Flippin’ Boat

Hangin’ Out, Conceptually, with the Popular Mechanics Guys

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OK, right off the top, here, I’m going to admit that this design study was instigated originally after looking at an article on the Jim Michalak design, the Harmonica. The more I studied the photos in the story, the more it flashed on me that this boat would look very similar to a typical pickup truck, cab-over camper if it were flipped upside down.

Then, in one of those absolutely weird, Popular Mechanics, moments we all get after too many years in the garage twiddling with stuff, it hit me. The Harmonica design of Jim’s could actually serve as a jumping-off point to draw-up a really utilitarian camper/boat that a retiree could use all over the country while he lived in the camper as his home on wheels. I’m kinda poking my finger in the eye of the guys at Pop Mechanics because all my life they constantly ran all these wild and crazy inventions that really stirred my imagination in a big way. The Flippin’ Boat is right up their alley.

Camper-Boat-bow

I’m not so sure the little woman in this retiree’s life would actually go for having a 1960’s inspired, Tomorrowland boat on their camper. Nor was I convinced that there wouldn’t be hell to pay for even suggesting the potential over Mac and Cheese with weenies. But, the idea looked kinda fun to me anyway, so I started fooling with a few possible lines for the boat that I hoped would conquer Route 66 one day.

The first thing would be to settle on a hull shape that would work well in a lot of conditions and could carry the load of a superstructure that would emerge from the camper box that goes in the bed of a truck. I wanted a cab-over design so that the hull could be fairly long when compared to the height of the camper form.

I settled on the moderate vee hull without a spray chine to keep things simple to build. I like the way moderate vee handle in a lot of widely varied conditions without pounding when things get rough. The moderate depth of the vee means that this boat can be taken into reasonably shallow water without problems. That will make it easier to anchor, take stuff ashore while wading and they are pretty easy to build. The form also presents a surprisingly good aerodynamic shape to the wind at highway speeds.

Keep in mind that this boat has to work upside down and right side up, or it becomes a fairly stupid exercise in a real hurry. A crappy looking boat would never appeal to the guys at Popular Mechanics, even if it did work decently.

Truck-and-Camper

I wanted windows so the cabin area would be airy inside. This is a pretty boxy shape, so it can’t look like a shed that has been plunked down on the hull.

What about the utility of the design? You can see that the Flippin’ Boat has a nice front porch area so that you can fish, or sit in the afternoon’s fading sunlight with a cold one in hand or set-up BBQ. There’s another porch on the stern end of the hull for fuel and engine business, as well as a space for letting your flatulent uncle have a little privacy.

The main cabin is fashioned to follow the form as provided by the bed of the truck. In this case, it works out that there is a wonderful, stacked sensation, of a multi-level house with lots of big bright windows to let in the light and the wonderful views of the lake or river on which the boat might be anchored.

Camp-Boat-on-Truck-front

I gave all the boxy corners a radius turn to soften the look of the cabin once launched. There isn’t a whole lot you can do to a basically boxy form that fits in the bed of a pickup for stability. This change made a world of difference and really improved the overall looks of the design.

One of the big concerns for me was how to make furniture for the camper that would also work for the boat. Lots of stuff is sort of no-brainer like the boat flips and the bed becomes… the couch/bed when you put the cushion on the other side of the same structure. But what about tables and cabinets and stuff like that? I don’t now too many folks who would want their dish cabinet turned upside down and find it sitting near the floor of their boat.

I designed all the simple, wall mounted fixtures so that they were on swivels. As the camper is turned over to become a boat, the fixtures rotate around to their normal, right side up position and none of the interior contents are disturbed. Of course, this means that the placement has to make sense for both scenarios, but it turns out to be not such a big problem once I took a look at how it needed to work.

Camper-Boat-side

One other little item that deserves mention. There is a raised, cockpit-style coaming ring around the front porch area. This serves two purposes. As a camper, this coaming provides a more aerodynamic seal against the cab roof. I know it matters only a little in the grand scheme of things with such a big hulking structure sitting up there over the truck, but I like that the idea was addressed in the design. Second, in boat mode, the ring helps to deflect spray away from the front door of the house and the front porch, aiding in overall comfort while underway.

So, the big question is, “How do you get this Bad Dude flipped over and in the water?” That’s sort of important isn’t it? While I was goofing around trying to get my brain wrapped around the practical uses of pulleys, cables whiz-bang gadgets, etc. I stumbled upon a Swiss designed lift system that is being manufactured in Iowa by Stellar Industries that will lift fairly heavy items right out of a truck bed and deposit them on the ground in their intact, right-side-up orientation. They even show the retrieval of a jetski from a launching ramp as an example of the usefulness of their device. You can checkout their website here:http://www.xtralift.com/

When I saw that product, it dawned on me that I could then just roll the camper over with a couple of big curved wheel shapes mounted to the back end of the camper and inserted into preformed pockets to hold them fast. The hydraulic system already in the truck bed for the lift system would now serve a second duty. I’d only have to install a telescoping ram to lift the bow of the boat and at some point, gravity would do the rest, putting the boat on its hull in the water.

untitledAfter a week on the water, retrieval of the boat to camper status is accomplished by means of a cable taken off a back bumper winch. The transom rotation wheels are installed once again. A Gin Pole is mounted to the top of the cabin and the cable goes up and over the Gin Pole to the bow. Reel in the cable and the bow lifts as if you were stepping a mast on a sailboat. Once near vertical, the telescoping ram re-attaches and the boat is gently returned to earth, resting on the lifting mechanism as a camper.

