The purpose of this project is to design and mass-produce kits for a floating tiny house that can sail. It combines high-tech modeling and fabrication and low-tech assembly that can be carried out DIY-style on a riverbank or a beach. This boat is a 3-bedroom with a kitchen, a sauna and a dining room. The deck is big enough to throw dance parties. It can be used as a river boat, a canal boat or even a beach house. Oh, and it's rugged and stable enough to take out on the ocean. Kits will start at around $50k (USD). The design has been tested in simulation and prototype; full-scale production will begin next year.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

On Women, Boats and Plumbing

Plumbing systems on boats run from the very simple (a blue jerrican of water brought in from shore) to simple (a fresh water tank, a foot pump and a spigot over a tiny sink that drains overboard) to ones that are equivalent to the ones found in houses on land. Houseboats, in particular, generally have running hot and cold water supplied to a faucet in the galley, the one in the heads, and the shower head in the shower stall. QUIDNON will follow this general pattern, providing all the amenities people are used to having in their home on land.

Although the details of boat plumbing systems vary, all but the simplest ones share two significant commonalities: all of them break from time to time, and when they do repairing them involves the use of significant amounts of foul language while groping around in a cramped locker full of hoses cutting up one’s forearms on the sharp ends of hose clamps. Boat plumbing systems are virtually never designed with ease of maintenance in mind; mostly they are an afterthought, not so much engineered as crammed together in any space that’s available. A very common problem is that working on them requires the use of tools—screwdrivers, channel locks, sockets with ratchets—but there is no room to wield these tools in the normal manner, and just about every operation requires one to become a contortionist. Another common problem is lack of space for both the arm (with which to work on things) and the head (with which to look at what you are doing), meaning that much of the work has to do be done “by Braille.”

Boat plumbing is also a topic that brings out gender differences in stark relief. There is no shortage of men living quite happily aboard boats with minimal plumbing systems. They drink from a water battle, and sanitary arrangements consist of a “relief bottle” (what is done with its contents is rarely discussed). They shower ashore, at the marina or the gym, they eat out a lot, and all they really care about is having a place to sit, a bed to sleep in and a cooler for the beer. They may entertain female visitors on board, but if the accommodations are sufficiently spartan virtually none of the women volunteer to move aboard and see it as a sort of survivalist camping trip—interesting, perhaps, but unappealing for the long term. Sometimes this is by design. There is an abiding superstition among sailors that having women (and priests) on board brings bad luck. But there are also plenty of men, and women, who would like to live aboard as families, children included—provided the accommodations include a good plumbing system that provides hot and cold running water in the galley and the heads.

Very importantly, the plumbing system has to actually work. Since the system is on a boat, one naturally expects it to break on a semi-regular basis (a boat being a hole in the water you throw money into and all that) and when it does break, this tends to seriously disrupt domestic tranquility. This is because fixing the plumbing is, more often than not, considered “men’s work.” It is dangerous to generalize, and there are some exceptionally handy women, but there is also a preponderance of anecdotal evidence that the vast majority of women who live aboard boats limit their participation in dealing with plumbing issues to making announcements and asking questions.

The announcements can be quite emphatic, ranging from “There is no water!” or “There is salt water coming out of the tap!” to “I am going to the gym, because I want to take a normal shower!” and “I can’t stand this any more!” The questions can be quite challenging as well: “Why is the plumbing breaking down all the time?”, “Why can’t it be made to work reliably?” and “Why can’t we live like normal people?” As you may rightly surmise, plumbing emergencies occupy a spot at the top of the list of things that negatively affect domestic tranquility among liveaboard couples.

When an onboard plumbing emergency arises, the male part of the seasteading team takes out the tools, plunges his hands into a cramped locker filled with a tangle of hoses, promptly cuts himself on a hose clamp and starts using foul language. He would much rather work on something—anything—else, but he knows that if he can’t fix the plumbing problem quickly and definitively, his stock will plummet in value. Now, fixing the problem is generally quite possible—plumbing isn’t exactly brain surgery—but there are several adverse factors:

1. Most men aren’t plumbers and don’t quite know what they are doing.
2. Boat plumbing systems are weird and challenging even to natural born plumbers.
3. If you are on a boat, calling a plumber is an even more expensive option than it is on dry land.
4. If you need to replace something, you quickly find that “marine” replacement parts are at least twice as expensive as regular replacement parts simply because the word “marine” appears somewhere on the package.

But with QUIDNON things are going to be different, and in a good way, because the design of its plumbing system explicitly addresses these questions and concerns. All of the controls are laid out in a way that makes sense and makes them easily accessible. Schematic diagrams, diagnostic procedures and work-arounds for most common and even some uncommon problems make it easier to make repairs when something goes wrong.

The first two problems to address are the ones of cost and of the need for expert knowledge of plumbing. The solution is the same for both: use ¾-inch garden hose throughout: green hose for raw water, white hose for potable water, red (industrial) hose for hot water. Most men (in the US and Canada) can handle tasks associated with lawn care; lawn care involves the use of garden hoses; ergo, most men know how to screw together and fix garden hoses. You cut a specific length of hose that you look up on a chart, you slide on the ends of the appropriate gender onto each end, and you tighten them with channel locks. You make sure that the female end has a rubber gasket in it. Then you snake it into place and screw in the ends, by hand.

The garden hose-based solution is by far the cheapest, and the spare parts are very easy to come by: the gardening section of any hardware store is likely to stock all of them, while the plumbing section will provide the faucets and the shower head (no need for specialty “marine” parts). What’s more, people are always throwing away hose as soon as they get a single puncture in them, and so you can pick up all the spare hose you could ever need simply by making a habit of strolling past the marina dumpster. There are a few unusual items: a pressure reducer (the boat works at 15 PSI, not at “house pressure,” which can be anything), two demand pumps that run on 12V, an electric water heater and some additional odds and ends. These need not be “marine” either: any RV (recreational vehicle) supply place is likely to have all of them in stock.

Next is the problem of layout. On QUIDNON, the various valves are not located deep inside some locker but laid out sensibly between the three bottom steps of the companionway ladder, right above the slide-out shoe drawer. On every other boat I’ve looked at the companionway ladder is just a ladder, but QUIDNON is different: every item does several jobs. And so QUIDNON’s companionway ladder is at once a ladder, a shoebox, a plumbing control panel, an electrical control panel for both AC and DC circuits, a locker for boat documents, a locker for flares, handheld VHF radios and other emergency signaling equipment, and a firearms locker big enough to hold a shotgun, a rifle, a Glock and their assorted ammo. (If you don’t like guns, you can use it as a wine rack.) Here’s what the plumbing control panel looks like. Those little green valves are $2.49 each at Target, but I am hopeful that a quantity discount can be obtained.


