Rough rule of thumb for max lengthening of an aluminum hull?

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by John McCrary, Jan 17, 2024.

  1. John McCrary
    Joined: Oct 2021
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    Location: Anchorage, AK

    John McCrary Junior Member

    OK, lets try this again.

    We our interested in this boat because it was essentially spec'd and designed to carry out the same missions as we want to use the boat for. The only real difference is that we are a secular organization so will not be proselytizing. Furthermore, the original owner passed away in 2022, but we would like for his family to see his dream completed rather than turned into a pleasure vessel. It also will allow for economical operation as we can rely on the sails for non-emergency transits. By utilizing the sails, lithium batteries, solar and a hybrid drive, we also are more environmentally-friendly which makes a difference to our donor base.

    We would like to modify the design because the boat was designed to store cargo (vs ship's stores and personal luggage) in an over-sized secondary salon at amidship that was intended to serve as a classroom and tabernacle. Not only is the main mast running through this area, but our understanding is no freight door and that there are only a minimal number of actual cargo tie-down points in this "great room." What we would like to do is convert the portion of the room aft of the main mast into an incident command center while turning the area forward of the mast into a hold with sufficient tie-downs and an actual cargo hatch so cargo does not have to be handloaded breakbulk-style through the companionway. In a perfect world, the stretch would be off sufficient length that we could handle the various sizes of connexs (not ISO's) and/or aircraft freight "tins". This would allow for rapid transfer of both civilian-airlifted supplies as well as those from the military logistics chain (thus spec'd for connexs). It would also allow us to switch from the educational mission payload to the disaster relief payload in a couple of hours rather than a couple of days which not only allows us to deliver aid faster, but the fast transfer rate would help to free up the pier we would take on the relief supplies from.

    To answer other questions in no particular order:

    This is not the Tri-cities project. This one is further up-river.

    The project uses specs and estimating spreadsheets that are around 15 years out of date. Some ship's systems are now obsolete or no longer produced, the engines can no longer be legally mounted, and most of every thing else has increased in cost. We spent several months contacting vendors to get current prices for everything on the build list, including new, compliant engines. Based of this research, it looks like price to completion would be around $2-$2.25 million assuming the labor hour estimates are slightly optimistic, but reasonable. We are hoping, but not planning, on it being a bit less since we are a 501 (c)(3) non-profit and can issue tax-deductible receipts for donated gear. The main reason there is variability in the estimate is that we are not sure how much labor costs will be as we are considering doing the outfitting overseas. Labor up to launch is most likely going to be locally sourced as the hull is at a port that has several aluminum small craft fabrication firms and thus boat builders and welders skilled in working with aluminum.

    When we say we would operated this like a commercial vessel, we mean that the ship is built to meet ABS spec, the stability will not be lowered below USCG standards and the ship will have a rated Master and Mate, three non-rated deck hands and ideally a rated Engineer. The ship would be held to the same standards as a commercial charter yacht.

    Finally, in answer to Banjan's question. I eventually realized the other project was just a massive vanity project so I could say I was both different and pushing the state of the art. I decided that if I am going to spend what would surely end up amounting to over a million dollars on a boat, I'd rather have something to make a difference with rather than just having a 216 foot ***** extension. While doing required research in my medical program, I found an article that mentioned that medical missions are appreciated but are ultimately just band-aids as the capability leaves when the mission does. My entry into medicine was via a program that was designed to address such a capacity shortage in rural Alaska. I decided that we could provide more than a band-aid by providing capacity building via exporting that program to coastal areas that were in need. Basically helping people to help themselves. So, I spent some of my boat money to form a non-profit, recruited a circle of like-minded people and have been working on putting the plan in motion ever since.
     
  2. Ad Hoc
    Joined: Oct 2008
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Ive said it once, i'll say it again...

     
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  3. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    I don't believe this is the right boat for you. The ideea they had for "disaster relief" was a stack of bibles and a few sacks of rice, and of course the good lord provides free longshoremen from his flock.
    There isn't much you can do to modify the design short of rebuilding the boat. Kasten designed longer versions on the same lines, but those are also wider, so even if you untacked the hull and spaced out the frames you would have to pad half of them, add some new ones, cut new stringers and reshape the existing plating, etc. In an economy where labor is more expensive then material you can just as well fire up the cnc and cut an entire new structure, it's probably going to be cheaper.
    What you can realistically do to it is cramp the accommodation big time and shrink the galley and mess for shift operation, thereby freeing up room in the middle of the boat. This can then be redesigned into a multifunctional cargo hold complete with hatch. The loss in comfort will shrink your pool of volunteers and you still have to handle cargo by using a boom as a crane.