Of course there are all sorts of little maneuvers to make sure you don’t screw something up, such as removal of the Gin Pole before sitting the boat back in its lifting cradle; stuff like that which is too much written material for this article, but you get the idea.

The outboard is stored in the camper when not on the boat and the fuel is stashed under the camper in the cavity near the wheel wells in the truck bed. Sure, there’s lot’s of detail stuff to be worked out, but this is not a manufacturing description. It’s only a design study to examine feasibility.

Right now, the whole thing looks more than feasible to me and could progress to the next stage with a financing partner who had a bent for stuff like this. I’ve got the boat part of it covered and I’m pretty happy with the way the boat balances in the water, the stability of the hull form and its overall usefulness in a wide range of water conditions. No, it’s not meant to get up on a plane with the small outboard that will be easily moved around by the owner, but it will provide miles of comfortable cruising and get terrific fuel mileage as a payback for not being the fastest boat on the water.

Camp-Boat-on-Truck

This boat was designed to fit on any extracab/clubcab equipped, full-sized pickup with a long box. The truck should have a pretty decent engine due to seriously increased wind resistance and the battery and technical add-ons that one would suspect for a full-tilt trailering package. Stuff like tranny coolers, bigger brakes, ¾ ton minimum load capacity axle, oil coolers, bigger radiator, etc.

Yeah, the idea is a bit on the gimmicky side of things. But, so what. I’ve enjoyed the process of working out all the dual application issues (and there are a lot of them) as well as coming up with a nice aesthetically pleasing design that could actually work in the real world if someone cared to build it.

One final note: The name Flippin’ Boat should be pretty obvious as to how that came about. There is, however, one extra little sidebar piece of information to add a bit more to the business of the name selection. I live in Salt Lake City, Utah. A lot of folks in this community find it offensive to swear, so most of the conventional swear words that one would hear occasionally have been supplanted with euphemistic, non-swear words. Hell has become Heck and you probably guess what the equivalent for Flippin’ would be. I’m not of the predominant faith, but this is just my way of tipping the cap to the local culture in a fun manner. No offense intended to anyone.

Chris Ostlind
Lunada Design
Chris@Wedgesail.com

 

Bio-Mimetic Adhesives

It was 8 years ago that I first stumbled into the work of scientists at Oregon State University who were looking to produce a bio-based adhesive that had similar properties to those of the mussels we see clinging to pretty much every marine surface in spite of wave and tidal action. http://oregonstate.edu/terra/2007/04/nature%E2%80%99s-glue/

Jumping off from that same point of view, someone else has gotten, at least, a small part of the problem figured out with an electrical twist.

electrical-glue

Logo of Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

Scientists from NTU Singapore find electrifying solution to sticky problem

25 August 2015 Nanyang Technological University

Inspired by the limitations of biomimetic glues in wet environments, scientists from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) have invented a glue that will harden when a voltage is applied to it. This opens a plethora of commercially promising advances such as:

–  Using the adhesive to glue metal panels under water, for example, in underwater pipe repairs;

–  Replacing sutures when there is a need to join body tissues together during surgery;

–  Tailoring the properties of the adhesive to be more gel-like or rubber-like which would work well in vibrating or damp environments

This innovative research was published last week in Nature Communications, a peer-reviewed scientific journal under the Nature Publishing Group.

The new adhesive, nicknamed “Voltaglue”, opens up a host of possible practical applications, from making underwater repair works for ships and pipes, to being a versatile tool for doctors performing surgery.

In future, surgeons could use biocompatible glue patches to join two pieces of internal body tissue together in one or two minutes, instead of sutures which often require 15 to 20 minutes of careful stitching.

Assistant Professor Terry Steele, the lead scientist for this research project from NTU’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, said it took them over a year to develop an adhesive that could work under wet conditions such as in the human body or underwater.

“Most glues in the market don’t work under wet conditions, much like how sticky tapes won’t work if the surface is wet, since the adhesive will stick to the water instead of the surface,” said the American scientist, who graduated from the University of Minnesota before he moved to NTU Singapore.

Usually adhesives such as superglue harden upon contact with moisture in the air. Others like epoxy, often used in electronic mobile devices, has to be baked in high heat of about 150 degrees Celsius, or made using two different chemicals mixed together. These methods are unsuitable in wet environments.

“We had to find a way to make glue which cures (hardens) when we want it without being affected by the environmental conditions, so electricity was the best approach for us. The hardness of our glue can be adjusted by the amount of time we apply a voltage to it, which we call electrocuring.”

This unique electrocuring property allows Voltaglue to be customised for different applications.

“For example, if we are gluing metal panels underwater, we want it hard enough to stick for a long time. However, for medical applications, we want the glue to be more rubber-like so it wouldn’t cause any damage to the surrounding soft tissues,” Asst Prof Steele explained.