Next is the problem of having plenty of freshwater on board, for those members of the crew who would never consider just shaving their heads and use shampoo and conditioner, and may even lather, rinse and repeat. The simplest solution is to live at the dock and to hook up a hose to the shore water system at the marina. In the north there is usually a summer water system and a separate winter water system with hoses run underwater and wrapped in electrical heating tape and insulation between the water and the boat. Further south there are no winter water systems and when there is a cold spell the water is simply shut off “until further notice.” Winter water systems sometimes freeze and get shut off “until further notice” anyway, and then everybody has to wash and shower at the marina bathroom, which gets crowded, causing tempers to fray. The solution, of course, is to have plentiful on-board water, which can be periodically replenished by pulling up to a fuel dock to fill the tanks. QUIDNON’s water tanks double as ballast—5 tons of it, or 1300 gallons—so there will be plenty of water on board. But it eventually runs out anyway, in which case you need to do the following:

• Dock some place where there is a water hose available (such as a fuel dock)
• Attach the water hose to the water intake
• Turn off raw water pump
• Open the raw water drain valves (to make room for fresh water)
• Program the DigiFlow 8000T water meter ($36.98 well spent) to count down from 1300 gallons
• Open the shore water intake valve
• Wait until the water meter starts beeping
• Close shore water intake valve
• Close raw water drain valves
• Program the DigiFlow 8000T to count down from 1000 gallons, so that it beeps when it’s time to start thinking about filling the tanks again
• Turn raw water pump back on

This is all simple so far, but now it gets a bit more complicated. Since the water tanks double as ballast, they have to always be kept full. This is accomplished by storing the fresh water inside a bladder that’s floating in salt water pumped in from overboard. When you turn on a tap, the raw water pump starts squirting salt water into the tank, squeezing fresh water out of the bladder and out of the tap. But what happens if QUIDNON is drying out on a sand bank or a beach at low tide (a fun thing to do with a ruggedly built flat-bottom boat) and salt water isn’t available? Now it gets complicated! You need to do several things, ideally before the raw water pump starts sucking air, and they may sound technical and complicated, but they really aren’t.

• Turn off raw water pump
• Close bypass valve
• Open both vent valves
• Turn on fresh water pump

Turning off raw water pump is an obvious thing to do; water pumps don’t pump air, and when you are drying out there is no raw water available. The bypass valve allows fresh water to flow around the fresh water pump when the pressure is supplied by the raw water pump, but since we will be using the fresh water pump, we need to close it. The vent valves need to be open to let air into the tanks as water is pumped out of them to avoid vapor lock. Turning on the fresh water pump is also an obvious thing to do.

Now, suppose you like living on the beach so much that you decide to stay, haul QUIDNON some distance away from the surf into the shadow of some coconut palms, and use it as a beach house. To do this, you walk the anchor to the shore, bury it, and then use the anchor winch to roll QUIDNON onto the shore over some logs. But while you are doing this you don’t want to be hauling five tons of water; you want the boat to be as light as possible. (You’ll deal with stocking up on freshwater later.) How do you do that? Here’s the step-by-step procedure, which starts where the previous procedure left off:

• Shut off fresh water pump
• Open all 4 drain valves
• Wait for water to dribble out

Bored of living on the beach and want to be sailing again? Once QUIDNON is afloat again, it’s time to fill the tanks with salt water:

• Make sure all drain valves are closed and both vent valves are open
• Open bypass valve
• Turn on salt water pump
• After pump stops running, close both vent valves

Bladders don’t last forever and although many years may pass uneventfully, eventually you will hear the words “There is salt water coming out of the tap!” What do you do? First, you isolate the problem. Run the tap, close the port fresh water tank valve and have a taste. Problem fixed? Then it’s the port tank bladder that’s leaking. There is nothing more that you have to do immediately. Is water still salty? Then it’s the starboard tank bladder that’s leaking. Open the port freshwater tank valve, close the starboard freshwater tank valve, and confirm that the water is no longer salty. Inform your partner that the problem is fixed (for now).

Now, to really deal with the problem you have to replace the leaky bladder. First, you have to drain the tank. For the bad tank:

• Open vent valve
• Close raw water tank valve (fresh water tank valve is already closed)
• Open both fresh and salt water drain valves
• Wait

Once the tank is drained, find the access plate. It’s a round piece of plywood bolted onto the back wall of the tank, held in place by six ¼-inch bolts arranged in a circle with a rubber gasket sandwiched in between. The port access plate is in the shower stall in the heads; the starboard one is under a cabinet in the galley. Empty the cabinet and put something underneath the plate to catch any water. There is a hose attached to a threaded nipple that sticks out of the access plate. Unscrew the hose, undo the 6 bolts, remove the plate and pull out the bladder that’s attached to it. Undo the hose clamp securing the bladder to the nipple inside the plate and remove the bladder. Coat the nipple with caulk and slide on the new bladder. Install and tighten the hose clamp, but not all the way. Wait for the caulk to harden, then tighten the clamp the rest of the way. Gently stuff the bladder inside the tank, reinstall the access plate (a bit of vaseline on the gasket should help keep it watertight) and reattach the hose. Open raw water tank valve. Once the tank is full, close vent valve and open fresh water tank valve. This is probably the most complicated and delicate plumbing repair that QUIDNON could call for.

But what happens if the pumps stop working? You are off sailing, or living at anchor, and suddenly one of the batteries develops an internal short circuit, discharging the rest of the batteries. (You probably shouldn’t have kept the battery bank selector set to “both,” but it’s too late now.) “There is no water!”—nor is there anything else that requires electricity! You need to isolate the faulty battery, disconnect it from the bank, then start the motor using the emergency pull chord and run it until the remaining good batteries are charged. But that’s thirsty work, and how will you keep yourself from becoming dehydrated in the meantime? Easy: open the tank vents and use the foot pump in the galley. Filtered fresh water will come gushing out of the spigot. You still need to fix the electrical system before you drink up all of your ballast, but it’s not too huge of a hurry—unless somebody really needs to take a shower right there and then. Be sure to close the tank vents once the raw water pump starts running again and the tanks are full once again.

