Monday, January 18, 2016

Sailing through a Meltwater Pulse

It's January, and the Greenland ice sheet is melting. There was recently a winter hurricane in the North Atlantic, and another in the Pacific. On New Year's day there was a thaw at the North Pole. Greenand is melting; when it melts, the ocean level will go up 20 feet (6m). This will be enough to flood all the coastal cities—permanently. So far, predictions as to how fast this melting will occur have proven to be worthless, with the actual melting rate outpacing them by a huge margin. And although many people still believe that the effect will be gradual—less than an inch a year—another view on the matter is that at some point there will be an avalanche-like collapse of the Greenalnd ice sheet, which will generate a meltwater pulse, sending ocean levels up many feet in a single step.

And there are all those who, whenever I publish something that mentions climate change, crawl out of the woodwork and gnash their exoskeletal mandibles at me, to the effect that climate=weather, and it's all a conspiracy theory. They are all idiots and deserve a boathook in the eye. Sailing on...

For the sake of this discussion, I will assume a meltwater pulse of 10 feet (3m). What will it mean for those of us who live on the water and sail along the coastline? And, more specifically, what will be the impacts for the sailboat design I have been working on for about a year now—QUIDNON, the houseboat that sails?

Ignoring, for the moment, other impacts, most shoreline marine facilities—marinas, boatyards, fuel docks—were constructed to be a few feet above the highest high tide. In many cases, they now have less than a foot of freeboard at highest high tide, and given a bit of a storm surge that number becomes negative, and the ramps that lead down to the floating docks stick up at a jaunty angle. A 10-foot rise will put virtually all of these facilities under a few feet of water at high tide, rendering them inoperable. With the transformers under water, they will be unable to provide electricity. Travelifts—the cranes that lift boats out of the water for maintenance—will be rendered inoperative, and so there will be no more haulouts.

But the worst part of it will be that entire marinas, which consist of an interconected structure of floating docks that float up and down on pilings with the tide, will lift off the pilings and drift off. The entire raft of docks and boats will drift until something runs aground. Then, when the tide ebbs, leaving the entire tangled mess high and dry, the powerboats will settle on their propellers, bending the drive shafts, while the sailboats—virtually all of them keelboats—will fall over, tangling their rigging together and becoming dismasted. A few tide cycles and a stiff blow later, and an entire marina's worth of boats will turn into an unsalvageable tangled pile of wreckage. For marinas in zones without much tidal range (a few spots on the Intracoastal Waterway in the US, all Bahamas) that use fixed docks instead of floating ones, the problem will be about the same: as the meltwater pulse arrives, the boats will individually lift off pilings and sail off in random directions in a tangled mass.

So much for marinas; but what of anchorages. After all, a few of us will have the foresight to get out of the marina and anchor somewhere. If you find an isolated anchorage in which to ride out the meltwater pulse, you might do fine, but in a crowded, shallow anchorage, where most boats have just a few feet under them at low tide, a 10-foot water level rise will cause them to run out of scope (the ratio between anchor chain length and depth). Anything less than 4:1 scope is unlikely to allow the anchor to hold a boat in place. They will drag anchor and end up littering the new coastline, which will run thorugh shopping mall parking lots, suburban subdivisions and historic waterfronts.

Most reasonable people would consider such a scenario, and conclude that when (note: not if but when) it happens, living aboard boats will become impossible, along with recreational boating if the boat is stored in the water. It might still be possible to launch boats from trailers, at low tide, from the very top of some boat ramps. Kayaks, canoes, dinghies and rowboats could still be used. But without shore water, shore power, pumpout services for sewage, floating docks to tie up to and ramps leading to dry land, living aboard a boat will be almost impossible for most people.

Without functioning boatyards with travelifts it will no longer be possible to maintain boats, which all need to have their bottoms painted and through-hulls maintained (that's a technical term for holes in the bottom of a boat, masking the fact that they are a bad idea). People who live aboard boats and drive to work will find it difficult to do so if the marina parking lot ends up under several feet of water twice in each 24-hour period.

But suppose you are an intrepid sort of sailor who doesn't mind living at anchor in the midst of a postapocalyptic landscape, fetching your water and fuel in jerricans by dinghy and pushcart from some place further inland? (I assume that the boat is a sailboat, because, with fuel docks underwater, there won't be any reasonable way to keep a powerboat fueled.) What if you get around the lack of boatyard facilities by careening the boat? Well, then there are still some additional issues.