Voltaglue is developed using hydrogels consisting of carbon molecules called carbenes grafted onto tree-shaped plastic known as dendrimers.

Upon contact with electricity, the reactive carbenes, which are capable of hooking onto any surface nearby, are released. The amount of “hooks” created depends on how long electricity is applied and how many carbenes are present.

This technology is currently patented through NTUitive, the university’s commercialisation arm.

Strong but reversible

Another distinct feature of the new glue is that it could be made reversible, said Asst Prof Steele. He is now furthering research in this area, aided by a competitive research grant of almost US$670,000 awarded by Singapore’s Ministry of Education won earlier this month.

As the world becomes more concerned about sustainability, companies are looking to design ‘End-of-Life’ products that can be easily recycled, reused or remanufactured into new parts and components so as to reduce waste and energy consumption.

Glues which can cure and be subsequently un-cured through electricity would be the industry’s “Holy Grail”, as automakers and shipyards will be able to assemble and dissemble parts with ease, minimising the need for fixation by bolts, nuts and screws.

Such reversible glue will also open up new possibilities in the global adhesive market in transportation applications, estimated to be worth over US$3.3 billion in 2016 (Adhesives and Adhesive Applying Equipment, by BCC Research)

Moving forward, Asst Prof Steele and his team of 11 researchers are working to improve their new electrocuring glue so it can harden in just a few seconds, compared to about 30 seconds now; and also working on a way to undo the process.

They will also look for the best way to commercialise the technology through a new start-up or via industry partnerships.

Crossing Oceans in Small Craft

This is a two-part exploration that is based on a craze within the boating community from a few years ago in which, otherwise sane folks looked to cross a major ocean in ever-smaller boats to set some kind of record

The first part of this kooky, tongue in cheek journey involves the use of medical high-tech tomfoolery. I call this design the Stasis 7. The second part of our academic adventure involves a “boat” that actually has a quite a bit of potential in its design thinking and even if it engages a good bit of nuttiness in some of its appendage magnificence, it could still work effectively. I call that one, The Oceanic Pencil.

These two articles were published some time ago on Duckworks and they drew quite a bit of reader response back then. In this day and age, with advancements in medical capabilities, enhanced technology in all disciplines and a solid understanding of solar and wind electrical generation systems, these kinds of projects are just simmering, waiting for someone to come along who really wants to to push the boundaries and benefit from the data so discovered along the way.

Please sit down, kick back and digest the goofy, the real, the possible ways for one to get oneself across a major body of water and do so in a couple of ways that nobody is currently considering.

STASIS7
Initial Concept for Trans-Oceanic Smallness

design by Chris Ostlind

Stasis-profile-w

Nope, this time it was all about how small can you get it and still cross an ocean. Personally, I find this process to be right out of the tales of Marquis deSade, as only a true masochist would fold himself into one of these ridiculous compartments and call it comfortable for anything more than a Photo Op.

Dr. Phil couldn’t have suited-up a better guest for his show than this.Nevertheless, there it was, the announcement that someone was going to not only build one of these claustrophobia generators, but they were also going to do a booklet on the construction of same… and have the audacity to charge for said, copyrighted booklet.

So there I sat in my studio, wondering just what went into the decision making process that would lure an apparently sane person into the interior of what amounts to a floating sleeping bag for a trans-oceanic thrash into some level of personal stardom.

Hmmmmm, the mind can truly do some weird things when it gets onto a roll of such obscure strategies.

OK, I’ll just admit it up front. The weirdness (some might call it macabre) of it all had me hooked and so I set off to design a pair of really small boats for tooling off into the sunrise after leaving the safety of Newfoundland. Great Britain, here I come, though not without my own philosophical baggage along with a whole host of ethical questions regarding ocean crossing behaviors. This is the first of the two designs.

Stasis7-Bow-enclosed-w

I believe that my design for the boat I call Stasis7 does that and more.While the current record for the smallest boat to sail across an ocean is held by the 5’4” Father’s Day sailed by Hugo Vihlen, I wasn’t really going for the record with my first design. Instead, I wanted scientific novelty and the undying adoration of the pharmaceutical and medical community. I also wanted to take the tiny boat community and functionally poke it in the eye…. repeatedly.

The big issues aboard such a small boat are, naturally where to store the necessary food and water as well as how to keep the crew safe in nasty conditions. Stasis7 addresses those concerns with a novel set of solutions that virtually guarantee a healthy and rested crew upon arrival in Great Britain, though they may just be regarded as cadaverous by any normal measuring method.

The boat is a mere 7’ in length overall with a beam of just 32”. Stasis sports a sail of just under 30 sq. ft. The sail mounts to an aft pivoting step right at the stem with a small bowsprit projecting forward from nearly the same position. The sail is fixed to the mast and the mast rotates to reef the sail. In a big blow the mast not only rotates to stow the sail but it lays flat on the deck.

Stasis-Aft-1-w

All sail controls are automated from a central microprocessor that takes input from wind speed and direction, barometric pressure, sea state differential potentiometers, G-force sensors and GPS. The sensor output is collected and fed through the processor where it is compared to hundreds of different sailing and sea state scenarios to predict conditions, as well as derive the proper settings of sail trim and deployed surface presented to the wind. In short, all sailing controls are automated for the occupant.

