by doing it.

    Here is another catch cry i like to use "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem". So if you really want to be part of the solution, why don't you invest your time and money in how to turn plastic bottles into a viable core material in boat consrtuction (honeycomb plastic core as an idea). Oh, hang on a sec, they already do, i guess you miss the GREEN boat gravy train.
     
  9. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    why don't you just restore 2 mono sailboats and tow 1 with the other, then when your friends get sick of listening to you they can sail off in the other one. :D:D
     
  10. JCaprani
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    JCaprani Junior Member

    This comment shows your lack of understanding about construction. Lumber, tar and nails are an excellent combination of versatile materials for building strong, water-resistant structures. Small plastic bottles are excellent for storage and transportation of coca-cola. They are not particularly versatile, that's why people toss plastic in the street (or hopefully recycle), but waste wood is mostly burned for heat or repurposed for a second and third job. The idea is to use appropriate materials for the job at hand.

    Plastiki is not the unqualified success you think it was. The whole raft might have been suspended on plastic bottles, but the accomodation and rigging were made of expensive materials and purpose-built. And the thing didn't even sail well. The guy who built it was a Rothschild - i.e. this was a greenwash PR exercise/vanity project for a scion of billionaire robber-barons. Unless you have big dollars and a great publicist you are wasting your time with this nonsense.

    If you want to build a boat from waste, I'd suggest you start collecting pallets and discarded construction lumber. A chine hull with short double diagonal planking is a real possibility. You can buy soybean epoxy and bamboo fibreglass now, and with a bit of care and effort you will have a real boat at the end.

    A personal opinion, anyone talks about 'raising awareness', I smell ********. To paraphrase Boswell (on Johnson), it is 'the last refuge of a scoundrel'.
     
  11. Alex.A
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    Alex.A Senior Member

    Hi John - how is the soya/ecopoxy working out on the Wharram build?
     
  12. JCaprani
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    JCaprani Junior Member

    Hi Alex,

    We used West for the first hull and have just moved on to Ecopoxy now. Seems like good stuff, working qualities are very similar to west system and it is compatible with the same fillers. Resin has a tendency to crystallise more in cold temps but a few seconds in the microwave sorts this out. Nice finish on flowcoats and tools easy to clean with meths. But as to whether it's strong enough, impossible to know until the boat has spent time in the water. All the indications so far are positive. As to exactly what it's made of I don't know, haven't any chemistry knowledge!
     
  13. ProtectTheOcean
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    ProtectTheOcean Junior Member

    You guys are a real riot. You should do comedy.

    For 3 decades, while some of you have been adding to the ocean's woes, me and MY ilk have been part of the solution. Now I turn to you supposed design experts for PRACTICAL ways to rethink the wheel, and what I get is a bunch of "it'll never work" and sarcasm. Guess I shouldn't have expected more or better, but I DID specify CONSTRUCTIVE suggestions. Negative people will always be part fo the problem.

    As for being late to the Green revolution, on a personal level, I'm one of the ones who started it in the first place,so you may want to know what you're yammering about before you attempt to wax clever.

    So long, and thanks for the fish. I'd have thought design people would be able to think outside of the box a bit better than the usual idyuts. My mistake. Won't happen again.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2011
  14. CatBuilder

    CatBuilder Previous Member

    Look...

    I was going down the same path as you 4 years ago when trying to figure out how to get a new boat. I looked at bottles, various waste plastic, etc...

    Fact of the matter is, you received good advice here on a couple of ideas that someone brings up every week or so on this and other forums. I had these ideas 4 years ago myself. They are certainly not novel in the least bit. Just the natural conclusion of anyone with a pulse who sees excess plastic and wants a boat.

    Now that you're done dreaming the ideas up, start learning about what type of materials you need to actually build a boat. Look up tensile strength, etc... of materials used to build boats.

    Now look up the materials that you want to build a boat out of.

    That's about where I stopped thinking about making boats from recycled plastic. Try it. You'll stop too.

    You could make that monohull catamaran, if you want to lose every penny you put into it and go 4 or 5 knots all the time. Completely feasible. You should go for it if you can stand to lose all the money, time and go slow. There is nothing to stop that idea from working.

    Alas, the most green way to get a boat is to restore an old one. The second most green way would be to collect scrap wood and use epoxy to put it all together in to a boat.

    All these ideas have been mentioned here and they're all correct.

    Your response to people sharing reality with your dreams is weak. You should realize you are talking to people who understand materials science here. Obviously, you do not.

    Crack open a book and learn after you dream something up, or you'll be doomed to failure.
     

  15. oldsailor7
    Joined: May 2008
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    I suggest we close this thread.
    Who was it said--"A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still".
     
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