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 four-bedroom with a kitchen, a bathroom/sauna, a dining room and a living 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. 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, February 6, 2018

Specifically Useful or Generally Useless?

I once made a cockpit awning. It was a fiberglass-over-plywood affair. Not only was it a cockpit awning, but it also could have been pressed into service as a mediocre paddleboard, a bus shelter for small children and/or midgets, a roof for a tiny gazebo, a protest sign, a miniature frog pond and, of course, a planter. It turned out to be a universally useful/useless piece of crap, depending on how you looked at it.

It started well. I used 1/16-inch Luan for the top and narrow slats of 1/2-inch for the frame, which I cut to gentle curves that made the top into a cold-molded conic section with just a tiny bit of spherical distortion for added stiffness. I filleted the inside joints, sealed the plywood with epoxy, fiberglassed and faired the top… and then I tossed it. Actually, I gave it to some artists, thinking they might use it for some sort of art installation. It didn’t make that good a cockpit awning: too heavy, too difficult to mount securely, plus it added too much windage aft. I didn’t think it would survive a hurricane (unlike the hard dodger I made earlier, which survived passing close to the eye of Hurricane Matthew with no damage).

I did most of the work on sawhorses on the floating dock at the marina. All of the other marina denizens, who mostly just sat on their boats and got drunk, were rather enthusiastic, and a few even tossed some business my way, fixing stuff on their boats. But the marina staff were less enthusiastic, talked about made-up “customer complaints” and eventually exiled me, together with my sawhorses and tools, to a windless, gravel-paved back lot, where I worked roasting in the sun. The hostile work environment probably had something to do with the project’s ultimate failure, but mostly I blame myself, for not spending enough time on the design phase.

There are plenty of designs that are specifically useful for their stated purpose, but are otherwise completely useless. In this category are special-purpose tools, like the egg slicer or the lemon juicer. Yes, they make short work of slicing hard-boiled eggs or juicing lemons, but beyond that they just add clutter. In a pinch, both can be used to prop open doors and windows, and the egg slicer makes a tiny out-of-tune harp, in case you are ever in need of a really pathetic sound effect. But that’s it.

Lots of boat designs are the same way. Most yachts, for instance, are only useful for showing off how rich the owner is (or was before he bought the yacht). Sporty ones are only good for pounding across the seas slightly faster than the competition and in great discomfort. Shantyboats, sailing scows and single-wides floating on barges or pontoons are cheap to maintain and comfortable to live aboard, but they give harbormasters and marina managers the vapors because they don’t look sufficiently yacht-like.

In setting out to design Quidnon, my objective was to create something sufficiently versatile to make it one’s single most valuable possession. It is a houseboat, a motorboat, a sailboat, a party boat and a beach house. It can handle deep water as well as the shallows. This level of versatility calls for some amount of compromise, and the question is, How much compromise is too much? “Better is the enemy of good enough” is a good saying, but how does one go about determine what’s good enough? And when should the alarm go off to indicate that a design has cross the line between generally useful and generally useless?

This requires lots of careful thought, and that is why the design phase of the Quidnon project is taking a few years rather than a few months. A typical boat for a rich guy to show off on or for a charter fleet is relatively easy to design. The design of a very unusual boat that will be useful as a home and a magic carpet to many different kinds of people all over the planet is far more challenging. And yet I think we’ve come quite far. A dozen or so well-defined design tasks stand between us and a set of plans from which we can build the first hull.

I know that are number of you are waiting for that moment. I am sorry to make you wait, and to make up for that somewhat I want to share with you the complete list of tasks to be completed before we can produce the design plans. Very importantly, these tasks need to be thought through before they can be drawn. As they say in the world of software, “with enough eyes, all bugs are shallow.” So far, this has been the case with Quidnon as well: over time, good ideas have been added and bad ideas eliminated simply through knowledgeable, thoughtful people asking good questions. If a question doesn’t get asked, a bad idea can stick around for a long time.