At the core of the success of the boat is it’s fantastic ultimate stability which is derived from a long, hollow keel appendage that is terminated with a weighted bulb that is cast in one piece, guaranteeing that the bulb will not fall off, destabilizing the boat while under way.

The long, fin appendage also houses all the necessary life support equipment for the journey, thus freeing-up the cabin space in the main hull for the crew’s comfort. Crew comfort in this case, is perhaps a misnomer of sorts, as it is not derived in the normal sense of the descriptive usually associated with boating activities.
Stasis7-Bow-ECU-wThe solo crew of Stasis7 will cross the Atlantic in a drug-induced state of suspended animation.

To truly free the occupant from most of the needs of the typical metabolizing human, they will be hooked-up to an I.V. drip for the entire journey. The IV solution will provide the minimum amounts of saline, sucrose and necessary salts to maintain proper metabolic conditions while under the influence of the proprietary Stasis7 cocktail that is included in the solution.

The crew will wear a special suit that will recycle all fluid perspiration and return it to the filtering system where it will be made available for re-introduction to the IV process. The same will apply to all urine, as it will be collected via catheter for the same, recycling process.

With metabolic rates reduced to less than 10% of the normal, resting condition, supplemental needs will be reduced to near zero beyond those provided in the IV.

Stasis7-Bow-w

Mild brain stimulation will be provided through a special skullcap that will massage the electric capacity of the brain to keep the synapses firing at a very low ebb. This will ensure that the crew can come back out of the Stasis process as the craft nears the shores of England.

Since this boat is designed to take a small advantage from the prevailing winds during the journey, it is primarily a drifting vehicle that will enjoy the gifts of the Gulf Stream for most of the trip.

It’s a simple boat, really. A comfortably padded interior with soft, NASA memory foam throughout. A smart glass, Lexan, canopy that darkens in bright light and returns to a nearly clear state in the night, will regulate lighting.

So, there it is; the no-brainer method to cross an ocean in the smallest of boats with minimal hassle for the occupant. At thirty miles off the English Coast, the GPS triggers an automatic injection into the IV solution of a pleasant chemical cocktail that brings the crew back to a normal state. This process allows them to steer the Stasis7 into the nearest harbor for a pre-placed meal, designed to jump-start their GI tract without any rude surprises.

click to enlargeI figure 2 months and some change to get across the Atlantic.

Chris Ostlind
Lunada Design

 

OCEANIC PENCIL
Second Design for Trans-Oceanic Smallness

design by Chris Ostlind

I was looking hard at the various tiny boats that have crossed the Atlantic over the years and they seem to have gotten smaller to the point of the absurd. I previously mentioned Hugo Vihlen’s record setting boat, Father’s Day at 5’4” from 1993. It was pretty obvious to me that his boat had been measured to 5’4” in order to just whisker under the boat length of his ultra-micro crossing rival, Tom MacNally who had just performed the same feat in his boat, Vera Hugh, that was 5’4.5”, also in 1993.

 

 

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MacNally rallied his forces to produce an even shorter boat in 1998, the Vera Hugh II that measured an astoundingly short 3’11” for a go at the record. Apparently that boat did make the journey from Portugal to the Canaries, but for some reason, has not actually been put in the water for the big jump across the Atlantic to the Caribbean. As far as I know, she still sits in storage in the Canaries, waiting for her suitor to ride her to victory.

 

That means the door is wide open for a memorable, record setting design to splash down off Labrador and be swept to the enchanting Isles of Great Britain in the loving arms of the Gulf Stream.

Coincidentally, I have just the design to do both tasks, though it does require a bit of creative interpretation of the apparent rules in order to truly get a boat down to those sizes for this trip.

When you look at the Vera Hugh II in photos, what you see is essentially a floating, untethered buoy that has a very small sail area to augment its drifting posture at sea. The boat is festooned with bolted or welded-on apparatus to further enhance the capabilities while leaving the essential hull length undisturbed. Apparently, this festooning includes the rudder and the support tubing to hold it aft and stable. If the loose interpretation allows for such a craft to be measured by the contained vessel volume alone, then I’m in there with my new design.

OP-Damped-High-Tight-w

 

I present the Oceanic Pencil, a craft made for the purpose of long distance, ocean crossing sailing/drifting/kiting while performing valuable scientific studies of the currents, flora and fauna, salinity issues and water temps along the way.

 

The Pencil’s in-the-water length, is 5’ exactly. That was easy to arrive at because the “boat” is pretty much just a cylinder that has been put up on its end. I can easily take the title of smallest boat at 5’ and only the Vera Hugh II, sitting in dry dock has any chance of breaking the record that the Oceanic Pencil will hold. The fact that I will liberally decorate the Pencil’s topsides with all manner of geometrically welded aluminum tubing is well within accepted norms for boats of this type.

The cylinder is kept in the up and down position by means of a suspended bulb keel. Actually, the cylinder tapers over its lower half until it reaches the bulb some ten feet below the living quarters area. I have designed the bulb to be filled with depleted uranium bullets and recovered shrapnel from the Iraqi conflict. The uranium’s radioactivity is shielded from the Pencil’s occupant with a liberal casing of pure lead. So, the problem of ballast is solved, and the world is better for it.