1. With all the jetsam and flotsam getting washed off what used to be dry land—cars, trucks, houses and so on—sailing around and anchoring will be rather difficult. When anchoring, it is useful to look at a chart, and see whether the holding ground in an anchorage is marked “sand” or “mud” or “hard.” But what if the spot where you want to drop the hook is full of mangled wreckage? Will the anchor hold, and will you be able to get it back out?

2. There are many fixed bridges which, in the US, along the Intracoastal Waterway, have 65 feet of vertical clearance. After a 10-foot meltwater pulse, that becomes a 55-foot clearance, which will not be enough for any sailboat over about 34 feet that can't drop its mast to pass under during high tide. And then there are all the bridges that open—bascule, swing and lift—and wouldn't it be nice if the bridge tenders left them with the bascules up, the swing span open and the lift span up before permanently abandoning their posts, but what are the chances? And so, depending on where along the coast you find yourself when the meltwater pulse arrives, and with no boatyard crane available to pull your mast, you may be stuck, with no way to make it out to deep water.

3. In addition to significantly higher ocean water levels due to the meltwater pulse, we are also likely to face many more hurricanes. Currently, there are three tactics for dealing with hurricanes on a boat: emergency haul-out (not possible with the travelifts not running and the boatyards flooded); finding a hurricane hole (good luck with that, now that they are all full of debris, making anchoring an uncertain business); and, for the ridiculously intrepid and annoyingly ultra-competent, taking off to sea (on this, see previous point).

But what if the boat you live on happens to be a QUIDNON?

  • QUIDNON is designed to run aground safely. It only draws a couple of feet, and its bottom is clad in roofing copper—a tough material that also resists marine growth, only requiring a periodic light scrubbing and brushing.
  • With its bottom flat, it settles upright and can safely dry out at low tide. If it drifts into a parking lot or a suburban subdivision, there it will remain until the water comes back, and then sail back into deeper water.
  • The lack of shoreline facilities don't affect it much: its bottom never needs to be painted because the copper cladding is designed to outlast the 30 years that is the design service life of a typical QUIDNON, and there are exactly zero underwater through-hulls to maintain, all of its water inlets and outlets consisting of siphon tubes that reach down into the engine well from above the waterline.
  • Lack of shore power is not a big problem for a QUIDNON, there being plenty of solar panels, a wind generator and room for a generator set on deck. There is even room for a high-temperature plastics burner, a biochar kiln, and a digester for biodegradable jetsam and flotsam.
  • Lack of access to fuel docks is not a big problem. QUIDNON's inboard-outboard, which lives in the engine well and can double as the dinghy motor, is used to maneuver and motor through calms, but most of the time it's possible to sail. QUIDNON is overcanvassed by most standards, and can move in the faintest zephyr. Thanks to the junk rig, it can even sail backwards, with the sails backed.
  • Lack of shore water is not a big problem, there being lots of area from which to collect rainwater, and huge tanks in which to store it over long dry spells.
  • The jetsam and flotsam clogging up the anchorages and the waterways may be problematic, but with just a 2-foot draft it should be possible to either see through or otherwise read the water to figure out what the bottom is. If the plan is to always dry out at low tide, anchoring is a matter of finding a spot that has 3 feet above level ground at high tide and putting down some stakes. Once hammered in place, they effectively pin the boat in place, which then floats up and down when the tide picks it up.
  • If the need arises to pass under bridges that either don't open or are fixed and now too low, the solution is simple: drop the masts. On QUIDNON, this operation doesn't require a crane, and can be performed with the boat in the water, by just one person, using a come-along.
  • Lack of shoreside transportation with which to get to a job shouldn't be a problem either. With all this wreckage lying around, and many formerly prosperous coastal areas now unreachable by land and, for most people, by water either, there will be plenty of new opportunities in the salvage business.
  • If a hurricane hits, a QUIDON can be kept secure by running it aground at high tide and running lines out to pegs in multiple directions. No hurricane hole is needed; just a sheltered spot with a gently sloping shore.