A case in point: Willie, a marine engineer who recently joined the project, asked a simple question: Why are there twin rudder blades? The boat doesn’t heel much, so angling the rudder blades doesn’t add much to the performance. The Ackermann steering geometry requires a complex (and expensive) linkage. And accommodating the twin rudders complicates the hull shape at the transom. Why not have one rudder, located amidships, where it can deflect the prop wash, for better maneuverability?

Some of this logic also applies to the twin keelboards. If the boat only heels 12º even when pressed hard (as shown by the scale model) then angling the boards has little benefit. But the second board does add complexity and cost; why not get rid of it and just have a single centerboard? It can be mounted off-center, as in some of Phil Bolger’s designs, to keep the center of the cabin unobstructed by the centerboard trunk.

And the answer is, I initially added the twin keelboards and rudders before I knew how little Quidnon would heel, and I didn’t revisit the question because until recently nobody had asked it. So, please ask! With that in mind, here are the known tasks to work out.

• Add a small deck arch at the bow to serve as a mast support

When the masts are taken down, they fit within the overall length of the boat while sitting on the deck arches with the sails (along with spars and battens) slung below them. But the masts are unsupported at the bow. Adding a post at the bow would preclude a boarding ladder from being deployed off the bow. This is useful when docking bow-to (to pick up or drop off passengers quickly), when nosing up on a beech or to an ice floe, etc. The arch should be skinny so as to not obstruct the view forward. And it should not incorporate vents, as do the other two deck arches, because there is often too much spray at the bow that would make it through. Ventilation for the U-berth will need to be provided in some other way, such as through airducts run under the cabin sole.

UPDATE: In response to this, Matt suggested that the mast tabernacles incorporate shelves to support the masts. This is a very good idea. The foremast is close enough to the bow so that this change would make no difference. Mast shelves on the mainmast would be useful too: when the mainmast is first lowered down and the tabernacle hinge pin removed, the forward end of the mast needs to rest on something before it can be pulled forward. The mast shelves should extend aft of the mast tabernacle hinges so the masts can rest on them as soon as they are unhinged.

• Add dinghy forks aft

This is a relatively small detail, but important. There is ample room for storing multiple dinghies on deck, but it is often helpful to be able to deploy a dinghy quickly. Setting a dinghy upside-down on dinghy forks that slide out from the transom and lashing it down securely is in many ways optimal, and in my experience better than hanging the dinghy from dinghy davits so that it rocks, accumulates spray and rainwater and blocks the view aft. The dinghy forks can be used as dinghy davits when Quidnon is at anchor or at the dock, just to lift it out of the water, to keep it from accumulating marine growth and to give would-be dinghy thieves second thoughts.

• Add skids to the bottoms of keelboard trunks

Having straight skids is useful in a number of cases, such as rolling the boat ashore over round sticks and dragging it onto and across ice. If one of the keelboards is eliminated, there will still be two longitudinal full bulkheads that can be extended below the bottom to form the skids. The bottoms of the skids will need to be fiberglassed heavily and finished with epoxy thickened with graphite powder to provide a durable, low-friction surface.

• Finalize design of sliding doors

There are a few places where two-panel “Star Trek” sliding doors (minus the silly swish-swish noise) make a lot of sense. We already have a good design that uses counterweights on loops of cable to keep the panels from sliding open or closed as the boat rocks. It just needs a couple of tweaks. The main one is to have two counterweights—top and bottom—to compensate for angular momentum.

• Design stoves for heads and galley

The two stoves can be identical. They need to be able to burn propane, wood or charcoal. When burning propane, burners are inserted into what is normally the ash pan; the firebox can then be used for baking or broiling. The top of the stove is a cooking surface for the galley stove and a rock heating surface (to make steam for the sauna) in the heads. There need to be two thermostatically controlled louvers to divert flue gas flow to two heat exchangers. One heat exchanger is air-to-air, the other is air-to-water. The hot air is piped around through ducts under the cabin sole and to the cockpit well, for heating. The hot water is piped through an insulated hot water tank, to be used for washing and bathing. In freezing weather, some of the hot water needs to be piped to the water ballast tanks, to keep them from freezing.