Finally, there is the worst-case scenario: you are sailing along and hit something hard and pointy—a floating shipping container or a coral head—and put a hole in QUIDNON’s bow. This is hard to do, because the bow is clad in tough copper sheets, a thick layer of fiberglass and an inch of plywood, but there is simply no arguing with sharp rocks. Water starts gushing in faster than the bilge pump can pump it out. Under these circumstances, most sailboats quickly disappear under the waves, leaving the crew treading water. But what about QUIDNON?

Well, here’s the procedure. Unless the problem is relatively trivial—something that can be fixed with an oil-soaked rag, a hammer and a screwdriver—do not immediately deal with the leak because there are more important things to do. First, stop the boat. Raise the motor to the top of its well. Anchor if the depth allows, otherwise just drift. Close the watertight doors to the aft cabins (first making sure there’s nobody inside them); they will be used as emergency flotation. There are also large slabs of foam lining the walls of the engine well; as is usual, they have two jobs: 1. insulate against engine noise, so that the aft cabins are nice and quiet; and 2. provide emergency flotation when the boat is swamped.


Now you need to “blow the tanks,” just as you would on a submarine. Find the emergency SCUBA tank (it’s in one of the aft cabinets in the galley, strapped to the bulkhead) and open the valve on it. Make sure the regulator is set to somewhere between 15 and 25 PSI. Now do the following:

• Close all tank valves
• Open all drain valves
• Make sure vent valves are closed
• Open air valves
• Wait
• When you hear loud bubbling sounds coming from the engine well, close all drain valves and air valves. Close valve on SCUBA tank. Water tanks now provide 5 tons of additional flotation.

QUIDNON will now remain afloat while you effect repairs. When swamped, QUIDNON will sit low in the water, but it will not sink. The stuff that you don’t want to get wet should be stored in the aft cabins or on top of the water tanks.


The next step is to break out the emergency hull repair kit. It contains some canvas, a few pieces of plywood and MarineTex epoxy. Mix the epoxy, and use it to coat a piece of plywood large enough to cover the hole in the hull. Note that the plywood has kerfs (little slots) cut into one side, to make it bendy. When you put the plywood over the hole, the kerfs should face out, not in. Also coat a piece of canvas cut big enough to cover the entire area of the repair. Now go up on deck, dive overboard and apply first the plywood, then the canvas over it. Once the leak is stopped, start the motor (it may need to be partway up on its slide to keep the air intake above water) so that there is electricity for the bilge pump and wait for the water inside the cabin to be pumped out. Now fill the water tanks with seawater (to get your ballast back). Sail to some place where you can pick up some fresh water, then think about hauling out for more permanent repairs. The emergency repair needs to be ground off, the ragged hole cut out and replaced with fresh fiberglass and plywood, and the copper sheathing either hammered flat and reattached or replaced.


One last QUIDNON plumbing-related thing worth mentioning: there are three signal lights to tell you which of the three pumps is running, and three alarms, all wired up to a single bell, each with a silencer switch:

• Signal lights for raw water pump, fresh water pump and bilge pump
• Bilge high water alarm (means you have water coming in faster than the bilge pump can deal with it, or the bilge pump isn’t working)
• Starboard tank low water alarm
• Port tank low water alarm

The low water alarms are important because the tanks provide ballast, which is necessary for stability when sailing. Thus, when they aren’t full, this is something that the crew needs to know about. Of course, when the boat is drying out and the raw water pump isn’t running, the low water alarms are a bit of an annoyance, but they are there to remind you that you need to fill the tanks before you go sailing again. The silencer switches are important because in practice every alarm has a silencer, but if it isn’t a switch then it’s a mad person wielding a hammer or wire cutters, and that isn’t good for safety. Other signal lights are useful too. The bilge pump light tells you that water is getting into the boat from somewhere. If the raw water pump is running for no reason you could have a leak, a tap left open, a clogged strainer or you could be drying out at low tide. If the freshwater pump is running, you could have a leak, or out of freshwater, or maybe you left the bypass valve open by mistake, causing it to pump water in a circle.

To summarize, QUIDNON’s plumbing system will provide lots of tankage (you are unlikely to find another 36-foot boat with 1300-gallon tanks), all the usual amenities, plus a powerful safety feature that makes QUIDNON self-rescuing when holed and swamped. It achieves all of this functionality at minimal cost, thanks to the use of garden hose and fittings and RV instead of marine components. It is laid out in a way that makes it easy to work on. It is documented with schematics and troubleshooting procedures. And it will, I sincerely hope, prove to be conducive to preserving domestic tranquility.

70 comments:

  1. If you've got hex-shaped fasteners on your hoses, there are nifty stubby "crescent" wrenches that are really nice. Easy to maneuver in tight spaces, and keep you from "tunking" things down too tight.

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    1. The nice thing about 3/4 hose fittings is that they can be hand-tightened. This is very useful in tight spaces.

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    2. I've had times a little extra tightening with a stubby "crescent" wrench is helpful though - although, you're probably dealing with lower pressures on a boat system, so yeah, hand-tightening for the win. And I love the idea of using hose hardware, it's available everywhere. Ditto on the idea of using RV stuff. Still expensive but not nearly as much so.

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  2. Thanks for the very informative piece Dmitry.

    I'm in the process of designing a cabin in a rural part of Missouri, as sustainably as I can make it for my retirement in a decade, that I hope to begin building in 2-3 years. Plumbing, water and sewage at in my mind the first priority to get well laid out.

    From there I plan on building the house around that, rather than the other way around. Shortness of runs, as well as good access for repairs are key. Too many homes seem to have the plumbing as a last thought. In the place I'm renting now, the hot water heater is at one end of the building and the shower/bathroom at the other, connected by 40 feet of bare copper pipe.

    I look forward to reading more as you continue designing the Quidnon.

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  3. I've got some experience living at sea, but the ships I'm used to are made of HY80 steel and are powered by nuclear reactors! I've never considered moving aboard a boat for my primary residence but the ingenious design of the Quidnon has me really thinking about it.

    Regarding the water hoses, I'm not particularly great at lawn care, but I've always had a problem with them leaving at the coupling with the faucet over time. Granted I've never tried plumbers tape. Have you considered the potential issues with the quality of the coupling?

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    1. It's all about the little rubber gasket inside the female connector. They sell them separately. Most leaks result from missing/old gaskets. They are trivial to replace. If a connection is not disturbed they last a few years under house pressure, longer at 15PSI.

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  4. What an interesting piece! It always makes my day when there is a new Quidnon post.

    1) You mention filtration in the paragraph about loss of battery power. I assume rainwater would be filtered prior to going into the tanks, perhaps shore water as well if you are filling up in countries with poor tap water quality. Can you describe the filtration system a bit more?

