Saturday, December 7, 2013

Long Distance in Small Boats

For as long as man has been on this gorgeous blue planet of ours he has sought to find adventure wherever he can. There have always been those who simply have to see what is over that next hill. When we all know what is over that next hill then the adventure becomes going over that next hill in some way that has never been done before. It has probably not been done that way before because it is just too big a challenge for most people to consider trying.

That insurmountable challenge is the best of reasons for some people to try it anyway, to prove that it actually can be done and to prove themselves to themselves. In the process of succeeding they also prove themselves to the rest of mankind. Some of mankind thinks it exceedingly silly to do these things and will be eternally critical of those who try. They have no adventurous spirit themselves and would never attempt anything that they consider the least bit risky or dangerous. Some of them become bureaucrats to control others or they encourage bureaucrats to stop the adventurers from being adventurous, a misguided attempt to protect them from themselves.

I have written here before about one such adventurous person, Anthony Steward. He is the only person to have sailed around the world in an open boat. I am fortunate that Anthony selected my TLC 19 hull as the basis for his open boat voyage. Everyone thought that he was crazy in his quest but he was permitted to do it. That is how it should be.

Now I am working on a design for another person who has the aim of circumnavigating the globe in a different way from how everyone else has done it before. His name is Davey du Plessis and he plans to peddle his way around the world. My job is to provide to him the boat that I believe will give him his best chance for success. At the same time, it has to be economical to construct because he is on a tight budget for the voyage.

The result is a multi-chine plywood craft of approximately 23ft length overall. The hull is of fairly classic form that will also make an excellent pulling boat. It has a fine bow at waterline for wave penetration and a fine stern for low drag at the low speeds that can be expected under long term human power.
Hull of the Ocean Peddle Boat for Davey du Plessis.
The superstructure is also multi-chine plywood, so that it can be quickly and easily built using stitch-&-glue building methods. It is a closed boat for maximum protection from the elements but with the ability to open up large surfaces of the central cockpit area to allow air to flow through when needed. This also increases the safety tremendously in rough conditions, making her essentially self-righting if all of the gear is properly stowed and secured.
Basic 3D model of hull and deck.
The model above is very basic, it doesn't show the details of the deck, like windows, opening panels, hatches, solar panels etc, which are detailed into the building drawings.

The whole concept is conceived to make a seaworthy boat. It is not designed for speed, it is designed for cruising slowly under human power, aided where possible by wind, wave and current.

What about the crazy man who will live long term inside this eggshell? Maybe Davey is not as crazy as you think or maybe he is more crazy than you think, I doubt that he knows for sure. He is no doubt less crazy than Anthony Steward because Davey has chosen to have a boat that will give him shelter for his long voyage. Does Davey du Plessis have the legs for this voyage? You can bet that he does, he has ridden a bicycle the length of Africa, from Cairo to Cape Town. Davey is an adventurer and I applaud him for it.

Davey's boat will be built in Knysna on the South African South Coast. The builder is his uncle, Tertius du Plessis, who has previously built one of my designs, a Didi 34.  I doubt that I will even get to see Davey's boat because his route is unlikely to pass anywhere near to me in USA.

I will add this boat to my website when the design is complete. I will no doubt offer it as an open pulling boat but it is possible that there are others who would also like to build it as a trans-ocean rowboat or peddleboat.

To see our full range of designs, please visit http://dixdesign.com/.