• Rework joinery to use “screw and glue” rather than “mortise and tenon”

The scale model, and the earlier plan, used a lot of mortise and tenon joinery. It worked quite well in some places and less well in others. Specifically, it worked well for orthogonal joints and badly for joining elements on a curve. And it suffered from three major overall defects: 1. because the joints had to be kept a bit sloppy to make assembly possible, it soaked up a lot of epoxy, adding weight and expense; 2. it turned out to be rather difficult to calculate the strength of these joints; and 3. a lot depended on how carefully the joints were filled with epoxy, leaving open the possibility of voids that would concentrate moisture and cause rot and in pinholes that would produce small leaks. For all of these reasons, we decided to use a much simpler joinery technique of using square or beveled fir sticks and screwing and gluing the plywood panels to them. This technique is time-tested, the pull strengths of fasteners and the holding power of epoxy joints are both well known, and the skill level required to achieve good results is quite low. But quite a bit of structural analysis needs to happen in order to determine the appropriate sizes and spacings of screws.

• Rework the shape of the bow and the transom

With the twin rudders gone, the shape of the transom is simplified. Previously, the bottom, where it meets the sides of the transom, had to be angled; now it can only be curved in one direction: fore-and-aft. The bow needs to be made deeper in order to compensate for the loss of some 3 tonnes of fixed ballast aft by adding a shallow stem to it, as I explained in a previous post. The addition of the stem will also help sweep aside floating debris and bits of thin ice. The exact shape of the bow will be determined by running Orca3D hydrostatic simulations, to make sure that the boat sits on its lines.

• Rework bow construction technique

This didn’t work out so well on the scale model because the curves are too tight to be cold-molded. I ended up having to steam-bend plywood, which is not something we should expect Quidnon assemblers to be comfortable doing. Plan B is to use a single layer of 1/8-inch plywood to create the shape, then use it as a male mold to lay up as much fiberglass as needed to give it the necessary stiffness and strength. On the other side of the 1/8-inch plywood will be a lattice of thicker plywood to support the shape from the inside.

• Rework sheer strip assembly, hull and deck joints

A major problem when assembling the scale model had to do with fitting the sheer strips, which were two layers of plywood. At least 3 layers of 1/2-inch plywood will be needed for the full-scale build. The holes for the deadlights didn’t line up and prevented the sheer strips from developing a smooth curve. It took a lot of clamps to keep it from becoming lumpy. So, the revised plan is to make the deadlight holes using a hole saw or a jig saw and a router post-assembly. Also, after a bit of math it turned out that the deck-to-sheer strip and sheer strip-to-topside joints needed reinforcement. The simplest way is to use perforated aluminum angles rolled to the right and curve and attached using stainless steel mechanical screws with fender washers and nuts. That’s a lot of hardware, but deck-to-hull joints are critical and notorious for developing problems.

• Rework the rudder to use a single, central rudder blade

The rudder blade assembly can be tucked under the transom into the recess between the engine well and the transom that is directly below the gas tank and the propane locker. The recess is already there so that the back of the engine well doesn’t catch waves or prop wash from the motor. The entire Ackermann linkage goes away (along with several thousand dollars’ worth of expensive hardware). Some amplification of the tiller angle using an adjustable linkage between it and the telescoping tiller extension may still be required to keep the useful swing range of the tiller inside the cockpit.

• Convert inboard sides of keelboard trunks into full-height, vertical, longitudinal bulkheads, then get rid of the port keelboard and its keelboard trunk.

This was a major area of concern. There is a lot of side force on the keelboard trunks from both the keelboards and the mass of the water ballast. The longitudinal bulkheads will have openings in them through which to access the pilot berths, which are on top of the ballast tanks, and the sides of these openings may need to be reinforced with vertical ribs.

