Ultimate Florida Challenge boat for 2012

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by spidennis, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: south padre island, texas

    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    I plan to enter the 1200 mile Ultimate Florida Challenge in March 2012

    Below is my first model/mockup of my design, a freestanding biplane rigged folding catamaran. In the first pic you'll see my oars but I'd like to set up a peddle prop drive.
    In the second pic the boat is setup for the 40 mile portage.

    Some competitors walk this route and push/pull their portage carts while others use a bicycle to tow it. I want to tow it, if i can.

    Or, I'd like to use the same parts for both the prop drive and for the bike, or turn the boat into a bike, or some combo of this nature.

    If I left the bike whole, and the bike was always ready to go, when I re-provision for water/supplies then I'd have an instant and quick ride. Towing is easy this way? and maybe set it up like some of the water bikes for while on the boat?

    Anyway, I got a few different ideas rolling around but my plan A is to use oars and the bike to tow. A prop drive would require a bunch of designing, testing and cost ....



    I am also looking for a boat design .......

    My design considerations for the boat are:
    1) unstayed masts , quickly removable
    2) biplane rig
    3) reef ready , roller furling?
    4) hulls - flat bottom (shallow draft), pull onto beach
    5) hulls - hatches for storage
    6) hulls - floatation, unsinkable
    7) hulls - dismantled/folded for 40 mile portage
    8) hulls - lee board/center board, must kick up
    9) hulls - rudders, must kick up
    10) hulls - front net/tramp
    11) boat must be portaged 40 miles!
    12) live aboard for 15/30 days, eat/sleep
    13) aux manual propulsion, oars / peddle drive prop
    14) aux sail plan : kiteboarder kite
    15) carry all gear and supplies for 15/30 days
    16) easy to build
    17) wheels for portage?

    Links so far:



    Duo 425:

    Duo 480:


    In looking around for different designs I came across the K-designs , they had designs for a 14' and 16' biplane rigged cat, along with a folding cat, exactly what I've already spec-ed in and made a model of, perfect, I got a place to start from. It's all too similar, scary actually! But I'm still looking around for other available designs so I can make an educated decision.

    the 425 uses windsurfing gear, can't use that in the race. It has to be able to reef, and roller furling would be nice, so I'm also looking for a rig that's oh about 9 square meters-ish

    Now I know that in races, everyone wants to keep their design a secret so they can have an edge against their competitors but the watertribe race is different and I just look at it as one big ol' and long messabout with friends. Developing, building, testing this boat will take much more time than actually racing it and it'll be a fun thing to share. Too many times I see something and it's like a big black secret, you want to know more about something but it's just not to be shared. Not in this case!

    I welcome any and all comments, ideas and suggestions! Even a competitor with the same idea.

    Presently I have "Sew Sew" to worry about if he can keep from crashing and breaking his gear. He's for all out speed and quickness. And he has a very light boat. He'll be the one to catch in 2012, maybe that will be me?

    Anyway, we all have spot trackers, so when it's time to follow the race it'll be a lot of fun for everyone. Kinda like following the Dakar Rally with the time span of about 2 weeks. Wacky machines, crazy competitors, an impossible course and wild weather, all should make for another great adventure!

    Aquatically yours,
    Dennis Barrett
    South Padre Island, Texas
  2. messabout
    Joined: Jan 2006
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    messabout Senior Member

    Quite a project you have there. The folding cat thing is clever enough but.......there is always a but.....You are going to live with/on this thing for an extended period of time. A cat is not the most uncomfortable thing you could use but it near the top of the list. I like them for day sailing but to spend days on the thing is a punishment that you do not deserve. I am not saying that you could not endure the pain but why would you want to?

    I expect some of the others will weigh in here and give this thread a lot of attention, wild assed opinions and even some sage advice. Go for it! Sounds like fun to me.
  3. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    Location: south padre island, texas

    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    REAL "Reality TV" !