A lot of additional life support systems are also stored as low as possible in the keel appendage and also the bulb such as heavy stores and batteries for the on-board electronics systems.

Working our way up the keel cone, the Pencil maintains a series of low profile, rack mount computers for all the scientific functions that will be performed en route. The upper reaches of the cone provide space internally for ladder-climbing exercise routines for the crew to keep them fit. Unlike the Stasis 7, I don’t want my Pencil sailor to slowly turn to atrophied jelly while he crosses the open sea.

In the upper, cylindrical environment of the Pencil, the space has been given over to the comforts of the sailor with retractable video screens to monitor all the science functions as well as accurately chart the movement of the boat through the sea. This includes depth sounders, sonar, radar, military accurate GPS, several direct communications systems as well as full Internet connections in the Gigabyte speed region and on-board entertainment capabilities to pass the time when not engaged with his science duties.

OP-Folded-Tight-w

Sleeping on board the Pencil is done through a suspended hammock device that can be adjusted through several control points. This gives maximum comfort at the same time allowing the crew to infinitely adjust the attitude of the hammock for best resting position.

The upper four feet of the cylinder is actually composed of heavy gauge Lexan to give a full 360 degree view out to the surface interface so that the crew may observe sea life directly during daylight and also at night augmented with the use of waterproof high intensity lighting.

The cap of the cylinder is capable of being flipped open during calm conditions, but can be securely dogged-down for the periods of time when the boat is being subjected to dramatic sea state conditions. Antennas for most of the communication systems and GPS are mounted to the roof of the flip open hatch. Some are mounted to the ring around the hatch so that they remain in their optimal, vertical orientation for continuous communication while the hatch is open.

Perhaps the most interesting survival feature for these wild conditions is the fact that the boat can be re-positioned vertically in the water column. In short, the crew can take-on additional water ballast and literally sink the Oceanic Pencil to a controlled depth that takes away virtually all of the surface disturbances from the motion of the boat. When the storm has passed, the boat blows the ballast tanks with compressed air and returns to the surface.

OP-Folded-Kite-w

Propulsion to augment the current drift is obtained from a water launchable kite. Naturally, with the kite deployed and providing a 4-5 knot boost to the speed of the prevailing current, the boat will heel in the direction of the kite. To counteract that tendency, the Pencil will deploy a pair of inflatable amas. The amas are shaped like the bulbed keel of a racing yacht to maximize their flow through the water. The Pencil then takes on the wild looking form of a waterborne insect of sorts.

To further enhance the movement of the Oceanic Pencil through the sea an ingenious array of baffle plates are spaced around the cylinder mounted to an elongated oval aluminum tubular frame that is suspended from the upper, above water, reaches of the cylinder.

OP-Folded-High-Tight-w

 

The baffles are controllable for how they are arrayed. When the baffles are radially oriented around the oval, they reduce the roll of the pencil enormously. When the kite is deployed, the baffles are then moved to fold neatly over one another in the suggested shape of a boat when seen from above. This shape improves the flow of the water around the Pencil hull and at the very narrow end of the elongated oval, the baffles there act as a rudder. If my description is lacking, please refer to the illustrations for better understanding.

The crew has the option to erect a simple set of tubes in pre-positioned sockets so that they may suspend a hammock above the deck of the Pencil in nice weather. I envision long stretches of time in which the weather and seas will be very calm. During those times, the crew can climb out of the Pencil cylinder and virtually live above deck in fresh air and sunlight. He should arrive in England reasonably rested, tanned and fit. This is in stark contrast to the gaunt, near dead apparition that will emerge from the Stasis7 boat from Part One.

I anticipate that a boat of this type, with virtually continuous communication and uplink/downlink capacity, would provide the ideal, long-term research vessel for advanced studies of the sea. This boat should be sponsored by a corporation in the business of communications who wish to be viewed as being at the forefront of technological discovery. With the high visibility footprint of a daily live broadcast to the Internet, this boat could be a floating example of how business can do things to truly benefit mankind as well as inspire young people who are just about to choose science as their filed of study.

I’m thinking someone like T-Mobile would be ideal. Bridge the communication distance between Europe and the United States. Meld ideas and technology into a push to better understand the forces of our planet. Make the Oceanic Pencil the undisputed record holder for the shortest boat to cross a major ocean.

CORSICA 15R

Sports Car Performance on the Water

 

Over the past couple of years, I have taken a break from my boat design work. During that time, I’ve been able to reassess my connection to the craft. The last boat I designed was the Europa 20, which is a trimaran meant for vertical strip foam construction with sandwich style, infused epoxy/glass laminates inside and out. The Europa is a boat for very fast day sailing with a very light hull and a very big rig. A boat that is not for everyone, to be sure, as it requires a level of skill that the average guy does not typically cultivate in the course of experiencing their recreational boating interests.