    A new design would offer all those features this boat lacks and that I at least think are important for your mission. In no particular order this would be: a big workshop, a dedicated crane, the ability to carry a 20ft container on deck, two big RIB's, true cargo hold.
     
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  4. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    The idea of the project, in general, is very nice. It would be good, before supporting or rejecting it, to be able to do a more detailed study of the current ship and the SOR for the "new" ship.
    Good luck with that project and please, as you have been advised before, seek help from a competent and experienced professional.
     
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  5. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    These project pop up on a regular basis. They are based on a romantic idea that is not practical. If you want to provide medical services, and that is the goal of the project, a sailboat is not a good plan. The cost of operation vs the services you can offer is going to be too high. Shipping materials commercially, by ship or air, flying to the location and taking local transportation is the logical and cheap way to provide the service.
     
  6. bajansailor
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    @John McCrary are you aware of the French aluminium sailing cargo vessel Grain de Sail?
    Our cargo sailboat Grain de Sail https://graindesail.com/en/content/14-our-cargo-sailboat-grain-de-sail

    ‘It’s a little bit of utopia’: the dream of replacing container ships with sailing boats https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/jul/14/replacing-container-ships-with-sailing-boats-cargo-shipping-wind-power

    The first Grain de Sail has been a success - so much so, that they have just launched Grain de Sail II, a much larger sister ship -
    What are the differences between the Grain de Sail II cargo sailboat and a pleasure sailboat? https://www.boatsnews.com/story/44940/what-are-the-differences-between-the-grain-de-sail-ii-cargo-sailboat-and-a-pleasure-sailboat#

    Re the Kasten schooner Zebulon, Rumars makes a very good point above re how it might well be easier and cheaper in the long run to start from scratch to design and build the vessel that you want (rather like what the Grain de Sail folk did), rather than trying to extensively modify an existing hull.

    Edit - I think that the Grain de Sail II was built in Viet Nam, which has a well established boat and shipbuilding industry now.
    Not to mention the fact that the labour cost there is but a fraction of the cost of labour in Europe or North America.
    If $$'s are the bottom line here, then it might be worthwhile investigating the feasibility of having a custom design built there - you might be pleasantly surprised by the cost.
     
  7. John McCrary
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    John McCrary Junior Member

    And again, we won't. The whole purpose of this thread was not to indirectly give myself permission because someone on the internet said it would be ok. The purpose was to see if there was a rule of thumb in order not to waste money on hiring a NA just to discover the gain, if any, was minimal. I have zero desire to just be a cowboy and try it on my own. Both as a certified rigger and in my various medical positions, I have seen the ugly results that come from untrained people trying their hands at tasks that require trained professionals. I understand the meaning of the term "These lessons were paid for with blood," and have no desire to purchase more lessons at the expense of others.

    @gonzo: I get what you are saying, and in theory, I agree. However, my experience with living almost a decade in a frontier environment is that it is never that easy or cheap in reality. I used to have to budget 2 days of fudge factor into a 25 minute flight, and the freight charges on many large items was usually well over 100% of the purchase price. I once had a quote to move a 40 foot ISO container 500 miles, the cost was over $75,000, and that was almost a decade ago.
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2024
  8. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    I think you should do a cost/benefit analysis of the project.
     
  9. Milehog
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    Now that you mention it, and it has been a while, it was tacked together up the Snake River near Lewiston, Idaho, I think.
     
  10. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    If you haven't got the message by now - simple answer is, no!
    But it is your prerogative to keep re-framing the same questions, hoping to elicit a different reply.

    A NA fees will be significantly less than that....why are you so hesitant or reluctant to engage the services of a professional NA for your "what-if" scenario, given your budget?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2024
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  11. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Then you're being riped off.
    As it cost only double that to move a 40m high speed passenger catamaran ferry from one side of the world to another.
     
  12. Milehog
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    Milehog Clever Quip

    Speaking from hard experience, the last place you want to be cheap is on plans.
     
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  13. gonzo
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    gonzo Senior Member

    If sailing was cheaper, commercial traffic would be using it. It is difficult to answer many of your questions, since the plan you have is so vague. For medical assistance in a disaster area, no one can wait for you to cross an ocean on a small boat. Seems like the goal is to have a sailboat and the mission is a tool to get donations. I am usually suspicious of these plans because there is no cost/ benefit analysis. That analysis generates hard data and brings reason to the discussion.
     