• Create plumbing, electrical and air duct schematics

The plumbing schematic exists; the electrical schematic needs to be created. The routing for all of them needs to be laid out and components selected.

• Design engine mount

Similar engine mounts, in which the motor slides up and down instead of tilting, exist for catamarans, so it may be possible to repurpose or borrow an existing design.

• Complete design of standing and running rigging

The standing and running rigging for the sails needs to be tested on a physical prototype at 1:5 or 1:4 scale to work out where to place the blocks, etc. Of specific concern are the details of the mast parrels, the placement of halyard and downhaul for optimum sail tension, and the placement on boom and battens of sheets and reefing lines. Take-up spools for running rigging (which will live under the cockpit well, above the chain in the chain locker) need to be designed as well.

This is the list as it stands at the moment. A few more items will probably need to be added as we move along. If you have the time, the skills and the inclination to tackle some of these, please let me know; we are, of course, looking for more engineers to join the team. The work is on a volunteer basis until the project reaches the equity crowdfunding stage.

If any of this brings up questions in your mind, please ask! That’s the main purpose of this exercise—to see if anyone can poke holes in our plans, or open us up to ideas we haven’t thought of or considerations we haven’t been aware of.

49 comments:

  1. Your Quidnon project, while far more involved, reminds me of a boat my father (an ex-merchant seaman) and I put together when I was young. The harbor on Lake Ontario where we lived served as a wrecking yard for old freighters in those days and we purchased and old wooden dinghy off one which we converted into a small sailboat. An aluminum mast, a single tiller and copious amounts of epoxy and fiberglass produced a nimble little craft for short excursions at a trifling cost. We christened it 'The Gluenose' and had a great deal of fun with it until he traded it one day for a checque that proved 'NSF' and ultimately unredeemable. Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. ;-)

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  2. When I built my Ruby, a 30' sternwheel catamaran with electric propulsion, I did exhaustive planning and drawings. I bought an aluminum welding rig that used batteries to power it, most welding was one 12v and one 6v to make 18v. Some heavy stuff was two 12v. I had a couple of each and would rotate them through my solar charger system so I always had top up batteries. True solar construction. Yes I am that big of an idiot.

    Anyway in the beginning I stuck to the plans religiously and would occasionally find that in reality some things just work as planned. Straying from the plan was very difficult for me at first but what was more difficult was finishing a section and then realizing that there is a much better design, then having to work myself up to starting that section all over. I never regretted doing that after getting down to it. Eventually I slowed down a bit and started to kind of pre-build a bit in my head and see if it still made sense. All in all it was a most wonderful experience and we really enjoy weekend trips up and down the willamette.

    Cheers!
    Jef

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    1. The process you describe is pretty much the process we've been following, not physically (mostly, except for the scale model) but in our heads and in software. I've lost count of the number of seemingly good but actually bad ideas we've discarded along the way. And it is disconcerting how long it sometimes takes for a really simple, obvious idea to pop into someone's head.

      Quidnon is for people who need a place to live that sometimes needs to move over water, don't have much money (not enough for real estate), don't have much interest in doing boat design, and not much time to get the project finished and move aboard. So, all the mental gymnastics have to be done up front, before we sell the first kit.

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  3. Don't want to be negative, but I can buy a few acres of land for less than $25,000, possibly with a run-down house and water on it, while this boat will cost more than that. But my main concern with the Quidnon is thieves at the shore. Folks can just walk onto boats at a dock and take what they want. What precautions are you taking or will be taking to prevent theft of your boat's contents, or even your life? It seems way too dangerous to me. Especially if the SHTF, people will be crazy to raid whatever can be raided.