In all, when the meltwater pulse arrives, it seems to me that, should you decide to stick around anywhere near the former coastline, your choices are 1. to get yourself a QUIDNON, or 2. abandon ship and flee to higher ground, and try to get by tied up alongside all the other miserable environmental refugees. I believe I have done my homework, and I think I know which choice I would prefer. Only two questions remain: Do I have enough money? and Do I have enough time? If you are interested in inhabiting the shoreline moving forward, please pitch in any way you can. Thank you.

47 comments:

  1. I'm worried about the time. The fan blades are carrying a good coating of excrement already.

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    1. I am too, as should others. That's why I am working on this now. I want to be ready for when your typical yacht (what I have now) becomes a "sunk cost" in more ways than one.

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    2. I look forward too rafting up to Quidnon in a Walmart parking lot :-)

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  2. How much notice do you get of a meltwater pulse?

    (Also, does it do a tsunami-style surge and overshoot? You might get beached rather higher than high tide.)

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    1. Nobody knows for sure. Avalanches and seismic rebounds trigger tsunamis; melting, even very swift melting, is a more gradual effect. All we know is that we have to prepare for significantly higher ocean levels in the coming decade, maybe two.

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  3. In Irons (financially) as most are, is there any way to sell plans or even "communitize" the project and offer boat kits for the QUIDNON?

    Is the Greenland Ice Shelf floating in the sea already, or is it sliding off the land displacing the water as it enters?

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    1. The Greenland glaciers are mostly on land; it's some of the Antarctic ones that are floating and being rapidly undermined by warmer ocean waters.

      I plan to make QUIDNON available as a kit—a bunch of plywood pieces that arrive on pallets, ready for "screwdriver assembly" and fiberglassing.

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    2. I have read somewhere that the people watching the melting of the Greenland ice have found that the water is currently not going into the ocean but rather forming a growing lake under the ice. The interior of Greenland is supposedly like a bowl rimmed by mountains along the coast. As melting goes on, water accumulates and at some point finds a breach to the ocean at which time, it may very well dig itself a trench to let all that accumulated water out into the ocean.

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  4. one awkward bit in the mix is that most of the coastal refineries will also be under water as well. maybe a diving and salvage reclamation opportunity--in the near term, at least. propane tanks come to mind-watertight and winchable with a sling davits rig?

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    1. Yes, I expect that fueling up will become quite problematic. Powerboats will be toast because of the huge detours needed to fill the tanks. Keelboats will be toast for a different reason.

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  5. Is there a Kickstarter? How much would building 1 QUIDNON cost?

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    1. My preliminary cost estimate, just for the materials, came in at around $50k. But some of the prices have come down quite a bit since then, roofing copper and other metals prices especially. We don't know how much it will cost to NC-mill the "kit" yet, but we're working on it.

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  6. Loved waking up this morning to read of new Quidnon details. Will there be a prototype… or a scaled down model to start with?

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    1. The next step is to prototype the rig (just one mast's worth) and the hull at 12:1 scale, to work out some of the geometric details. After that there will be a 5:1 scale model (just over 7 feet LOA) that will be big enough to sail (lying down inside the hull, head poking out where the cockpit would be). This will allow us to work some issues with ballasting, centerboard and rudder geometry, and fine-tune some other features. After that, it's on to a full-scale build.

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  7. A few deleted comments, how juicy. What did Mr. Orlav find silly enough to remove? Anyways, lots of high ground here in Colorado, but not enough water for everyone when colapse occurs. How many people will a post shit-hit-the-fan world support?

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    1. This blog is about boats. Not about boats in general, but about boatbuilding. And not about boatbuilding generally but about building one specific type of boat, called QUIDNON. If you have nothing to contribute on this topic, may I suggest that you surf over to Facebook?