    2) I was a little confused by the emergency SCUBA tank. You are saying this pressurized the bladders/tanks to drain and inflates them?

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    1. There is a variety of in-line water filters available, and people often use them when filling tanks.

      The SCUBA tank provides compressed air to blow all water out of the water tanks and turn them into emergency flotation.

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    2. I would like to point out that your 1500 gallons (10,400 lb.,assuming all fresh water) occupies approximately162 cubic feet of volume. The most common SCUBA tank is the Aluminum (nominal) 80 cubic foot tank, holding that much air @ standard temperature and pressure, if filled to around 3,000 psi.

      You need TWO of these tanks, at the very LEAST to blow your water tanks down, actually you will need somewhat more, especially as the boat's tanks and the blow down port exit to the outer world may be rather deeper during your emergency than when under proper floatation.

      As two is one, and one is NONE in survival conditions- Please obtain at least 4 good quality, recently hydro tested 80 cubic foot tanks for the safety equipment uses you plan.

      You may enjoy using the 4 (or better, more!) tanks in rotation for actually going SCUBA diving, ensuring that you will look at all of this equipment semi regularly, rather than finding it went flat months ago when you have been holed by an errant narwhal or Captain Nemo...

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    3. Yes, looks like SCUBA tanks are too small.

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    4. What about a standard industrial CO2 tank? I don't know what volume it would actually expand into, but at 3K psi CO2 is liquid much like propane. The advantage is that it's not explosive like propane, but the risk is that it also displaces oxygen, so if it vents quickly into the hold while you sleep, you suffocate. Perhaps a diving hookah compressor with a regularly tested engine & dedicated fuel supply would be a better choice.

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    5. We're working out a solution. Looks like 12V air pumps would work best.

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    6. If there is going to be a 12 volt air pump, then do we still need the freshwater pump? Couldn't the 12 volt air pump also provide the same functionality during a beached dry out as the freshwater pump anyway? As in, push the freshwater through the plumbing by squeezing the bladder in a manner similar to how the raw water pump would do it? Of course, that could take quite some time & a lot of battery power, in it's function as an emergency recovery mode.

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    7. And into the multiple functions column, a type of 12 volt, oil free, diaphragm compressor could also serve to supply air to a shallow dive 'hookah' type snorkel. Useful for leisurely inspections of the bottom plating, as well as leisurely exploration of the ocean bottom to about 30 feet. Since all hookahs require a 'reserve' air tank, to take out the air pressure pulses if nothing else; that reserve tank can also serve as emergency positive flotation in it's own right, as well as permit the captain to turn off the compressor overnight & still have enough pressure available in in the quiet of the night to drive the plumbing for quite some time. Since there is reserve buoyancy in the aft cabins as well as the more centralized water tanks, is there a convenient place forward of the hold for a reserve air pressure tank? If not, perhaps just some larger diameter pipe mounted vertically in the corners of the engine well would serve.

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    8. Get a diesel powered air compressor and just keep it permanently on board, they are pretty useful anyway things anyway for powering air powered tools, and you can have it all hooked up ready to blow air into the tanks right away with a pull of the starter.

      Just make sure store have it above the level of the water you would expect in such an emergency.

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    9. That would introduce another fuel to the provisions to be tracked. And considering the remote odds of requiring the compressor in an emergency situation, a diesel would be really expensive. If you are going to get an engine driven compressor and keep it on board, then we are back to the hookah compressor, since that has a use beyond sitting there for emergencies. Most hookah compressors are still gasoline powered.

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    10. It looks like a single 12V air pump injecting a large volume of air at around 20PSI, float valves on raw water drains that let water through but block air and 2-inch drain hoses will do a trick. Will empty both tanks in 10 minutes or so. Not quite a solved problem yet, but pretty close. The battery compartment will be sealed, with a snorkel-type breather to let the hydrogen out in case of overcharging, and so there will still be plenty of current at 12V even if the rest of the bilge goes underwater.

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  5. I was glad to hear about the gun locker. The description of skeet shooting in Occupy the Million Dollar View is one of my favorite Orlovisms. What are the approximate dimensions of the locker?

    I was wondering if it might work to install a gun safe to secure these and other valuables. That would probably be too heavy and take up too much space I assume.

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    1. I haven't looked up the dimensions yet. How much room will it need to hold a 12-gauge shotgun and an SKS? The firearms locker doesn't have to be an actual steel safe. It just has to be lockable in a way that allows port authorities to place an official seal on them (US firearms permits and licenses don't work in foreign waters).

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    2. A typical long gun will fit into a space that is 40 inches long, by 8 inches by 4 inches. Two long guns might fit side by side in a space 40x8x6. However, the SKS would have to be unloaded, whereas the shotgun likely would not.

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    3. Eh, the SKS typically has a FIXED box magazine in my experience, so no space saving is to be had by storage unloaded. Lovely reliable things, but crap site radius, and they don't come made out of stainless steel.

      Naval engagements on open water (rocking boat!) and repelling borders make a stainless steel and synthetic pump shotgun such as both Remington and Winchester make for marine use, with an 8 round or so magazine full of #4 or larger buckshot more practical anyhow. Maybe a few slugs for knocking NY armored predators over the rails, where the weight of their armor may send them to join Yermak Timofeyevich!

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    4. Rambo, I don't think you have a realistic idea. The use of a firearm on board is to 1. show it, so that would-be attackers know that you are armed and go away; 2. if step 1 doesn't work, throw a bottle overboard and blast away a it, to convince the would-be attackers that you have a weapon and can shoot; 3. negotiate, and offer them something, because otherwise they will blast away at the boat, not you, and you will drown.

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    5. The fixed magazine on the SKS is a California thing. Mine is removable, but I'd rather have a shotgun anyway.

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    6. A few tins of carpet tacks have been found to be handy to sprinkle on deck when you are snug below at anchor. Slows any barefoot invaders advance somewhat. Maybe a couple of PIR sensors as well, to give you a few moment's notice of visitors arriving in the night.

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    7. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  6. The weak link in an otherwise well thought out plan, is that lot's of spares will need to be carried - or at least bought over the life of the boat. Most of those things come from you-know-where and the philosophy is to keep you sending them to the land fill and buying more.

    But it is a good subject to bring up for discussion: How much perceived luxury should you have on a boat (especially while anticipating stressful times with all that entails)? Should we have the same expectations as one would have in a typical house, or is it possible by virtue of the lower paced lifestyle on board to get just as clean and ultimately be just as happy with somewhat more effort and with simpler methods?