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  14. John McCrary
    Joined: Oct 2021
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    John McCrary Junior Member

    Yeah, but only one operator flies comemrical C-130's here, so what are you going to do? Barging wasn't significantly cheaper, and was very constrained. The ocean-going barge only has a single sailing date a year that goes to the closest regional hub, and the Chukchi is extremely shallow, so the ocean barge has to drop anchor ~20 miles off-shore, then the cargo is lightered to the regional hub and then off loaded from the lighter and then reloaded on the river barge for the last 60 miles. Then the tug takes somewhere between half a day to half a month depending on water levels in the Hotham Inlet and Kobuk delta. The price of those last 80 miles is almost equal to the cost of barge fare from Seattle to the regional hub, a distance of aorund 2,000 miles. It's gotten so expensive that many people try to wait for winter to bring stuff in on a truck, but with the weather and now climate change, the road is not guaranteeded. Wouldn't have helped in my case though, because there wasn't any trucks or trailers at the hub that were big enough to handle a 40' ISO.

    I guess this is a great deal like like naval architecture in that if you do not have experience in it (rural logistics, disaster amangement or frontier medical systems), you don't realize how much you don't know.

    In case of a disaster, the response range will depend largely on the level of the disaster. The first thing to do is take the mental image of a fire truck or ambulance out of your thinking as those are tactical/local-level assets where minutes count. Tactical-level response is only the tip of a disaster response. If you are working on the operational or strategic level, reasonable response time is significantly longer. One to two days response time is acceptable for a regional unit responding to what the DHS ICS system calls a Type 2 disaster, while a Type 1 is so large in scope that you can arrive 2 weeks post-incident and still provide meaningful relief. Major disasters also tend to cause cascading failures that also need addressed. When COVID hit, management of chronic condiotions went into the toilet because first they weren't allowed to be dealth with, and after that period passed, the healthcare resources were so busy dealing with the acute situation, that there was insufficient manpower left to adequately address chronic care. Mitigating these cascading failures is an important part of disaster response. For example, if you bring in a medical team, they can handle chronic care management for absent doctors or even better, relieve those doctors in the acute care setting so they can return and take care of their existing chronic-care panel.

    Now consider a vessel with a sustained speed of 14.5 knots. In 24 hours, that vessel can cover 400 statute miles and has a potential coverage area of half a million square miles.

    That all ties into the medical education component because the nature of our work would mean we would be in a region for quite a while. The medical education component is basically exporting an evolved version of the Alaska Community Health Aide Program (Alaska's Health Aide Model - CHAP Alaska https://akchap.org/about/ ) that is customized to the culture and endemic health issue of a particular region. So, based on that program, at a minimum we would be in a area for 6 weeks and 3 to 6 months is more reasonable.

    The cost/benefit analysis is honestly very complex, variably-specific to individual areas, and highly counter-intuitive for those who do not have experience with frontier medical needs and availability. Our costs will not be small, but the fee we would charge to break even is significantly cheaper than what a government would spend on a year of transporting patients from areas that do not have health care. For example, in Alaska, it can easily cost Medicare $1000 in travel-related expenses to ship a patient from a rural village to the regional hub for a routine 15 minute medical visit. And somewhere around here, I have the Explantions of Benefits from where my insurance at the time paid almost $75,000 for medevac flight a 1.5 hour medevac flight. If you can prevent just a small handful of those type of trips per year, the fee becomes a bargin even if it is in the hundreds of thousands of dollars range. This is doubly true when you consider that we are training the trainers so, the government is getting a self-renewing asset. I will say that I have both middle management, project managment and entrepreneurial experience as well as advanced degrees in business. So, I know how to setup and run an organization, I understand break-even costs and I have detailed budgets not just for operational expenses, but also costs based on a 5-year intensive maintenance cycle and also for the shore-side support operations and personnel.

    As for this being some type of scam, 501 (c)(3)'s charities are designed to guard against that. Any money, services or equipment I chip in are classed as donations and should the non-profit ever be dissolved, I cannot get those assets back. When you dissolve a (c)(3), the assets and proceeds can only go to another non-profit organization. You can look up the organization in the State of Alaska Corporate Database. Seraphim International, Inc. dba Sereaphim International is a non-profit corporation registered in the State of Alaska and has US Internal Revenue Service designation as a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization. The internet domain Seraphim.NGO is also registered to us, we have our email server there, but have not launched a site yet.
     

  15. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Indeed....and it seems there is much you don't know.

    Nope!

    It depends WHERE it is.
    I live in a country such things occur on a very regular basis, just like with buying a house, it is: Location, location, location!!!

    As Gonzo notes, it is how quickly you can get there...a disaster waits for no one.!

    I simply cannot image a sailing vessel travelling from Tokyo all the way around Honsu to Noto peninsula.
    By the time it arrives, assuming it can during the very rough winter months..it is way way too late. It is more about body recovery than survivors!

    There is no logic in your proposal, other than post disaster help...which is admirable. But do not get delusional in what your slow vessel can do, other than post disaster support. Not immediate support....
     
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