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  8. Excellent post as usual. I live on an island in San Francisco's East Bay and so the topic of the meltwater pulse is relevant to me. Fact is, even without a meltwater pulse we were already looking at moving on because of the ongoing drought. California has about 100 times as many people as the environment can support without an industrial economy behind it and so it seems like a good idea to move on.
    About a dozen years ago when I first heard about peak oil, I looked at the peak oil graphs and saw that somewhere around 30 years into the future we wouldn't have enough oil left to maintain an industrial civilization. At the time, whenever my wife and I went for a walk along the waterfront and looked out over acres and acres of gleaming white plastic pleasure boats, I used to mutter, "thirty more years, thirty more years" which I figured was how much longer we could be building plastic boats given that the feed stocks for plastics would be running out. After a while my wife got tired of hearing about thirty more years and so I learned to keep quiet. Ten years have passed. In the meantime I discovered the Five Stages of Collapse, another seminal work in my education and realized that perhaps, economic collapse might shut down access to oil before physical limits would. And then of course, global warming went into overdrive and all of a sudden, the race for what would do us in was on. Economic collapse, environmental collapse, drought, ocean level rise (slow), and now meltwater pulse (fast). hard to tell which will hit first.
    In any case, I like your Quidnon response to the meltwater pulse. I doubt that I will do anything similar since my wife does not like being on a boat. Still, I think your approach is sound. Flat bottomed dory shaped craft were the boat of choice in the American Arctic since in the absence of harbors, these boats could be run up on the beach and then carried up the shore, tilted on their side to serve as a tent. These boats could also be used for hunting whales off the ice edge since they were easy to get on and off the ice, being light enough for the crew to carry. They are in fact still in use in places like Barrow and Point Hope.
    There are even some reputable archaeologists who have suggested that the first wave of immigrants came to America not by walking but by boat. I am partial to this idea myself. Even in historical times, before the cold war shut down travel between Siberia and Alaska, people crossed the Bering Strait in these flat bottom, walrus hide covered boats to visit relatives and to trade.
    In closing, I would like to suggest that in general, the people who survive calamities are not necessarily the well-prepared but the scrappy individuals for whom collapse has already happened and who are already having to survive without the benefit of an industrial economy generating surplus wealth.

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    1. I don't know how reading this blog can help you. Having a wife that doesn't like boats is the least of your problems. Best get on with your life, then.

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  9. Will navigation become extremely dangerous because of floating debris?
    Sailboats are currently having problems with collisions with nearly submerged shipping containers washed off ships in storms.
    The northeast Pacific Ocean at least from Alaska to Washington is depositing debris from the tsunami in Japan.
    What you describe seems to defeat the purpose of having a boat although your design is less vulnerable underwater.

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    1. Navigation is already very dangerous in a typical commercial fiberglass boat, both sail and power. Foam-cored fiberglass (the favorite construction method) is like eggshell: very strong but very fragile. Collision with any solid object can be fatal. QUIDNON is constructed with solid plywood core, a generous layer of fiberglass over that, and roofing copper to finish it off. It will be able to survive collisions much more easily.

      Hull shape makes a difference as well. Most sailboats hulls are designed to sit low in the water and to cut through it, like a wedge—a wedge made of eggshell! QUIDNON sits mainly on top of the water and is designed to bounce over both waves and submerged objects. It will slide over the top of a submerged shipping container rather than ram it.

      Lastly there is the issue of draft. Sailboats have keels, which tend to hit things underwater. QUIDNON has centerboards and rudder blades that hang down on pivots and kick up when they hit things underwater.

      For all these reasons, QUIDNONs will sail around in conditions that most other boats, both power and sail, will find unnavigable.

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  10. I am not a sailor, but I have sailed. Many large Dutch sailboats use lee boards rather than a centerboard. A centerboard trunk compromises the integrity of the hull. Why not lee boards, Dimitry?

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    1. A centerboard trunk does not compromise the integrity of the hull if it's designed correctly. My previous boat had a centerboard and had no issues at all with hull integrity. The only problem with centerboards is that they usually take up valuable space in the center of the cabin. QUIDNON solves that problem by having two centerboards, angled out slightly. Leeboards suffer from a large number of shortcomings. They are unsightly, they collect debris, they bash against the hull in rough seas, and they end up in the way when docking.

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  11. Your point re. Semi submerged debris is very well made. Thank you for that, I hadn't thought that far ahead - my work in progress currently is a 30' keelboat - although I am working on trying to get a gig in a couple of months to provide me with a CNC router, and have been thinking very seriously about producing some cam files to cut parts for a hogfish (particularly no c.m. is putting up a lot of his design work)

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    1. #...Now c.m.is posting a lot of his design work...