In stepping away from the larger, more powerful beach type multihulls, I came around to the desire to produce a smaller, very quick and sensitive boat that would appeal to recreational sailors and not just those guys who want to blast around with their hair on fire (though I do suspect that in the right hands, this boat will do just that). The new design had to be easy to build with standard, marine plywood/epoxy/glass techniques that did not rely on exotic layups with spendy carbon cloth. (Well, maybe the carbon will sneak in there a bit on the beams for the guys who want to play with a bigger rig)

Looking long and hard at the smaller skiff-like hull designs I had done before, such as the Montage, I decided to draw the new boat in that same general size, but with a very different approach when it comes to how the boat achieves its performance potential. Where the Montage has a relatively spacious cockpit capable of taking on a couple of adults, (or a parent and a couple of smaller kids) the new, Corsica 15R trimaran would be for one adult (or accomplished kid) designed solely for a unique, one-up sailing experience within the small beach multihull genre.

Corsica15R bow high water wMuch like a performance dinghy, the Montage has a wide, flat sailing surface conducive to the planing of the main hull. It’s more like an outrigger supported dinghy in that regard, than it is a trimaran. Certainly, the Montage fits within a grey area when it comes to defining nomenclature. The Corsica 15R, however, would be very much like other high performance trimarans with very slender, easily driven hulls that have the potential to achieve boat speeds well beyond the typical displacement design. There is no main hull planing function going on with the Corsica 15R. It is all about pure, straightforward achievable speed via well-known multihull design thinking.

As a result, the boat has minimized clutter when it comes to excessive high-tech trickery. With that approach, the Corsica 15R is also going to be a boat that has much lower maintenance requirements in order to keep it in top sailing condition, as well as a much lower realized cost to get it on the water and ready to sail.

If you are into cars, as I am, then think in terms of a nicely pumped, Mazda Miata, type of boat that would be a cool, weekend canyon racer for one person. A boat that could blast around the local waters in a good breeze and give chase to other small, fast, multihulls being sailed by crews of two.

The result of this conceptualizing process is the Corsica 15R. The C15R is a boat of modest, marine plywood build techniques and is very light weight for its generous sail area. With this boat, the normal sailing position would be the skipper, semi-reclined within the main hull, driving his machine like an F1 Grand Prix car. In this configuration, the boat is designed to utilize foot pedals for steering, leaving the hands free to work the sheets. But, that’s not the only way to sail this boat. Owners who wish to sail in a more conventional multihull style, can sit-up out of the cockpit and onto the main hull cockpit gunnel, or even the trampoline surfaces all the way out to the ama, where they will steer with a tiller extension.

Corsica15R above w

A construction style in multichine, 4 mm marine plywood, allows the boat to be assembled in a well-understood fashion that will go together quickly. With a subtle placement of minimal stringers and sufficient bulkheads, the C15R becomes a strong main hull shell that can absorb the loads from its sizeable rig, turning the power of the sails into forward thrust in the water.

There is no fully enclosed transom on the vaka hull. The cockpit deck is slanted gently down and aft for automatic self-draining, such as is seen in sport dinghies and larger race boats. A collection of bulkheads under the cockpit deck provide structural support and watertight compartments ensuring that the boat will not likely sink even if large sections of the bottom are torn out from an underwater hazard while smoking along in a gin clear lagoon.

The demounted boat can be assembled easily by one person. The gently gull-winged akas are built with a glassed box beam core.  The inboard ends of the akas slide into tapered sockets in the main hull and are levered in place with stainless waterstays to make ready for sailing. This, tapered socket technique prevents binding while assembling the boat, while providing a solid, hassle-free and weight minimized demounting system. The leading edges of the akas are smoothly shaped foam blocks that are glassed onto the box beam to provide an aero component, as well as creating reduced drag from waves and spray. The akas are hard fastened to the amas as a complete assembly that is easily removable from the vaka hull. The trampolines stay mounted to the akas and amas for transport and only have to be hooked and tensioned to the main hull during assembly.

The mast is a stick from a Hobie 16. I specify the addition of a set of spreaders from the Hobie 18 mast to stiffen up the H16 mast to handle the additional righting moment generated by the Corsica design. Naturally, I’d prefer to see fresh sails in something like fully battened, Pentex laminate, but builders on a tight budget could also work with a loft service to tweak a reasonably fresh Hobie 16 main and jib and do just fine. The addition of reefing points on the main are strongly suggested, as well as the use of furlers for the jib and spinnaker/screacher. For those who desire fresh sails for this boat, I would recommend the folks at Whirlwind sails in San Diego, California. http://www.whirlwindsails.com/

Corsica15R bow water w

A removable carbon prodder sets the tone at the front end of the boat. The stick originates as a carbon windsurf mast, so it is easily found on the used market and equally replaceable, should it get poked into an unyielding environment. For trailering, the sprit unpins, slides out of its socket and is stowed in the cockpit for transport and storage.

Corsica 15R Specifcations

LOA                                         14’ 11”  (4.54 m)

BOA                                         13’  (3.96 m)

Displacement                         650 lbs.  (294.8 kg.)