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    1. Sorry to have to recite chapter and verse, but most of the piracy is on land. If you own land, you pay taxes, or the land gets taken away; therefore, you are actually renting it from the government. And if you rent... well, then there's nothing to discuss. But if you own a boat free and clear, then you are, in fact, free. But, listen, if you want to be a landlubber, that's cool too. I know a cabin in the Novgorod region of Russia where you can squat for the rest of your life. Comes with 10 acres, close to a river, and last I checked the roof was intact and there's plenty of dry firewood in the shed. To each his own.

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    2. Good points, Dmitry. Not to nag, but you didn't answer my concerns for safety from bandits at the docks. Isn't that a real danger? You have a wife, and kids, I think. Are you concerned for their safety when you leave the boat for a bit? Are you serious about that cabin? Thanks.

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    3. https://i.pinimg.com/236x/38/bc/f8/38bcf82c3822313034656af7caec5ee9--john-mulaney-trigonometry.jpg

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    4. People who live aboard generally enjoy security that is vastly superior to most places on land. Marinas have locking gates, security, video cameras, plus liveaboards look out for each other. And if you live at anchor, then you automatically have a moat around you and can see who's coming from half a mile away. The only problem I've ever heard of was a bum who tried to sneak aboard an unoccupied boat to get out of the weather. In bad times, the bandits are too preoccupied with looting rich-looking mansions to even look at boats. Frankly, I am really tired of answering the "What about pirates?" question. Those were mostly in the movies. Either that or they worked for the government.

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  4. Dmitry, what do you think of "Fail early, fail often" mantra? I read about Elan Musk selling flame-throwers, did you consider selling scale models of Quidnon?

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    1. Yes, we've discussed various such things, but what we need to focus on is getting to a point where we have complete plans from which we can build boats.

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  5. Could the forward mast have its tabernacle higher so the lower section of mast remains in place and becomes the needed support post for the rest of the stowed rig?

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    1. Not quite. The tabernacles have to be at the exact height that allows the mast to be attached by sliding it around on the deck arches and the hinge pin driven home. But it does make sense to build a shelf onto the mast tabernacles, at the exact height, for the masts to sit on. And, yes, this gets rid of the need of the forward post. Hurrah! Great idea! Thanks!

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    2. No worries. As you say; more sets of eyes and brains applied to the problems will solve them faster. :-)

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  6. Just cheering this project on. I am too old and lazy and too devoted to gardening to want to live on board, but I love the idea. Reply to the security question: 100% safe or 100 % right is never an option. We get to choose the direction in which to make our mistakes.



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    1. Herb gardening on a boat is something worth pursuing. Where the land meets water tends to be some of the very best potting soil in the world.

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  7. Thomas Colvin (R.I.P. you grand master designer-builder-sailor) said something similar to this posts title: just because something is possibly possible doesn't mean it's necessarily necessary. Good on the open mindedness to incorporate improvements from outside. Colvins innate sense of what worked seemed to come from having his own small shipyard and actually performance testing many different designs, often tried and true hull forms he wonderfully tweaked (i.e. "Gazelle").

    I'd posit dual centerboards but longitudinally. WoodenBoat magazine #247 has a write-up on "Ocean Pearl", a dual centerboarded, 62 foot Presto sharpie type hull that self steered on all points of sail by balancing various combinations of the dual boards and the ketch rig. A history of ocean voyaging in her. Another WoodenBoat article, on self righting sharpies, extols the virtues of two CBs as well.

    Lastly, one can't even begin to quantify the benefits of having a paid-off, easily relocatable home: supremely adaptable to changing conditions or simply wanderlust whims. Even down here south of the border, with $130/mo. country house rent and $5/mo. power bills, we are painfully aware of our precarious position landlocked on someone elses property living at their behest and us paying for that condition!! To say nothing of being sitting ducks for predators in a collapse situation, despite having good neighbors. We remember our liveaboard days fondly.

    Wannabe happy sea campers might grind this formula into their heads: F=A+M (freedom equals anonymity plus mobility). Sailboat living rocks.