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  12. Coastal salvager... kinda anarchistically romantic. Said flattie might do better south of the equator where the waters might not be so debris laden. The same design accoutrements could apply to a steel sharpie made of salvaged plate, say from a ship breaking operation somewhere with lovely discount paid to the night security guard. Unlike copper it would require perhaps a every few days dive to scrape the bottom but..... do-able (short of a explosion of nasty bacteria mutated by reactors going down here and there).

    This from a diehard shoalie sailor who even finds gravel barges sexy. Scows even more so and tag on those missing ends for some naval architecture orgasmic delight and you have what might actually be a engineless pointer in a slim trim sharpie.

    Lastly, I have tied off to a fixed dock with a approaching tropical storm (in Apalachicola, Fl.) and experienced going out hourly to slack lines jutting down to hidden pilings as the water rose during the storms landfall. Instructional!!!

    Good to see a Quidnon post again. A fun read and thanks.

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    1. Bob, I am more interested in creating kits that people can put together like a giant piece of IKEA furniture, by people who are not particularly handy and have no special skills, so I am going with plywood panels precisely machined. The idea is that just about anybody can pay for the kit and a book of detailed instructions, and assemble a high-quality, safe, long-lasting hull in not very much time. Salvaged steel plate is fine, except that you have to be good with stick welders, grinders and oxyacetylene cutters.

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  14. I have already moved 1000 km inland at an altitude of 1300 m in a mountainous area. So, I expect to be safe. I do not expect too many environmental refugees since life here is difficult at the best of times.

    A meltwater pulse would destroy much of the industrial infrastructure. Even the ones that survive will only operate at a very low output due to lack of energy and raw materials which are mostly shipped in from coastal ports. The higher tech items like GPS will probably be the first ones to shut down as priorities will have changed and the infrastructure to keep them going will have broken down. The more high tech the sooner the collapse? So, maybe you shouldn't count on being able to replace photovoltaics or diesel engine spares easily. Maybe a simple, manual method of generating electricity to keep the vital electronics going or to keep the lights on. Or maybe a small propeller that will turn when the boat is in motion so that it can generate a few watts.


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    1. Well, if you are that far inland, then you aren't going to be sailing... As far as your predictions, making predictions about the future is very difficult and risky. Most people have no idea what happened, never mind what's going to happen.

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  15. This seems to be the first mention of the plastics burner, kiln and digester. I am not familiar with these, what is their function?

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    1. These are all ways of getting energy out of jetsam and flotsam.

      Plastic debris is easiest to collect, because all you need is a net. Plastic is very energy-rich, and burns easily, but unless it is burned at a nigh-enough temperature, it generates dioxins, furans and other toxic products. Unlike cellulose, it doesn't require drying. But it is also not compact and hard to compress, so it takes up a lot of space. A plastics incinerator needs to be able to maintain a temperature between 650º and 1000ºC, and the best designs are dual-chamber, exhaust recirculating type.

      Driftwood (including construction lumber broken up and swept off in floods) is more compact, harder to dry, but can be used to generate charcoal (biochar) which is light and energy-rich while giving off methane, which can be used as a cooking gas.

      A digester is a fermentation vat that is designed to maintain the optimal temperature for thermophilic bacteria to digest all sorts of soft organic wastes, from pond scum to human excrement. It produces cooking gas and fertilizer.

      QUIDNON uses an 4-stoke gasoline outboard in an inboard well instead of a diesel. Gasoline engines can easily be converted to burn methane instead of gasoline (diesel engines will run on methane too, but not too well). So it will be possible to use all these contraptions for propulsion as well as cooking and heat.

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    2. Dmitry,

      My apologies if you consider this an off-topic shitpost, feel free to delete with prejudice if so.

      Your comment on plastic incineration reminded me of a pie in the sky idea I had before I was a parent and was married to a lady with a lot of debt.

      I wondered about purchasing a plastics to oil converter which Blest technologies of Japan claims to have produced. I would collect plastics in the ‘garbage patch’ and use a solar PV system to convert said garbage to a form of oil, which could perhaps be sold to small pacific islands for their power plants, or to shipping companies to use in lieu of bunker fuel. Perhaps you could even clean it up enough to get an API or other commercial grade oil and sell as a feedstock to a plastics company.

