Sustainability, the environment, and the boatbuilding industry

Discussion in 'Boatbuilding' started by EJC, Nov 8, 2006.

  1. EJC
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Europe / N.Z

    EJC New Member

    I am a professional sailor with a background in environmental studies and am curious to hear from anybody who is involved with projects that aim to reduce the ecological footprint of the boatbuilding industry, or to promote sustainable practice within the industry, whether it be through alternative construction methods and materials, energy use and sources, etc. If you are one such person then please post a reply!

    I would also be interested in any discussion or comments from any forum users
  2. catsketcher
    Joined: Mar 2006
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    Location: Australia

    catsketcher Senior Member

    Good stuff

    Hello EJC

    We had a little talk about this when considering gaboon plywoods. I am planning to sell plans for a folding cat ( and have a problem with people building them out of rainforest timbers.

    I prefer to design the boat to use slightly heavier plantation timbers like Hoop Pine for plywood. I like using recycled cedar ( I salvaged some on the weekend) but recognise that boatbuilding and being green are hard to combine. Kiri (Paulownia) is a good alternative to cedar. It grows quickly and is plantation grown.

    By using epoxies we can use less durable woods so epoxy gets my vote. I would prefer to use foam and materials like Duflex which use plantation balsa as a core. I see little benefit of us building boats to travel to beautiful places if our boats destroy beautiful places in order to be built.


    Phil Thompson
  3. challange
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    challange Junior Member

    I have heard said before that builders will in the not too distant future have to have decomisioning plans for their boats in order to comply with RCD, this means making them as re-cyclable as is possible.

    I have seen a couple of boats such as the Albi Cat use natural linen and hemp fibers in their boats - although they are used to compliment other conventional fibres.

    an intresting subject
  4. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    It would help if boats were built of recyclable materials instead of having a fancy holographic recycling sticker to reassure consumers and rip them off at the same time. Its still going to the dump.
    If it is truly recyclable then it would have scrap value.

    Crappy boats in asia made out of rain forest lumber have a long service life, are maintained, and contribute something to the local economy, even after they are chopped up and carved into little buddahs for sale to the tourists.

    Western pleasure boats are the height of consumption and waste, followed by personal transport and canine clothing.
    They sit there doing nothing most days of the week absorbing ultraviolet rays and disposable income at an unequal rate.

    As the price of oil gradually rises and we find out what really underwrites globalization and cheap commodity prices,consumers will retreat into the upper class and normal people will value and treasure their humble durable maintainable yacht with quality fittings. And they will wear good quality locally manufactured shoes. And milk will be 4c a pint. In a glass bottle.

    Im hungry after that. Back soon.
  5. Raggi_Thor
    Joined: Jan 2004
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    Location: Trondheim, NORWAY

    Raggi_Thor Nav.arch/Designer/Builder

    I am very biased on this subject.
    Of course we should try to conserve some of the rain forests, but on the other hand I think people are more important.
    If people in Gaboon make some money and develop their economy by turning rain forests into timber and then plantations or farm land later, that's what we did in Europe some hundred years ago. If they turn the rain forest into desert, that's what we did in Norway in the highlands when we cut down the pine and used it as fuel in the mining industry 200/?) years ago.

    Then I know a professor n chemistry who says that burning plastic is the same as burning oil, we just make plastic of the oil first, the use it and then burn it. No big deal. Burning wooden boats after service is of course neutral, regarding CO2, growing trees absorb the same as we produce when we burn them.

    What about upkeep and treatment?
    Is a wooden boat with copper anti-fouling, linseed oil and tar more ecological than an epoxy boat?

    I suppose sailing wooden boats is better than heavy polyester boats with large engines?
  6. rayk
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Location: Queenstown, NewZealand.

    rayk Senior Member

    What about an engineless steel yacht?
    Long keel to beach with...wooden masts...junk rig
    Im not afraid to say the words.
    Every dog has its day, and the junk rig may be the rig for the masses if recyclability triumphs over consumerism.

    The only thing that is recyclable these days is the marketing.
    Ahh consumerism... they arent hiding under the bed you know!
    Theyre on top, barely legal, on a woolly mattress overlay wearing a coral or mint coloured teddy saying ' the underlay, its cheap, and soo comfy.
    Buy it. Ssatisfy me...only $39.95'.
    ...Hmmmm where was I?

    Any way all those berths should be filled up again. People might be a bit more friendlier if commodoties had true value again. Owning a yacht would be a measure of how thrifty not how wealthy we are, and sharing it with friends and family would confer an aura of spirituality and soul on yachts again.
    Instead of not having enough money for a yacht, material will be in low supply. Connections and skill with what is at hand, will carry the day.

    I cant imagine being chased by baddies while I flee on a rotor equipped multihull.
    Resource management doesnt need to get too out of hand in the future.

  7. tom kane
    Joined: Nov 2003
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    Location: Hamilton.New Zealand.

    tom kane Senior Member

    Sustainability is not possible on a planet with limited resourses.Just as continued demand and increased human needs must lead to exploration and development somewhere else in the universe.Unless we escape to other realms where our needs can be found...imagine what will be left of this earth and the life-style of it`s people.The need to limit demand of humans will be....rather unplesant.Most business men cannot run a business that can miss a days trading let alone talk about the myth of sustainable management.
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