San Antonio River Barge Competition

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by CDBarry, Dec 20, 2015.

  1. CDBarry
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    CDBarry Senior Member

    San Antonio’s upcoming 300th anniversary in 2018 has inspired the City of San Antonio to re-imagine the ‘river barge’ experience as a quality transportation option with a newly designed, more sustainable and modular fleet using innovative technology to meet the needs of both tourists and residents.

    The City is partnering with The American Institute of Architects, San Antonio Chapter (AIA San Antonio) to implement an international design competition to create redesigned river barges to be used on the San Antonio River. The competition will open Friday, Oct. 30 to local, national and international teams for innovative designs representative of a world-class city such as San Antonio.

    http://aiasanantonio-riverbarge.org/
     
  2. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I had a business trip there once, and decided to go find the river because everyone said it was nice. So I ask directions, but pretty soon I'm out of town and driving through a desert thinking there isn't likely to be a river up ahead. So I turn around and drive back and ask somebody else. So I drive out of town again. At this point, it's probably worth mentioning that I had lived in Memphis and had a particular idea as to what a river was. I eventually found the "river". It is smaller than the drainage ditch than ran behind my house that we kids used as a bike highway around town. I'm pretty sure the winner won't be a catamaran.:D Terrific town though. I think they'll get plenty of on site researchers.
     

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  3. Ad Hoc
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    Ad Hoc Naval Architect

    Hahahaha

    Looking at the SOR

    "Provides for a 15 -20 year barge lifespan, at a cost of $40,000 to $65,000 per barge.."

    Yeah right, as if one of those babies carrying up to 40 pax will cost less than $65k, with electric propulsions and regulations etc etc!!

    To para phrase Steve Tyler...dream on..dream on..
     
  4. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Maybe there's a rich vein of Unobtanium in the San Antonio area....;)
    or case hardened spaghetti....
     
  5. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I got stuck on the photo of "Boat Stalls". The project presenter should probably start practicing saying that right now. Perhaps a front drive electric outboard, cowl like a horse's head, steered with reins???

    There was that refugee boat thread, maybe consult with those fellows.

    This isn't a bad exercise though. You need fifty boats, so everything is going to be off the shelf kit. Just convert everything into units of golfcarts, and the pricing is pretty straightforward. Every golfcourse has about 70 carts, and the fleet lease rates are well known. I looked at railcar systems too, but not as cost effective, it seems.

    from wiki https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battery_electric_multiple_unit
     
  6. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Says electric only but doesn't give any specs or hopes for the speed and range, or max recharging times.

    For some reason I'm reminded of a Dilbert cartoon where he tells his boss he'll fax him some electricity.

    http://dilbert.com/search_results?terms=Electricity fax

    From the looks of it, guessing the actual speeds and distances, I'm seriously thinking laying and retrieving a cable that lies on the 'river' bottom might work.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_71677-1373-...roductId=3129447&selectedLocalStoreBeanArray=[com.lowes.commerce.storelocator.beans.LocatorStoreBean%40565b565b]&storeNumber=2604&kpid=3129447&cm_mmc=SCE_PLA-_-RoughPlumbingElectrical-_-ExtensionCords-_-3129447%3ABayco&CAWELAID=&CAWELAID=1368076900

    http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay...gId=10051&cmRelshp=rel&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1

    http://www.lowes.com/ProductDisplay...gId=10051&cmRelshp=req&rel=nofollow&cId=PDIO1
     
  7. Leo Lazauskas
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    Leo Lazauskas Senior Member

    Even if you can get the unobtanium for free, the boats will still require some
    administratium and regulatium to keep them afloat.
    (You can obtain these from your local Dept. of Redundancy Dept.)
     
  8. SukiSolo
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    SukiSolo Senior Member

    Regrettably all too common. When I was building sculls and doubles, we had planning permission for a new boat works turned down on the sole grounds of 'Causing employment'......;)

    What did they build on this riverside flood plain site some 12 years later? Houses....;)
     
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  9. messabout
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    messabout Senior Member

    That the project is to be partnered by architects, implies that the barges will be more akin to house boats. :D
     
  10. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    And they wrote themselves into the process.

    Show of hands - who pulls city permits to build their boats:D
     
  11. Squidly-Diddly
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    Squidly-Diddly Senior Member

    Sounds like the Fix Is In. And $250 just to enter? yipes.