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    1. That's a good point. My feeling is that people need a way of easing into less than optimally comfortable lifestyles. They agree to do it if the need to do so is sufficiently clear and pressing. But to start with, families moving aboard QUIDNONs would want all the usual amenities, at minimal expense. Yes, the plumbing will need to be maintained, and so the most common and cheapest parts would work best, because they can be stockpiled (a box of 10 spare valves will set you back less than $30) and can be found all over the place. Even in a Mad Max scenario a 12V 15PSI demand pump will be available somewhere, even if it has to be cannibalized from an abandoned RV parked in an evacuated, permanently flooded suburban subdivision.

      Eventually people will give up on many things. They will drink and cook from jerricans of rainwater, shower by dumping buckets of seawater over each other, etc. They will give up on the outboard engine (no gasoline) and fashion yulohs to propel the boat when there is no wind. They will give up on GPS and navigate by the compass, the stars, and by taking bearings to points of land and plotting them on a paper chart. But to start with, we want standard amenities at minimal expense and with minimal bother.

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  7. It IS possible to run body-washing, washing-up, and loo facilities on board much more simply than this, of course. But I live aboard alone, am male, and handy.

    Also, I've done a lot of collapsing early and often already, so much of those can't-do-without things that house dwellers imagine to be essential are simply distant memories THAT I DON'T MISS!

    I was just recently assuring a new owner that - even in British Summers - it's quite easy to live aboard without a fridge! Yes, really! And live well too.

    But again I have to admit: no woman lives on this boat. They wouldn't like my one-gallon pee bottle, I don't suppose (deodorised with a small squirt of bleach after each emptying) that keeps the bulk of the pee out of the sit-on solids bucket (deodorised with a scoop of forest-floor soil from a second bucket, after each use). They both go to fertilise my shoreward garden; the sit-on bucket contents only after being further composted for a year or so in my compost bins; or alternatively being slung directly onto my hugel-kultur mounds (growing fruit and nut trees) and then covered over with cut comfrey foliage. The pee feeds the comfrey plants.

    I carry water aboard in two five-gallon bottles, from which I decant it as needed. I also have a shoreside washing machine in a shed, plumbed directly into the mains supply.

    That concludes this sketch of my entire drinking-water, washing and loo set-up.

    All comfortable and satisfactory, even at this nearly-nineteenth-century level; though, as you can see, a long-term base mooring - during socially-calm times, when prompt flight isn't necessary - has considerable advantages: mains water and power on tap, for example.

    All the same, I could still cope without the washing machine or the mains hook-ups, if I needed to. The attitude adjustment is already done - and matured: with a floating version of the tiny house movement :) .

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    1. Yes, that's the whole point. Men will put up with pretty simple arrangements. Lots of men can get a good night's sleep stretched out on some cardboard next to the water heater for warmth. Women—not so much. Living aboard with a (happy) woman requires an entirely different plan, such as the one I propose.

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    2. There really should be an easily remembered acronym for the "If Momma ain't happy, ain't NOBODY happy." truism... KMH (Keep Momma Happy)? Or?

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    3. The captain makes all the decisions, while "the admiral" (the wife, that is) just decides whether the captain gets to make any decisions.

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  8. I take it that 'raw' in the diagram is synonymous with salt. Ingenious design. Though the directions in the text seem sort of complicated. A waterproofed user manual with arrows pointing at the valves to operate for a given task would be useful for a novice.

    A question:
    The larger and more comfortable land yachts all have 'blackwater' tanks. In other words, sewage. Some of the fancier ones have separate 'graywater' tanks as well..

    Will the Quidnon have such provisions for sewage? How big does a boat have to be before it abandons the simple "out of sight, out of mind" method for this aspect of plumbing? I'm a complete landlubber, but I do know of at least one harbor where there is a problem with little homemade houseboats, and, you know, pollution. It's sort of off-putting to the rich folks with summer cottages on the beaches around the harbor, you know, as there are limits to how much of it can be handled by the marine ecosystem.

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    1. "Raw" is synonymous with "salt" if the boat is in salt water, not if it is in brackish or fresh water. "Raw" is the correct term.

      Gray water (from washing) goes straight overboard. There are a number of different methods for dealing with liquid and solid body wastes. Regulations vary from place to place. The two common solutions are holding tanks, which are pumped out by marina "honeyboats" or dockside pump-out facilities, and composting toilets.

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  9. One suggestion regarding water supply: Instead of garden hose, why not use PEX pipe? It is not expensive and is very reliable and long lasting (the house I'm in is plumbed with it and is over 20 years old). You could still have fittings that adapt to the cheaper valves and such - think of them as the replaceable stuff, while the PEX piping could be thought of a a more permanent part of Quidnon.

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    1. Of course, people can use whatever they want—hose, copper pipe, PEX, stainless steel tubing TIG-welded together as you would on a nuclear submarine... the sky is the limit. But you won't find a solution that's cheaper and easier to service than what I've proposed.

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  10. Damn brilliant to get these critical systems all figured out instead of cramming wires and pipes in after the fact! Especially like the water ballast tanks doubling as emergency floatation! I'm not sure how reliable the manufacturing is on garden hoses, I seem to get good ones and bad ones... I would look at PEX tubing and Sharkbite fittings. That combo is the best thing to happen to plumbing since gravity. Looking forward to further details of this vessel!

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  11. Would love to hear your thoughts on boat security; keeping thieves off the boat primarily, but also thoughts on avoiding and repelling opportunistic pirates. I was thinking of my electric horse fencing and wondering if there would be some way to rig a cheap DC fence charger to the lifelines or ??? Maybe just rig the boarding ladder with one hot handrail and one ground... Thanks!

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    1. Boats are safer than houses. Marinas are gated communities where neighbors know and look after each other. Thieves rarely venture aboard boats. Water cops are much more reasonable than land cops (even in sketchy places like East River in NYC). In general, the danger of drowning forces everyone on the water to cooperate, and people are generally on their best behavior. The legal requirement to come to the aid of people in trouble on the water also makes for a more congenial atmosphere. In very basic terms, a boat is like a castle with a moat around it; anchoring out is equivalent to raising a drawbridge. On the water there is nowhere to hide—everybody hears sees everything—providing another automatic layer of security. Pirates take over ships and luxury yachts to extract ransom, so they are irrelevant to this discussion.