Sail Area (upwind)                 218 sq. ft.  (16.17 sq. m)

 

Spin                                       142 sq. ft.  (13.19 sq. m)

Mast Length                           26’  (7.62 m)

Draft (board up)                     1’  (.3 m)

Draft (board down)                42” (1.07 m)

The mast is raised by the traditional beach cat method of physically lifting the mast with the base pinned to the mast step, or by utilizing the long daggerboard in its trunk as a form of a gin pole. A forward hoisting line is led over a pair of sheaves at the top of the daggerboard and down to the hand cranked winch on the trailer. Mechanical leverage quickly raises the mast so that the forestay can be fastened to the bow, stepping the mast securely. You can see a few photos of the process at Brent’s L7 trimaran site:

http://home.comcast.net/~ritakend/site/?/page/Mast_Raising/&PHPSESSID=864f3404e3f46ed29dd99b863018fc1d  This is a very simple way to raise a mast should you need to avoid the trad lifting exercise for one reason or another.

I chose to not go with tricked-out, curved lifting foils in the amas due to construction complexity and added cost for the builder. Foils of this type are hard to build correctly by hand, as are the needed curved trunks in which they slide. Instead, the boat is equipped with a daggerboard that is inserted through the deck of the main hull in front of the mast which angles aft to exit the hull below the waterline. A daggerboard and trunk of this type are much simpler forms to build and orient in the hull. It is also just one main foil, where lifting foils need to be made in pairs, one for each ama. Lifting foils also need complex control mechanisms to retract and deploy the foils and they have to work from the cockpit remotely with the foils mounted way out in the amas. The needed controls are an interesting problem when the boat is 13’ in width and the driver is semi-reclined in the main hull.

Note: I’m not against an owner who might want to experiment with foiling for this boat, even if it is just foil assist and not full flying. It would require a lifting t-foil style rudder and twin Bruce style foils in the amas, or, if a person is really accomplished as a composites builder, they could make a pair of matching c-foils for the ama. The owner just needs to know what level of additional work is involved and at what skill level they need to perform in order to get the desired result.

Corsica15R beam water w

If you are on a budget, the rudder and headstock from a Hobie 16 will work just fine for the Corsica with some mods to the tiller. The more deluxe, Rudder 25 system from Dotan will also work well, should you have the coin.  http://www.dotan.com/  If you plan on pushing the boat hard, then a longer blade will be required, or you can get yourself invested in the process of putting a rudder on each ama and have stunning control at your finger tips. On the down side, that change will cost you a bit out of your pocket and at the launch ramp in setup time… though I can see a nifty rig with light alu tubing and the use of snap buttons as a cool solution.

The Corsica 15R will be a light boat built from familiar materials. It should be a fairly simple building experience for the owner and will fit comfortably into any typical garage space, making it easy to find a building location. It will quickly assemble for sailing and be hassle free with minimal maintenance required to keep it in top form. It can be towed behind any compact car on a typical beach cat trailer and when demounted for travel, is road legal anywhere in the world. On the water, this boat should be quite quick and behave with predictable, pin-point sailing manners. With the skipper slung comfortably in his reclined cockpit seat, he will be decently protected from the effects of the weather and sea state while tearing around his local waters.

Chris Ostlind

Lunada Design

SHOULD I PATENT MY WIDGET FOR THE BOAT INDUSTRY?

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Let’s just imagine that you have been recently slaving away in your very cool, very modern version of Geppetto’s workshop out in your back yard and you’ve come up with something that is every bit as nifty as Pinnochio… only your cool thing is a truly innovative doo-dad for the boating industry.

Suddenly, the heady rush of riches and fame come charging through your brain and it hits you like a huge explosion! “My GOD! I need to get this thing patented before someone finds out about it and swipes my wonderfully inspired effort.”

Well, hold on just one minute there, Pilgrim. Perhaps you better give this article a full read before you rush off to the nearest Legal Office where they practice Intellectual Property Law where simply sitting down with a qualified patent attorney is going to nail your pocket book for some serious cash…. just to talk it through.

Here’s my take on patents for boat stuff in general. All you guys out there in TV land can have your own take on these things and I encourage you to make your points known. It won’t change my opinion on the matter after 25 years of fiddling around producing video programs for start-up companies who blew a large wad on their chase to “get a patent in place” and then fitfully protect the same thing.

Real simple, patents can cost large amounts of money. The more complex the claims in the patent application, the more money it takes for some patent attorney to make use of his selective knowledge of the arcane language of the patent application, seacrh for prior art and establish that your “invention is enough different from what came before and commission a set of equally arcane drawings to show what the item looks like in graphic terms… and then file for the patent itself with the U.S. Patent Office.

If patents could be submitted in normal language, there would be many fewer reasons for hiring of a specialized, Intellectual Property Attornies at $300 an hour to write this stuff for you. After all, who knows the way the nifty new device works better than you?

For most patents, the big cost is in the process of the “patent search” so that you can quote many examples of prior art in your submission and the logical progression of inventions that may, or may not, have led to your device. Again, this is all part of the game, should you need to pursue some violator of your precious patent in a court of law. Notice how it, once again, comes back to a court scenario so that you need to hire another attorney to stand in for you? This is the key part to the argument.

