Wooden Rowboat to go across the Atlantic

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Dakillr013, Jun 1, 2022.

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  1. Dakillr013
    Joined: Jun 2022
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    Dakillr013 Junior Member

    I too admire my optimism!
    I had assumed so but it appears that it will not be, so I'll just get off at Africa and go over land to the other side.
    I've slept in worse conditions, so I don't think sleeping under a tarp would really be an issue.
    I wasn't aware that other ocean rowing boats didn't have keels. Thanks for informing me, so I guess no keel then.
     
  2. Blueknarr
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    Blueknarr Senior Member

    Don't worry about the canal authority.
    The pirates will get you long before you reach Africa.
     
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  3. wet feet
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    wet feet Senior Member


    A thoughtful warning above

    .Is the building an integral part of the challenge or is it the journey that has the significance?I often wonder if a keen,but inexperienced builder has any idea of how much work is required to complete a boat large enough to live on.Which may mean that it could be two or three years before a part time build is complete and then it inevitably takes a few hundred miles of training to become familiar with living on and rowing a large and bulky boat-at least by the standard of other recreational boats.That oceans can be,and are,crossed by rowers is a well established fact.One effect of which is that quite a number of boatyards have examples languishing in the weeds in a remote corner.If building is not the primary aim then a bit of searching could lead to the rowing happening quite a lot sooner.

    The trend is for the boats to have good size cabins at each end to raise the centre of buoyancy and many have the aft one a little large so they tend to lie head to wind if the rower takes shelter in rough conditions.A bit of searching will soon lead to some examples to inspire.

    [​IMG]
     
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  4. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I came upon a woman years ago searching for her son, who had gone missing in November in the woods in Ontario. He had gotten it into his head to go into the bush in winter and survive alone. He enjoyed hiking and the challenge he faced. The first day in was a beautiful warm day, clear as a bell, he certainly had a great time hiking and sweating. But clear days in November are typically cold nights and he faced a night of 28F. And he had improper gear, not even a sleeping bag. The next May, his jacket and snowpants were found by the authorities, but no trace of his body. After several extensive searches, his remains were found where I had told them to search.

    Now, many of you may wonder what relevance. Below freezing temps are no comparison.. But see, Dan may have gone into the water for warmth. Water temps are in the low 40s and it surely felt warm to him versus the air. But the relevance may be starting to make sense.. See the human body is 98 degrees, when the core falls below about 95, it is the beginning of hypothermia. And so Dan had a few last moments in warm feeling frigid water before he died. Water takes the bodies temperature down super fast. And rain, even a cold rain can cause hypothermia in cold, wet conditions.

    This talk of no need for an enclosure is coming from someone who has not the foggiest understanding of rough seas or cold nights at sea.

    My story is a bit embellished. Dan may have faced a second day that was only 23F overnite. He also may not have gone in the water, but I believe he did because of where his remains were found which was downstream from what I believe was his last location before he went in water that felt warm.

    Now, change the word hiking to rowing. Get sweated up rowing all day and crawl under a tarp and nightfall happens; perhaps some rain or rough seas and quite quickly you are facing hypothermia. Your core temp drops to say 92F, mild confusion sets in. If it drops another 10 degrees to 82; the heart rate slows to 30. You lose essentially all motor skills. Walking or rowing or moving become very difficult. Critical thinking like staying out of water that may be warmer than air vanishes. Chance of death is very high. If the body does not return to 90F; death is certain. And the only way is food or shelter or both, but if the person is alone and has lost critical thinking skills; they may die. Or, morning may come and you may warm back up only to realize you threw your oars and clothes and food away in the confusion.

    People who live in cold climates have a better understanding, but not always. For a simple test, if you get an overnite temperature of say below 20F, go outside in a shirt and shorts at nite and dump a large pail of 20F water on you and fill the pail with 20F water. Sit quietly or lay for outside for an hour and then dump the bucket on yourself again and then sit for another hour. This will give you an idea of likely conditions you will face at sea without a cabin.
     
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  5. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Dakillr013,
    Everything you are asking about has been done, which, in its way, proves it can be done. However, few of the news reports, or even the personal testimonials convey the history and circumstances surrounding their successes. You too, may be able to do what you are asking about doing. It begins with the goals and the first steps are the questions. Keep asking.

    Webb Chiles sailed across in an open boat. upload_2022-6-2_6-24-6.png
    But that doesn't mean it was a good idea.

    I suspect no one on here will recommend an open boat passage. Certainly not with a heavy keel. You want your boat to stay afloat, first and foremost. Open boats get swamped. It isn't the size of the waves that are the problem, it is their breaking over you. That is what rolls a boat.

    Storms whip up, waves get bigger and well designed boats ride up and down them until the wind get high enough and the waves get tall enough that their tops are blown over. There are even thermoclines under the surface that can act like a hard bottom to a rolling wave. This can also cause them to break.

    You need to train, you need to read, you need to make small passages to coastal Islands, spend time learning about the effects of water, waves, currents, wind on you and your boat.