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    2. The theft scenario that I could think of is for post-MeltPulse thieves trying to steal the whole boat while you are ashore. One way to make this harder is a well hidden key switch that disconnects the power system, so that the electric start and the winch won't work. Perhaps a 12 volt solenoid valve on the gas line near the engine, so if it was pull started it would run out of gas in not very far; but that might just add complexity and aggravate the owner later on. One could also chain & padlock the tiller to one side. Although all of these things just make the thieves work harder, if they know how to sail.

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    3. The traditional way of making sure the boat remains where you left it is called "anchor watch": somebody to sit on it while you are gone. The "away team" can't include the entire crew.

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  12. My husband and I would like to live on a boat. We have been trying to read as much as possible about it now, before we ever do. I am not handy at all. My husband is. I'm good at finding information though. I can't wait to send him this blog post. Thanks for the thoughtful and informative piece!

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  13. Excellent post, but it raises a question in my mind. Is the water tank access panel large enough for someone to crawl into if necessary? And since we are using raw water as the ballast exposed to the inner side of the tank wall, what keeps attaching marine life from growing inside the tank? I'm sure that the darkness would keep plants from attaching, but would the incoming filters keep other types, such as barnacles, from surviving? Or should there be a regular 'kill cycle' to protect the freshwater bladder from abrasive marine growth? I'm ignorant of saltwater specific problems.

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    1. There will be a large manhole cover at the top of each tank, secured with lots of bolts, and so a pain to remove, but it will allow somebody to climb into the tank if it needs repairs from the inside, or for mucking it out. As far as marine growth, it would get strained out on the way in, and if it does get in it would starve. There is no light, so the water will not go green "lively"—just stale. There would probably be some slime (slime will grow even in ultra-pure water and very slowly eat away at PVC, vinyl insulation, neoprene and other inedibles, it's quite amazing) but it shouldn't gum up the works too badly. The tanks would benefit from a periodic dose of chlorine bleach, to be sure, to avoid that "boat water" taste.

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    2. Perhaps tossing a small silver coin into each of the tanks (raw section) would help with that. Silver is ogliodynamic like copper, but the ions are water soluble, so it's pretty good at killing most things. Of course, it's expensive by nature, and would have to periodically be replaced as it corroded away, but it would help a bladder to live a couple years longer, it's something to consider.

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    3. Yes, a handful of junk silver in each tank would be a very good idea. Currently, silver half-dolars are about $5 apiece.

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    4. Interested in this solution. Would it be appropriate to throw a couple half dollars in the bladder as well. I'm currently using a bladder in my keelboat and have a nagging concern about the funkiness that may be lurking there even though I do filter at the output. Might reduce the slime and reduce the possibility of pathogens accumulating in the tank.

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    5. That would have to be a personal decision. There is some evidence that prior to the widespread clorination of municipal water, some people would put a silver dollar into a cistern. However, overexposure to silver is also toxic to humans, and causes a condition known as argyrosis. Mostly it turns your skin blue, but it can also damage organs. If my choice was drink water with trace amounts of silver or drink water of an unknown safety, I'd choose the silver water. It does take quite a lot of silver exposure to harm humans though. Yet the fact that people still drink it deliberately doesn't make it wise.

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  14. I am too settled in my gardens to want to live on board, but love the idea of free people out there doing it. I did not read much of this post and just glanced through the comments. Just wanted to let Rhisiart know how much I love his loo set up. It reminded me of our log cabin/ outhouse years. For night time we had a bucket with a lid on it in a corner, known as the stink tank. Baking soda works reasonably well as dedorizer. It was emptied into the outhouse. For whatever it is worth, I am not handy, would love to be. However, I was always more devoted to the "collapse early and beat the rush" life style than my handy husband. I am also able to get clean with a surprisingly small amount of water. This boat thing might have appealed to the spouse. Too late now, unless we hop on to different strand of the wibbly wobbly timey whimey continuum. Anyway, keep up the good work in these interesting times!

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    1. Cover your waste with biodegradable materials, dry leaves where we are in Maine, after every use and it really doesn't smell bad. You can dump full pails into a compost bin and cover with the same materials and compost the waste without much trouble. We use this system in Maine. It's bit more complex than that, of course, and we need a greenhouse to keep the compost temperature high enough in the winter but it's a lot simpler than standard plumbing.

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  15. When I was a kid we lived for a while on the Sea Raven, a ferrocement boat (50 or so feet long, maybe a bit longer; it's measured at the waterline btw) and we were grubby and happy. It was the happiest single period of my childhood, stinkin' and smilin' all the way.

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  16. Dmitry,

    Love the progress on the Quidnon. Just a thought, I know its much more expensive than the plastic value option you are considering from Target. But have you thought of using a brass valve instead. Much more expensive at Home Depot or Lowe's, but you might get a contractor's rate for them. You could also try plumbing stores for a discount or Walmart. I have had those plastic ones break on me with and without sun exposure, so I try to go for the more durable brass option. Saves me some four letter expletives.

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  17. While I agree that garden hoses are beautifully simple and idiot-proof to a certain degree, I'd caution against using the cheapest parts in a system which is going to be worth a lot (in this case, your own and your spouse's happiness depends on it as you point out).

    It's the Swagelok rule, I'll dump it out here to entertain anyone else reading. Swagelok makes these obscenely expensive compression fittings for metal tubing, used in industrial equipment. (I'm not suggesting you use them on a boat, just the principle -- it applies to garden style parts too). Anyway, there are are lots of less expensive substitutes to swagelok. But it turns out, the more connectons/fittings your system has in it, the *more* important it is to use the best (and often one of the more expensive) possible type of part.

    Reason is the cost of a failed part isn't the cost of the replacement part, it's much more, something between O(m*log(n)) and O(m*n) , where m is cost of entire system (due to downtime) and n is number of parts in the system (how much time it will take to isolate the failure and remedy it).

    Whether it's n or log(n) depends on how "sphagettified" the system is -- the degree to which one can use divide-and-conquer techniques (log(n)) vs linear search to diagnose the problem and how much other stuff has to come apart to execute the repair (common situation when working on cars for example).

    The cash cost of the parts barely registers in this calculation.

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    1. I work in the field of mechanical & electrical systems maintenance, and I agree with your principle. However, Quidnon's plumbing system is vastly less complicated than a typical single family home. The diagram fits on a single sheet of paper, for example. I'd be likely to upgrade to pex using sharkbite-style connectors, as suggested by others; but maintaining this would be trivial for myself. Dmitri's plan to use garden hose has merit, because the most important factor is familiarity. There is likely no one who will read this that has never connected a garden hose to a faucet bib, but the odds that the reader has even laid eyes on a sharkbite plumbing connector is rather low.