After all, the patent by itself, is nearly worthless, save for the so-called ego boost one might get from being a “patented inventor”. It’s just a crappy, official looking document on your wall that just might impress your buddies when they come to visit. (see the ritualized document at the head of this article) Without the desire and resources, as in MONEY AND TIME to pursue the violators, the whole patent process is absolutely worthless as a business enterprise. Some folks will tell you that it adds value to your invention. Well, that part might be true if you think that the thing is about to set the world on fire and you will see checks for millions of dollars come rolling into your hands. If it’s not of that magnitude, then its value is pretty much up to you and your sense of self as an “inventor of stuff”. These are things that the world, in general, does not find very compelling… well, unless you are Brad Pitt, or somebody like Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner.

My take is that for the average guy, who has developed some really cool thing for the boating industry, the best thing to do is to take all the money that they would otherwise toss at a patent and save it for something else. The intellectual properties attorney, the draftsman who does the nifty and similarly arcane drawings of the invention and the fees at the patent office; Save it for another, more important thing….  May I suggest…. That would be to use that money to invent the next best thing for the boating industry, OR… better yet, spend it on the marketing of the first really cool thing, so that they can achieve something like market penetration and hopefully, a dominating market share before the Chinese rip you off and copy your design and build it with far lesser materials and then flood the market with the fresh idea which you slaved to create.

There is one exception to this patent thing for boaty kinds of things. That being the absolutely inconceivable potential that your patented device can properly be licensed out to a big time boat company for MILLIONS of dollars. Really, MILLIONS… as in the kind of money one might get for inventing a new medicine that cures five kinds of cancer. You know, the kind of cash machine idea that would move the desktop computer industry into the next millennium… Otherwise, it’s a huge waste of time and money and it will give you a false sense of confidence that you really have something worth fighting over.

It is just so damn easy to make a ten-percent improvement in an existing invention that, in the words of the Patent Office, moves the invention forward, that it’s ridiculous. Want to know how simple in actuality this all is… just go to a big tradeshow for any industry, you select the one you prefer, and watch the hordes of guys from Asia running around with digital cameras, taking pictures of everything under the sun that looks even mildly interesting.

Now, what do you suppose those dudes are doing with such a fervent sense of purpose? The answer is, and I hate to dump it on you nice guys who think otherwise, but they are swiping your ideas. They are shooting photos of your stuff so that they can take all that home and reverse engineer it. They will make some very small and virtually irrelevant change in the device and come roaring back next season (or sooner in some cases) with their own brand of your hard-earned super cool, next best thing. Now, don’t get me wrong that it’s only those Asian guys who are doing this. Everyone is doing the same thing, or they will soon find themselves without a job. Well, they will, unless their company has a very high degree of ethics and they have their own super smart inventor dudes who don’t need the leg-up.

Think you can stop that? Think that it matters to them if they “might” get sued by you? Think they worry about your limited financial resources that totally inhibit your ability to mount an on-going legal procedure? Hey, my friend, this is modern business which is the civilized equivalent of open warfare without the explosions. If your figurative army is too small, you can only try to make a hasty retreat and lick your ego, literally.

All this boils down to the fact that you should be spending your lovely time, your creative problem-solving genius inspiration and going down to the shop and inventing that “next best thing”. This will, once again, put you ahead of the market and force the other guys to play catch-up to your glowing capabilities.

Does all this make me sound bitter and hateful? Do you think that maybe I had one of these gotcha experiences myself and have the wounds to prove it? Well, I don’t.

I just worked within the community of hundreds of creative industrial design types, making video-based marketing presentations for them and THEIR really cool, patented new gizmos. Most of them, if their invention was, in fact, really cool, were unceremoniously shoved to the corner of the heady, trade show sales floor by a bigger outfit who brazenly nabbed the idea and had the resources to go full-tilt with it…. Within two years!

If you insist on going for the patent, may I be so bold as to recommentd a really thorough and accurately written book about that very topic..? It’s called: Patent It Yourself and is available from all the usual resources such as Amazon and Barnes and Noble booksellers.

I have this book myself and found it to be so beautifully composed and presented that I routinely use if for reference in these matters. This book will save you many hours of stupid goose chasing and it is written by a guy who knows his stuff.

PatentItYourself You, the good guys, had no fall-back position and no fresh ideas, as all your time and money had been spent on chasing that “Hey, I’ve got a patent” concept. Eventually, most of them accepted full-time jobs at the firm which nabbed the invention, where they learned to keep their mouths shut and take that lovely paycheck home to pay for food and clothes for the kids.

There isn’t much that would suck more than that.

My very strong suggestion if you do create something decidedly powerful for the boating, or outdoor recreational market is to LICENSE the thing with one of thoe huge companies who would find the device to be compatible with their corproate efforts. Do make sure to get a Non-Compete document signed with the firm you pitch so that they won;t snag your idea and force you to hire an attoney to get them to stop producing it behind your back. Have them decide if a patent is appropriate, front the costs of all the manufacturing tooling, find the fabricator and defend the patent should someone screw around and try to knock it off. All this stuff is their playground, not yours and while this is going on, you still collect a royalty check for every one of them that goes out the door and maybe even a significant design fee for the actual creation of same.

Brilliant. The wife and kids will find you as their own private superman who brings home an enhanced paycheck to save for college and go on real vacations where you guys can actually VACATE.

These are things that don’t suck at all.

Chris Ostlind

Lunada Design