    This sort of reminds me of when Mountain View, CA bought a bunch of little sail boats for their little pond. Program was a screaming failure because you first had to take their classes, could only rent boats for certain times at great expense and a bunch of other weird rules.
     
  12. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    I spent about ten years working for concessionaires doing outdoor rec. If you judged any of these programs by the correspondence and files you would wonder anything got done, but it did. The folks I worked with on both sides were all very task oriented, and were struggling to use the new concessions to get out from a bad situation, so there was a lot of leeway granted to the concession. But in order to insulate themselves, the career administrators would always turn the day-to-day administration over to some clueless young person who actually had a real job to do, and who had neither the time nor the interest to get involved. In practice, this works splendidly for all concerned.

    Occasionally, the bureaucrats need to show the flag, and we'd all put on a dog and pony show for a visiting bigwig. It's part of the deal, you support the admin as if you worked for them. In return, they owed you a favor.

    Reading between the lines a bit, I guess maybe that the concessionaires were getting some grief from their accountants about tax efficiency. It's hard to take depreciation on a boat built in '68. If the boats were 2016's instead, it would be so much better. Understand that concessionaires take depreciation on pretty much anything to do with the operation since the govt. can't. This is the essence of the concession contract structure. The op plan is an after thought. I wrote a lot of op plans, either while doing the work, or after. My cost estimates were always pretty good, though:D.

    So maybe somebody asked the question "what has to happen to get 2016 boats we can depreciate?" Well, you can buy new ones, or you can remanufacture the old ones. Remanufacture has a specific legal connotation. It means you can apply for a new VIN/HIN and start depreciating stuff again. There are also some stringent requirements to qualify. The wording of the contest appears to fit nicely with the remanufacture idea. The contest shows the world that they are starting off doing everything very properly, and once this phase is over and it's all back to normal, I would expect some guy working for the concessionaire for $10/hr will be pulling the boats apart and applying new HINs. Nothing to get excited about. This is how it works.

    If they really want new boats, I think the sensible thing to do would be to develop a new design or reman quietly within the existing concession contract. The concessionaire pays money to the gov't for the concession. The gov't can trade that fee for add-on work. It's called a fee offset arrangement. For seven years I worked projects on fee offsets so that the company never actually paid the gov't a penny. The motivation for doing this is that the money stays local, and doesn't get sucked up into some government general fund. The down side is that that very fee is one of the primary considerations used in selecting bidders, and it ought to be real, not funny money.

    There's enough prize money offered to actually modify one of the boats and to see what can be done within a budget that is attractive to the concessionaires and the govt. They could also spend some of it and actually specify a product mix. IMO, it is rather important that all of the contest submissions satisfy the same product mix for evaluation purposes. For example, the configurations wanted for Monday rush hours and 4th of July weekend could be speced.

    I was thinking of forwarding the contest link to team Oracle, Alinghi and Prada.:D
     
  13. portacruise
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    portacruise Senior Member

    The fix has been in for many years, on that extremely lucrative contract for the operators. Last time it was opened, about 10 years ago, there were environmentally friendly requirements with preference to electric, though natural gas was mentioned, as I recall. Two local firms with high bankrolls and strong separate political backing duked it out, and the fight spilled into the media. The winner did not even bother to improve the environment part AFAIK, using the same barges and some noisy/stinky 2 cycle outboards maybe were switched to 4 cycle- no penalty ever specified. This time the city will own the barges, as I remember- in a supposed push to go to electric specks, and maybe because of some accounting issues.


    The design is not much of a challenge, the existing barges work well through the tight/narrow/shallow waterways and some high power Torquedo outboards could be used. Maybe decorate the barges for the celebration.

    PC













    ,
     
  14. philSweet
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    philSweet Senior Member

    That helps explain the seemly over-the-top sensitivity to the optics. The task itself could get done if it were done quietly. After 10 years, the contract options are about expired, too, I'd guess. It sounds like the River Commission is leaning in the direction of a PPP, or using PPP as a roadmap, and doesn't want to have the tail-wagging-the-dog anymore.

    Pro tip. Don't hire a company that's 20 times as big as you are to do something that's basically simple, because it won't stay simple for long.
     

  15. alan craig
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    alan craig Senior Member

    I accidently wandered into this old thread, had a quick look on YT and found that there is a little extra news - the price of entry has gone up along with the new ecological boats:
     
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