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    2. Garden hose seems good enough to me too, I was just saying within that, resist the temptation to economize on parts/materials.

      I haven't seen sharkbite either. Looks cool, similar to pneumatic push-to-connect's? Are they easy to remove?

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  18. No, they are not designed to be easy to remove. They were designed to be easy to install. They could still be used here, by using sharkbite adapters to transition to & from standard hose connectors.

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    1. People can also TIG-weld all of their plumbing out of stainless. Nor is a solid gold toilet out of the question. My task is to design something that will work, following the dictum "Better is the enemy of good enough." So far, nobody has been able to show either that 1. garden hose won't work or that 2. there is an equally simple but cheaper option. Sure, the plumbers among you may opt for PEX, and there is nothing to stop you. You may even manage to convince other plumbers among you to follow in your footsteps. That's fine, but it's not essential to the plan for building a QUIDNON and moving aboard quickly and cheaply without having to learn how to be a plumber.

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  19. There's so much great engineering in Quidnon that it might almost be boring, what with everything being so easy to fix it probably won't even bother to break. The cockpit rope system is particularly genius.

    Some thoughts: foamed glass block might be good for thermal insulation that has to take a compressive load.
    A blower to augment natural ventilation would probably be nice sometimes. Also an exhaust hood in the galley and exhaust fan in the head.

    There are ways to make electrical systems more reliable and more repairable, similar to the plumbing. For instance star wiring, with a separate run to everything is more reliable. The whole system must have exactly one ground point no more than a few inches across to avoid ground loops, and ideally it should be able to take all the current your batteries can deliver when shorted without turning into smoke. You can carry spares for the bits most likely to go out in the inverter - the big transistors and capacitors, but electronics repair requires some training, practice and tools. A spare inverter is a good thing to have if you can afford one. A few more batteries will likely home in very handy at some point. LED lighting everywhere makes sense. A headlamp for backup to the backup is much better than a flashlight.

    A white deck will be much cooler than bare aluminum, and/or you can rig a support across the bow to be able to have almost the whole deck under awnings. If it were strong enough and the awning stretched tightly, you could effectively have another deck. (Or trampoline! No, too much fun.)

    A ceiling-mounted LED/DLP projector in the cabin and a pull-down screen would be nice for movies/games.

    Means of securing things in the lockers, particularly the galley so that the mess and breakage isn't too bad after a really bad squall or other extreme heeling event. Inflatible bladders? neoprene straps? Custom-cut holders? I don't know.

    Make interior material choices to limit water damage in the event of flooding. Also folding, rolling and stowable furniture, etc. ideas from those clever Hong Kong apartments and layout ideas from tiny houses. There as much possibility for good design in the interior as all the rest of the boat combined. But also more possibility for work, expense and maintenance. If it gives an impression of light and spaciousness, it will have good psychological effects. If it seems dark and cramped (or "cozy" as some people call it) and tends to get cluttered, then it will sap your energy over time. I lived in a 35-ft Avion travel trailer lined with cozy dark woodwork for a few years once and it wasn't good. (Why is it called "brightwork" on boats? It's dark and requires a stupid amount of maintenance.) You have to be able to move in two dimensions and have some open floor space or it will get to you eventually. A smooth, arched or corner-filleted white ceiling with indirect lighting can help quite a bit.

    A really big built-in freezer, maybe even walk-in size, will likely be more use prior to the apocalypse than the biochar/plastic/burner/ digestion vat, and maybe after as well. The others are more-or-less experimental equipment, I'd try one at a time.

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    1. Most of this is just personal choices that you would be free to do on your own boat, regardless. But I'm curious, how would you expect to keep a walk-in freezer powered on a sailboat; either before or after the apocalypse?

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    2. Thick insulation, ~ R40, a flat airlock sort of arrangement using an insulated curtain to limit air mixing when loading or retrieving food, total cooling ~100W - 150W, using sea rather than air as heat sink should be more efficient. Absorption-type refrigeration is also a possibility, use concentrated solar, propane or gasoline to regenerate desiccants. Desiccants can be stored. Other heat-powered refrigeration could also work. An extra 600W (nominal) of solar panels and an extra 3kWh of batteries should be enough for a big electric freezer. Since power is only an issue when not docked, a trailing small water turbine could allow using the sails to make electric power. Also, if you keep blocks of ice (perhaps saltwater ice for the lower melting point) when the space isn't used for other things, the thermal mass is very high and it will take up to weeks to completely thaw if it's kept shut.

      A big freezer is very useful not only for storing food for long voyages but for storing fish caught along the way, as well as long-term storage of drugs and other medical supplies.

      Actually, air/nitrogen liquifiers aren't that hard and having cryogenic storage for seeds/ semen/ova is an important capability. One little dairy farm where I worked in the cloud forest of Costa Rica had cryogenic storage back in the '80s, a ~60l Dewar that had to be refilled only once every two months or so. No real phone, though, (there was a village intercom with dot-dash ring codes) and about several hours by "road" to the nearest hospital. Still cheaper and better than a bull for a herd of fewer than 50 cows.

      Other experimental methods of power generation:
      *kite generators or hybrid aerostats,
      * ducted wind turbine similar to MPraamsma's ideas on boatdesign.net several years ago, but with seawater-wetted wick material covering the blades, and heat conducted into the blades through a fluid bearing, extracting the heat from the inlet air to evaporate water and augmenting power while also acting as a high-capacity heat sink for refrigeration.

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    3. People can obviously do whatever they want, but what QUIDNON's design will include is provision for a small 3-way top-loading fridge in the galley that will run on AC (shore power), DC (solar/wind) and propane (when it's overcast and windless). That is a reasonable combination for a houseboat and for a sailboat and only costs a few hundred dollars. This is a contact plate fridge, which is not too efficient but has no moving parts and so lasts a very long time.

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  20. I hope engineering students take up this approach like web designers took up "mobile-first"... Houseboat-first.

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  21. Savantissimo, that all sounds nice, but there are a lot of assumptions that you are glossing over with your claims. First off, R40 would not be good enough to get a walk-in down to freezing and keep it there with 150 watts continuous; and to get there might require some exotic insulation, such as aerogel. Then there is the problem of the continuous part. As you noted, you could use phase change materials to store cold during periods of low power availability, and seawater makes a fine one for temps right about 0 to 3 degrees, however that also increases your power requirements during the rest of the time, and reduces your available freezer space.