    This is certainly a debate, which path to choose. Randy Smyth will be on his swing wing trimaran so he's made his decision . Wizard fit inside his shoe of a boat . Certainly different ends of the spectrum here. I lived in my kayak for almost 3 weeks when I paddled the length of the Texas Coast back in May so I know what it's like to be uncomfortable but I figure I can make my cat much more pleasant. Sure, I'll be living in my dry suit and under my hat, but I'm kind of used to that in a way. Since I'll have an unstayed mast, at least there's no fear of being dead meat out on a wire ...... Crazy Russian finished with his blow up cat and I'll be living much as he did. He didn't seem to mind it much, but then, he's former Red Army! And so the pre-race race is in full swing .... many have already committed to the race .... and I hope they have a blog, website or thread going about what they are up to. Maybe I'll have to whisper in their ears and suggest it? I'm sure we'd all like to see who is up to what and then how it all pans out! Now this is REAL "Reality TV" !
  4. Wavewacker
    Joined: Aug 2010
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    Wavewacker Senior Member

    Hey, good luck with your project and especially the race! If I were just a few years younger, better looking, richer, didn't drink so much, could stop chasing women and run like I use to in my twenties, by golly, I'd give you a run for your money in that race!!!

    What are you doing to train??? You gonna pull that thing over 40 miles?

    LOL, Good Luck!
  5. Petros
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    Location: Arlington, WA-USA

    Petros Senior Member

    messabout, you have to read the rules for this particular race to understand the design. It looks like a fun challenge. I wish we had something similar in the Puget Sound area.

    Spidennis, i did not catch it in your post, but are you going solo, or have a sailing partner? I have thought about a similar design, but I would consider a rig where you can say remove the rear wheel on a mountain bike and attach the chain to a prop drive. The same bike you use to tow it during the portage. This solves half of the drive issues since you are using the bike, and it makes the bike dual purpose. Still have to have a reasonable final drive mechanism. I thought about making a micro cruiser with such a drive to give you on-shore mobility and avoid having an engine.

    I would also suggest you make the wheels on the hull removable since they will add a lot of drag if left in place.

    If you are going to not have a pedal drive I would NOT recommend those long oars. They will be slow and clumsy, particularly in many of the tight places you will be paddling. A much simpler and move effective way to drive the boat is with doubled ended kayak paddles. this means of course you have to create a place to sit and paddle with enough clearance from the hulls and rigging so you can make a full stroke. If you are going to have another crew you could make a saddle like seat on each hull so both can double paddle on each side.

    Two other issues: for your rig and folding mechanism, KISS! Keep It Simple, almost certainly things will fail or malfunction, the less complex the mechanism the less chance of something to go wrong. Keep the parts count down, make it strong. The other is to make sure you leave enough time to get it out on the water to test everything out, almost certainly there will be details you'll want to change. If the first time you are in the water is during the competition, you will almost certainly fail to finish. So plan to have it on the water for a test run at least a full month before the event, preferably more. Give it a good shake down, perhaps on a short multi-day test run.

    I like the concept, keep us informed about what you are building.
  6. portacruise
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    portacruise Senior Member

    Dennis, here's a commercial system that uses a bike-boat system that is the most efficient I have seen to date. Perhaps some of the concept could be worked to help with your idea of using a bike to pull for portage and also power over water: http://www.akwakat.co.nz/index.php?page=specifications
    Looks like the front sprocket drives the gearbox to the prop directly. The wheels would have to be much wider than the pictured road bike if you are going over sand. Another possible source of ideas would be some of the kinetic sculpture contraptions if they could be honed for your purposes: http://kinetickingdom.com/KK-how2/index.html

    Hope this helps.


  7. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    Actually, a lot of guys are much older than I are doing this. I'm 51 presently, but don't look or act like it.

    Before the UFC, I got the EC to do and I'll be paddling a lot since I'll paddle that event. I live at south padre island, and it's a great place to train year around. I'll have to get used to wearing a drysuit though.

    For the UFC training I'll be using the boat a lot and sailing, sailing, sailing. I'll also portage it back and forth. This will help me work out all the kinks. If I get a peddle drive system I'll be using that, and or the oars. I think the UFC is gonna be easier than the EC. Sailing is much easier than paddling! And yes, I got to portage my craft 40 miles!
  8. spidennis
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    yes, I'm doing my first ufc solo!

    An yes, the wheels will be removable. In the model I got holes all over the hulls to look at different ideas. your mt.bike idea is a good one. multi purpose is a good thing! If I put the bike sideways then I'd not need a twisted chain type arrangement . it would look funny, but might be a good thing to try out. I'd think it would be a pretty cheap way to go as well.

    oars: I'll just have to try that out first, along with stand up paddle board paddles, kayak paddles and whatever else, even a push pole.