      For storage I was going to use a trick I learned watching some old-time French Canadian guys fish a snowmobile out of a frozen lake. My idea would be to use an ‘A’ frame structure with a hinge at the top of each A. With long pipes (maybe logs would work too) and some buoyancy at the bottom (like old propane tanks filled with air or even buoyancy bags) I’d hoist up shipping containers (which are apparently floating loose) by winching the ‘A’ frames from a flat position towards vertical and hold the four legs together with some steel cabling. Once the container could be set vertical, pumped out and lined with some sort of oil-water impermeable barrier it should be able to float on its own in the vertical position since oil has a SG lower than water. Might need some concrete along the end without the door to keep it pointed the right way. Also the contents of said container could be an issue to deal with but I’m assuming once they’re lost at sea salvage laws take over and it wouldn’t be stealing.

      Tethered together you’d have a floating oil storage system that could hopefully be towed behind your vessel as you very slowed chugged your way through the garbage patch at a fraction of a knot.

      The end goal would be to clean up both the garbage patch and whatever stray shipping containers from the ocean you come across. I felt that this could be done for about a quarter of a million to start at a demonstration scale. This is about the same cost as a medical degree BTW. It wouldn’t be profitable until you convinced some company or country to use you as a greenwashing device, although hopefully you would at least get some cute hippie chick interns in bikinis working for you and make some sort of positive contribution to the oceans in the process.

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    3. Dmitry,

      My apologies if you consider this an off-topic shitpost, feel free to delete with prejudice if so.

      Your comment on plastic incineration reminded me of a pie in the sky idea I had before I was a parent and was married to a lady with a lot of debt.

      I wondered about purchasing a plastics to oil converter which Blest technologies of Japan claims to have produced. I would collect plastics in the ‘garbage patch’ and use a solar PV system to convert said garbage to a form of oil, which could perhaps be sold to small pacific islands for their power plants, or to shipping companies to use in lieu of bunker fuel. Perhaps you could even clean it up enough to get an API or other commercial grade oil and sell as a feedstock to a plastics company.

      For storage I was going to use a trick I learned watching some old-time French Canadian guys fish a snowmobile out of a frozen lake. My idea would be to use an ‘A’ frame structure with a hinge at the top of each A. With long pipes (maybe logs would work too) and some buoyancy at the bottom (like old propane tanks filled with air or even buoyancy bags) I’d hoist up shipping containers (which are apparently floating loose) by winching the ‘A’ frames from a flat position towards vertical and hold the four legs together with some steel cabling. Once the container could be set vertical, pumped out and lined with some sort of oil-water impermeable barrier it should be able to float on its own in the vertical position since oil has a SG lower than water. Might need some concrete along the end without the door to keep it pointed the right way. Also the contents of said container could be an issue to deal with but I’m assuming once they’re lost at sea salvage laws take over and it wouldn’t be stealing.

      Tethered together you’d have a floating oil storage system that could hopefully be towed behind your vessel as you very slowed chugged your way through the garbage patch at a fraction of a knot.

      The end goal would be to clean up both the garbage patch and whatever stray shipping containers from the ocean you come across. I felt that this could be done for about a quarter of a million to start at a demonstration scale. This is about the same cost as a medical degree BTW. It wouldn’t be profitable until you convinced some company or country to use you as a greenwashing device, although hopefully you would at least get some cute hippie chick interns in bikinis working for you and make some sort of positive contribution to the oceans in the process.

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    4. LOL!

      I was once involved in a project to construct a neutrino observatory on the ocean bottom off the coast of Hawaii. It consisted of strings of very expensive photomultiplier tubes tethered to the ocean bottom, supplied with high voltage and wired to a high-speed data acquisition system and a nanosecond-resolution clock circuit (which I designed). The project was renamed "Feeding Phototubes to the Sharks" before being terminated due to lack of phototubes. So it goes...

      Getting rid of all debt isn't sexy (no matter what woman is involved) but essential, so I'd concentrate on that.

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  16. With this type of sail boat, do you think it's practical to use up and down the Hudson River or on other US inland water routes? Most notably, sailing without using the motor? Great post!

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    1. It should be possible to get about 100 miles up the Hudson just by sailing and riding the tides, although lower Hudson is very busy and an engine is needed to maneuver around tugs and barges.