    There are things out in the middle of the ocean that can effect you. A French sailor in a round the world race reported having his boat grabbed by a giant squid. Pirates will not usually bother a boat that doesn't look like it will yield some gain for them, but just being in the area is a risk. Submerged objects can hole a boat, even a slow boat. Ships often don't see the little guys. It takes skill, and preparation, and experience, for sure, but there is a considerable amount of luck in making a successful passage, as well.

    Build your boat with a cabin, if for no other reason than to give her buoyancy and a place to store your supplies and extra oars. The self righting is a nice safety feature, but seriously, the real risk in capsize is getting separated from your boat in the middle of a storm, in the middle of the night. You won't find it in the morning.

    Good luck and keep asking questions.
     
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  6. Dakillr013
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    Dakillr013 Junior Member

    Thanks for the kind words. It's really encouraging.
    I'm a bit confused about this, do the traditional ocean rowing boats don't get swamped? If so, how come?
     
  7. bajansailor
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    bajansailor Marine Surveyor

    Think of a cork - it bobs up and down, even if waves wash over it.
    A rowing boat with watertight superstructure (for buoyancy and to help recover from a capsize) is like this cork - it will have a shallow cockpit / footwell for the rower, that will drain quickly if swamped.
    But an open boat will, by it's very nature, collect a lot more water when a wave breaks over it.
    And where will you be - wrapped up in or underneath a tarpaulin, getting hypothermia?

    Yes, open boats have been rowed across oceans before - these two Norwegians rowed the North Atlantic in an open boat in 1896, and they were very fortunate really to survive.
    But simply because they survived should not be an incentive for you to follow in their wake.
    Harbo and Samuelson Rowed Across the Atlantic And Right Into Obscurity https://www.adventure-journal.com/2019/04/harbo-and-samuelson-rowed-across-the-atlantic-and-right-into-obscurity/

    Edit - just a thought - I just remembered that the prevailing winds in the Red Sea seem to be mainly from north to the south - ie they would be against you the whole way. I have read accounts of friends who have tried to sail up the Red Sea, and it was hard work, beating the whole way. I think it would be pretty much impossible to do this in a rowing boat.
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2022
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  8. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    Not sure what a traditional ocean rowing boat is. The old bluenose fishing schooners carried dories on their decks to launch at the fishing grounds. They were a preferred launch because they nested inside each other and took up less space on deck.

    The sailors often spent long days rowing and fishing in very big seas. The traditional fishing dory was considered a sufficient lifeboat because of their long history of open ocean use, but when tested for seaworthiness in a controlled, scientific way, they proved to be very tippy and unsafe. Their ability to weather severe conditions at sea was, in part, because of the seamanship of their sailors.

    This is just the beginning of your 'paddle to the sea', be patient, and be meticulous, and be persistent, and be smart and you'll get there.
     
  9. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    upload_2022-6-2_10-45-10.png
    Winslow Homer
     
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  10. Will Gilmore
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    Will Gilmore Senior Member

    upload_2022-6-2_10-59-25.png
     
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  11. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    Deathtrap, but great pic of false romance.
     
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  12. Coastal Ogre
    Joined: Jun 2019
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    Coastal Ogre Junior Member

    "Everybody dies but not everybody lives..."

    Rowing across the Atlantic Ocean is now done every year; no deaths in the recent race results I can see.... But to be fair: most teams train for over a year before competing and there are safety
    boats as well.

    They've even started a Pacific trip now. Crew size starts at 01 soul, so right in line with your quest.

    Talisker Whisky Atlantic Rowing Challenge – The World’s Toughest Row (taliskerwhiskyatlanticchallenge.com)

    Atlantic Campaigns - YouTube

    Might be good to contact the race organizers (and some of the current teams) for expert advice, tips, strategy and gear required.

    Good luck - and keep us posted on your progress!
     
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  13. Dakillr013
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    Dakillr013 Junior Member

    Hmm, I thank you all for the responses, but I'm still unsure about one of my original questions, namely, how much propulsion can I reliably produce sustainably if I'm rowing? I need this to calculate supplies and stop and such.
     
  14. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Solo ocean rowing is a kind of oar assisted drifting. You can't row against the wind or current, so you go with the flow. Starting in India going east there is only one possible time and route, January-March, to Yemen/Somalia, non-stop. As mentioned, it's not exactly the dream route, so you aim for Oman and hope to be lucky.
    How much propulsion you can produce is a relatively pointless question, but it's around 150W. You need to actually learn how to row, specifically heavy boats and for a long time. Your boat will be ~250kg empty and ~750kg fully loaded, rowed for 8-10h/day. If you don't learn beforehand the boat will literally break your back.

    One thing about the boat. The boats all look more or less the same for a reason, and you should respect that. If you want it made out of wood, cold molding with epoxy should be your choice, since that is lightest.
     
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  15. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    depends on the boat and your training, currents, wind
     
    Last edited: Jun 5, 2022
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