    Kiss! and strong! making it folding isn't exactly along those lines, but I think that this method of folding will do me the best job. making models sure helps!

    I have a two sets of old beat up prindle 16 hulls, with cross bars. I'm gonna raft a set together in the folded positions by just bolting them together with some short 2x4 and drop it into the water and see how it floats, moves, feels and behaves. Then I'll try out some paddles and see if I can get it to move . I'll put some wheels under it and see just what it's like to tow behind a bike. I want to know what weights are possible. When I get to the starting line I will be fully outfitted and tested! We have an event here called the Texas 200. It's not a race but rather a messabout, and it'll be good training for me and the boat.

    Attached Files:

  9. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    I recently saw the akwakat website, yeah, so that's on my mind. The kinetic website was a hoot! I'll have to go back there some more, that was fun, and educational to boot. I learned a few things there .....

    this page shows some of the workings of the drive.
    it needs 14" of water to operate
    and from their facebook page:
    with FedEx we can now offer the Akwakat at US$1190 delivered to the USA.
    Price does not include any state taxes, levies, or duties.
    Joined: Oct 2002
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    Location: Conn in summers , Ortona FL in winter , with big d

    FAST FRED Senior Member

    Dragging or pushing for 40 miles sounds like the hardest part.

    Any way to include more bicycle for the 18 speed gearing?

    Yes I know FL is "flat" , but every speed bump will look like Everest if you are harnesed like a donkey.

    Perhaps the bike part could be discarded after the portage?

  11. JosephT
    Joined: Jun 2009
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    JosephT Senior Member

    I would go with an outrigger canoe with an optional sail rig.



    As an ultra marathon paddler myself you will be best off leveraging ever form of propulsion you can get...wind + core muscles. If the wind is slow your back-up plan is to paddle with a carbon blade for hundreds of miles and make good time.

    For the portage, you could store a light bike (which can be disassembled/reassembled) & a kayak cart you could just ride the portage in the end of this race. That's what most have done with success in this race.

    I would suggest closely studying those who have won this race in the past for an optimum solution. You're looking at toting way too much boat on the portage portion of this race.
  12. u4ea32
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    u4ea32 Senior Member

    I'm no where near fit enough, I only ride my bike a hundred miles a week in the foothills, whereas Randy has been working out 40 hours a week for thirty years, and he wasn't a wimp before that. Remember he won every Worrell 1000 he entered except the one where his boat broke apart. So beating him will require a real iron man, or a breakdown on his part. But also consider that Scissors has finally held together this last EC, and there is yet another before the 2012 UFC...

    Of course, he didn't win the 2010 EC, following the first paddler by 3 hours...
  13. spidennis
    Joined: Feb 2007
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    I watched a few videos of the portage, and "the hill" is quite something. This is gonna be a tough nut to crack. How exactly to use the bike for everything? Some of the new bike/boats out there are interesting in how they go about getting it all to work. The bike I want to have ready for prop power when I need it, but also to be quick to get supplies at at checkpoints or where ever. Getting a quick portage setup and moving out is also key. I can make a lot of time in the portage over someone who is gonna walk it. so this bike aspect is a puzzle inside a bigger puzzle. I got some testing to do and see how it all turns out. I got a pair of prindle 16 hulls that I'll raft together and see how it floats, then I'll have something to look at and play around with. Being 1:1 should really help where a model will only get you so far.
  14. spidennis
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    oh, I have been studying who has done what but I don't want to have that define the sides of my "box". What's great about the ufc is it's still very new. We all have ideas on what will work out best. Some of us are willing to go all out and see just where it stands among the rest. Then, I too will get eval-ed and become some part of the "box" that others will just ignore and blast right thru the envelop and redefine just what's what. Have you seen Randy Smyth's boat? That's nothing like what has entered the ufc before. He is not following any trends here. I don't want to "follow" any trends either, this whole ufc is just too new to do that with.

  15. spidennis
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    spidennis Chief Sawdust Sweeper

    It's not fair to compare yourself (or anyone) with Randy Smyth ! We are who we are but can still compete in the same event together. Is that just too cool or what? Sure, Randy holds the edge on all of us. He has a design that he's been working on for years now. He's the Man, he's got the Machine, He's the one to go after!
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