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  17. Sea level rise will be the least of our worries. As the polar ice caps melt the planetary thermostat fails and the flora and fauna will die off at an exponential rate. I believe most if not all complex life forms will be gone sometime around the 4C above baseline stage which may only equate to a metre or two of sea level rise.
    Check out Professor Guy McPherson's website Nature Bats Last at guymcpherson.com and listen to him, myself and Jennifer Hynes discuss the Arctic Methane risk via livestream here.
    https://www.facebook.com/notes/kevin-hester/positive-feedback-loops-tipping-points-explained/10204216696510294?hc_location=ufi

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    1. There is climate reality, which is measurable and observable, and I look at it and extrapolate it. There are also climate theories, which so far have been far shy of the mark. And then there are people who take climate theory and draw cataclysmic conclusions from it. I am sure that there will be a die-off in human populations, both urban and rural, but there is no basis for claiming that humans will be extinct in the near term. The logic that nothing should be done because we're all going to die seems laughable to me.

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    2. D,It's not about doing nothing', it's about accepting the reality of total collapse of the biosphere.
      With the collapse of industrial civilisation we have 430 odd nuclear meltdowns and 1200 spent fuel pool fires which will be much worse.
      Guy McPherson is an award winning conservation biologist, he believes the fauna will completely fail, with the dying of our oceans and the loss of phyto plankton, coupled with the loss of forests we have no oxygen generators anymore.
      We will choke to death and die from hitting our wet bulb temperature

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    3. I know Guy McPherson. He makes a giant leap from some scientific predictions to "We're all gonna die," said in the most boring tone of voice imaginable. I guess we are supposed to take that on board and go through some kind of grieving process. How boring!

      Well, I am not dead yet, and I'll grieve when I'm dead. But I do see some obvious risks, which I intend to address by designing and building the cheapest, safest, most self-sufficient, low-maintenance, versatile sailboats possible. If you aren't interested in this project, then, if you don't mind me asking, what are you doing on this blog?

      If you have a chance, ask Guy about reforestation: once human dieoff runs its course and there is no more agriculture, and farmland reverts to forest, that's a powerful negative feedback, isn't it? And it generates oxygen too, doesn't it?

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  18. Dmitry:

    If you are intent on living on water, you should considered the Great Lakes? The meltwater pulse will not be a problem. Lake Ontario, the lowest lake, is 243' above sea level. Since you seem also attached to the northland, you could try Lake Superior. It is 591 feet above the problems. If you get tired of the water you can find some taiga not too far off.
    The tides on the lakes are negligible. And the best news is you can drink the stuff. They contain 21% of the world's surface fresh water. No gerry cans are needed to haul water needed.
    There is also a lot of coast line.
    Are there any suitable lakes in Mother Russia?

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    1. The Great Lakes aren't so great for living on the water, except maybe in the summer. Too cold. Lake Superior shoreline is basically a pile of rocks, best navigated by kayak.

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  19. Dmitry,

    Do you have any thought on dealing with the toxic stew generated by submerged chemical plants and oi refineries? How about nuclear plants? Is there a part of the world you think will be less impacted by these problems?

    Also your thoughts on food production if you please?

    Your inclusion of a plastic burner, a kiln and a digester is brilliant. Any other tricks up your sleeve?

    Best,

    Wade

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    1. Wade,

      These are side-issues to the problem of designing and building QUIDNON. The response to chemical and nuclear contamination is to find river estuaries that are relatively uncontaminated and camp out there. Being extremely shoal draft, a QUIDNON can sail or be towed up even quite shallow streams to locations no large boat could ever reach.

      As far as food, being a mobile food storage platform, QUIDNON can be used to grow and gather food across a large territory, dry it, smoke it, salt it, and store plenty of it.

      One trick that would be neat to try is to pull the outboard out of the engine well and replace it with run-of-the-river electric generator. Then QUIDNON could be anchored in mid-stream where there are a few knots of current (river or tidal) and generate plenty of electricity without having to burn anything or depend on the sun and the wind.

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  20. Just ran into the Quidnon for the first time today. I desperately want one, but apparently they aren't quite on the market yet. Where did this blog start? How do I start at the beginning to find out more?

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    1. Look at the blog archive. It allows you to go back to the very beginning, a year a and a half ago.

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