Vertical Sailing Craft to circumnavigate Antarctica at 1 knot

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by rwatson, Apr 14, 2019.

  1. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    The project is really interesting, but the lack of maneuverability seems the greatest risk. Many times the greatest strength of a thing is a trade with greatest weakness and while this thing has incredible vertical stability; the exchange is on the horizontal where it has little to no mobility.

    And the risks to the vessel are probably well understood by designers with a much better cv than me.

    I am curious about the bathymetry there. Assume there are places that are shallow enough for the thing to bottom out even. I have visions of some horrible winds driving the thing to trouble.

    Maybe I am clueless. But they can't anchor, or can they?
     
  2. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Well the page does say it has a motor: "With its sails and a transverse propeller at 10 m below the waterline, it has the ability to bend its course to get away from icebergs."
     
  3. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    So did the Titanic. ;)
    Its not designed to anchor. Its designed to drift in the open ocean doing science-y stuff.
     
  4. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    It also says ‘‘Without motorization it is a silent ship.’’ and ‘‘electricity generation will be provided by 4 Kingspan wind turbines of 3.2 kW and photovoltaic cells. It is stored in two packs of lithium-ion batteries of 50 kWh each. The POLAR POD is “zero emission ship”.’’

    So I'll guess that all means they have an electric motor for emergency propulsion with max 100 kWh of juice available. So when they need to move against the current and a gale with the 1,000 tons of weight with 75 m water draft on the draggy truss spar and 25 m air draft to the top, then let's say just 100 kW will last max 1 hour, which looks like a joke to me to have it all installed for.

    ‘‘equipped to accommodate 8 people with 6 months of autonomy.’’ and ‘‘Crews will be surveyed every 2 months using a ship, offshore supply type, which will be permanently assigned to the mission.’’

    Maybe they've planned to use a helicopter from the permanent supply ship to do the crew surveys and to do the supplies by winching it all down, as it would be hard for the supply ship and the pod to do year round actually hook ups in a safe manner. So it's certainly not a zero emission expedition as the claims about only the pod do suggest.

    Couldn't find a single real photo or video of the pod or the spar, not even of something like the start of construction. Also not a single source of funding is mentioned yet on the website as far as I've seen. I've also not seen a planned start date.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2019
  5. Rurudyne
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    Rurudyne Senior Member

    Am I right in recalling that Manie B was building a small boat for circumnavigation?

    Compared to this this it's a racing sloop.
     
  6. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Um, did you not read the benefits of stability and motion reduction. The lack of roll alone would make life so much more bearable for long voyages.
     
  7. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    I understand someone's desire to get their Jacques Cousteau on, but pretty much all of the observations and measurements listed as the raison d' être for this can be automated and remotely operated today. Unmanned, it would be an order of magnitude smaller in scale and could be self powered via wave action to have a potential unlimited mission time ( hypothetically because the S. Ocean is so harsh). Compared to developing, building, and operating that titan, probably a fleet of drone ones could be funded.
     
  8. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

    Yeah. But probably the idea is that you do get more scientific knowledge with scientist there. New hypothesis often start with human observations and saying "hmm this doesn't make sense".

    Data collection with multiple drone ships would yield more data and you could of course have tons of live streams from such drone ships and an army of citizen scientists watching them. But not quite the same.

    EDIT: One research topic might also be to observe the phytoplankton and nutrient circulation at depths, apparently we somehow lost 50% of it over the last decades.
     
  9. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    Note green is the foreseen route of the pod, and red the planned two year round route of the supply ship, so they get shaked anyway.

    Green & Red map — 1 2 3

    So the hardships of the southern ocean already have to be endured by the supply ship crew, while a lot of the research also can be done from that ship if it was drifting around Antarctica, starting right away, since I think the pod will never leave the drawing board due to the lack of that kind of funding.
     
  10. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    I do think existing research vessels could accomplish this task with today's research equipment. Enough data samples can be selected through the broad variety of tools available (plankton, salinity, temperature, oxygen, CO2 level, etc.). The main benefit of this vertical pod would be crew comfort over a prolonged period. Most sailors I know who have sailed the Southern Ocean are in unanimous agreement that nobody wants to stay down there long due to the back-to-back gale storms that come through every ~48 hours. Just when you get a break another low blows through. This vertical pod vessel, provided crew quarters are at least 30 to 40ft above the waterline, would allow the researchers to focus on their job instead of sitting on a roller coaster. I don't know too many crew members or scientists who would volunteer for a solid year of sailing down there in a regular surface vessel. If the task is important enough and the design is proven...in due time I'll bet it gets funded one way or another.
     
  11. Dolfiman
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    Dolfiman Senior Member

    Dejay likes this.
  12. Clarkey
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    Clarkey Junior Member

    Quite apart from all the technical and funding discussions, just imagine standing in the lee of the pod in a storm watching the waves roll past as the platform stays (relatively) stable. It would be an amazing and awe-inspiring experience.
     
  13. Dejay
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    Dejay Senior Newbie

  14. Angélique
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    Angélique aka Angel (only by name)

    In one of the post #7 videos a FLIP crew member tells at 4:05 they were having BBQ's on the back deck in storms, while the support ship was having hard times with breakers over the bow.
     

  15. JamesG123
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    JamesG123 Senior Member

    And then quickly scurrying back inside when a gale blows sleet into your face.
     
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