    Nor does such a power estimate consider the additional power needed to get new mass *down* to freezing to start with. Solar tracking, although not impossible on a ship, is still a serious engineering hurdle; so your real choices are non-tracking photovoltics and a drag prop. A lot of both, actually. As in the entire sail being a photovoltic surface. The photovoltics also require actual sunshine, which any off-grider will tell you is not something you can actually depend upon for critical power; and the drag prop requires that you keep moving fast *enough*, regardless of what the wind might want to do with you. In the end, you would still need a backup power source, which likely means propane or kerosene for an absorption type freezer, or gasoline for a spark ignition engine driven compressor. Which is something you can still do under the current oil driven economy, but there is currently no *demand* for frozen foods to be transported by a shallow draft, 20 ton cargo ship; and I imagine that I can think of a dozen uses for fuel besides keeping sugar snap peas frozen on an Atlantic crossing, following anything like the kind of economic or social breakdown that Dmitri Orlov or James Howard Kunstler have been calling for. I think that several of the largest commercial deep freezer currently available might serve your goal better than a custom answer, and also give you the ability to reduce your absolute power needs simply by unplugging one or two when you don't need all the freezer space at the same time. Actually, I think I might put a pair of deep freezers inside my own Quidnon, near the bow down below, with two controllers that allow me to set them to any temp I desire, so that I can hard freeze newly acquired provisions so long as shore power is available, and then switch to a standard set of refrigerator & freezer temps as I disembark. That would be a useful ability, whether a hard crash comes in my lifetime or not.

    Also, consider one of these...

    http://solar-trap.com/

    It would also work fine with a drag prop as one of it's charging inputs. I have a prototype myself, as an unfinished project.

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    1. This is all well off-topic. As I said, QUIDNON will come equipped with a small 3-way fridge in the galley. Everything else is a customization, and this blog is about design, not customizations. So, let's skip the rest of this discussion.

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    2. Thanks for the link. My thought on insulation was to use structural insulated panels (sandwich panels), which should also be used for structural purposes if possible, so affect the design. The types using good OSB are more water-resistant than plywood due to each chip being encapsulated in polymer, and are extremely stiff and strong. Types with sheet metal facing also work well and are even more water-resistant.

      Anyway, it is off-topic to talk about customization and pointless to suggest any significant design changes, which makes the realm of permitted commentary too small to be worth bothering.

      Great design, I look forward to seeing it built.

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  22. I recently added a small outboard motor well to a 17' Grand Banks dory for a 2hp air-cooled Honda motor. There are several unexpected results that I thought might be interesting to consider with regard to Quidnon:

    1) The boat goes much faster than I expected, at least triple my maximum (unsustainable) rowing speed. This makes me think your planned motor size is plenty powerful.

    2) Running downwind the exhaust fumes are pretty unpleasant, despite the exhaust being vented below the waterline. Not sure if this would be an issue with a watercooled motor but I suspect it might. Perhaps good sized vents to the stern in between the propane box and the fuel tank?

    3) The motor produces a lot of heat. With a watercooled motor this might not be as big of an issue for you but I suspect that with the entire powerhead in the well that it will get pretty hot. This might be something to think about.

    4) When rowing with the motor removed the water level in the well rises and falls dramatically in sync with the rowing. To the point of splashing out of the well, which admittedly is only about 15 inches high. I have designed a plug that can be installed by reaching down the well so that I won't have this extra drag while rowing. I am certain that you will have a similar problem while under sail. For Quidnon it would probably be a good idea to think about some kind of plug that is permanently attached and is operable from deck.

    I am really enjoying re-reading your reports on the design of Quidnon! I'm looking forward to the model testing! Please keep us updated!

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    1. I've never even heard of air-cooled outboards. The one we plan to use is water-cooled, with a through-prop exhaust when in gear. When in neutral, there will be an exhaust hose epoxied to the above-water exhaust pipe that will also go into the water. In all my experience with water-cooled outboards, they seem to get hotter from sitting in the sun than from being run at full throttle.

      The geometry of the engine well is very tricky. On a previous boat, I had a well that made charming "shlorp-shlorp" noises, sent spray flying all over the cockpit when getting pooped, but didn't slow down the boat. We will have to see how it works out with QUIDNON by doing towing tests on the model.

      We are finally cutting plywood for the 1:12 model, so stay tuned! More to come soon.

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    2. On reflection, inboard engines are in a box and don't overheat, so that is probably not an issue! There is a hatch cover over the engine well, right? If there is enough air for the engine to run with the hatch closed that should help the 'fumes' issue and keep it a little quieter too.

      Do you have a plan for davits? I could easily see a set on either side of the Quidnon for easily hoisting and lowering of dinghies, freight, etc. I also wonder if you have a plan for a boarding/swim platform? Removable while underway maybe? At my age the most dangerous part of boating is getting in and out of them, especially one to another...Quidnon would make a very nice, affordable retirement home but getting aboard while anchored out looks like it could be a bit of a challenge for older sailors.

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    3. You know, it's pretty cool how I think about some aspect of the design, and then somebody emails me or submits a comment on that very topic! I never cease to wonder! I was just thinking about boarding ladders yesterday. I was walking around and looking at various boats and how they handle it, and here's what seems to work best: a transom ladder. More of a staircase, really. Can be mounted in one of two ways: for port-side docking and for starboard-side docking. Position is irrelevant for stern-to docking. There should also be a gigantic flip-up swim platform, big enough for 2-3 lawn chairs. There are already rudder shaft brackets; these can do double-duty and also provide pivots and latches for the swim platform. With that, when QUIDNON is hauled out on shore and used as a temporary beach house, getting on board will be pleasant and easy, plus there will be a porch to sit on.

      For dinghy davits, the plan is to provide dinghy forks. These are sticks that slide out of the hull, two toward the transom, and two each to port and starboard amidships. I already documented these somewhere. The foresail boom can be used as a hoist. Hard dinks (I hate inflatables) will flop onto the forks bottom-up and lashed down. When under way, there is plenty of room to lash down dinghies on deck.

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  23. After reading your comments regarding water pumps and such, how about using an electric or manual foot powered air pump to pressurize the fresh water bladders? This would provide some water pressure rather than a raw water pump. Would that be a feasible option? Was thinking of an air pressure powered system for my boat.

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    1. Not really, due to the volume of air that would have to be compressed. You could try this with a foot powered bike pump mounted to the floor, but you'd be stomping for hours before you could conjure enough pressure to operate the system to any degree. A simple, foot powered water pump like you would expect to find in a pop-up camping trailer would be a better back-up to the powered pumps, since water doesn't compress and will move better under human power as a result.

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