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  8. Lived aboard for 3 years and loved it myself. I'd anticipated it would be a negative I had to pay in order to save the money for extended cruising, but found it to be quite the opposite.

    I ultimately grew concerned with issues such as energy depletion and health, and decided a good homestead/farm was the way to go. 10 years into that... I've come to two realizations: I'm only as prepared as my neighbors (i.e. not very) no matter how well prepared I am. Second is that I'm not likely to be able to continue farming successfully in the face of increasing drought conditions, and that a 10-20% failure rate is all it takes to push viability over the edge.

    At this point I'm thinking it best just to enjoy the time we have left, and go back to a sailboat -- probably the nicest way to travel the world, while it remains a possibility.

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    1. You sound like a potential Quidnon owner, provided you can find a buyer for your homestead.

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  9. Dmitry, have you considered the possibility of constructing the Quidnon out of steel? I remember the Tahitiana (sp) from some years ago. The issue then was making a 3 dimensional object from 2 dimensional materials. But it seems that has been somewhat of a problem with the wood and epoxy route for you as well? I would think that with newer methods- plasma (hand or cnc) cutting and wirefeed welders that steel could be an option. Having welded and made small boats of all fiberglass/kevlar with polyester and epoxy resins, right now I would tend to favor welding over hand laid glass. As you pointed out in your book Technosphere, there will be steel for salvage for a long time. Maybe not so much for epoxy, a petrochemical? I would think that the materials cost for steel could not be more than epoxy and glass, though I may be wrong. It could be possible to have a cnc plasma cutter make all of the bits. Deliver to the work site. Perhaps making modifications to the hull after it was built would be easier as well?

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    1. Quidnon is a HOUSEboat, and small houses tend to be built out of wood. Stone and brick covered in plaster are also a good choice, but they don't float. Wood for warmth and a solid feel, fiberglass for structural strength are a good combination. I know corrugated steel shacks are popular in places like El Salvador and Guatemala, but I don't think that that's the target market for Quidnon, since the kit price will be around $50k and the average income in those countries is well below $2k/year.

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    2. Ok! Wood/fiberglass it is. I will wander over to your crowd sourcing site and make a small donation to the project. Will this houseboat also have a Русская печь?

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    3. The crowdsourcing thing is over, but if you want to donate please PayPal some money to my wife, natasha dot orlov at gmail, and I'll move it in the right account. We'll probably put it towards supplies for the 1:4 scale model, which we'll build to insure assembly and to do towing and stability tests, etc.

      As far as the Russian stove, there is no room for a stone foundation or a massive masonry vault, so we'll have the next best thing. There will be a flex fuel furnace in both the heads and the galley, each of which will incorporate thermostatically controlled heat exchangers (regulated by deflecting flue gas), one for air, one for water. The hot air will be ducted around beneath the cabin sole, to give the entire cabin a warm feel, under all the berths especially. The hot water will be used for washing and bathing, and also to keep the water ballast tanks at some comfortable temperature, like 10ºC, so that there is no danger of freezing. The furnaces will run on either propane, wood or charcoal. There is also the possibility of adding a smoker, a large cooking pot or vat, drying racks, etc. In all, it should have all of the versatility of русская печь/баня.

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  10. Just another cheer-along for the project. I love the idea of Quindon and as someone who gets seasick I've always assumed it wouldn't be an option for me. I'm starting to think that I may have been too hasty.
    In response to the chap who can get a house for $25k, that's amazing. In Australia a shack on an acre would still be around $250k+ in all but the most remote areas. We seem to have a very high cost for housing. We also have droughts (bushfires and floods) more often than not. On the other hand we have some truly marvellous river and lake systems as well as the odd decent habour and bay. Yes, plenty of people in Australia will think $50k USD to be a very reasonable price for Quindon. (You would struggle to get anything but the most minimal campervan setup for less than that.)

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    1. Seasickness is the result of your brain thinking that the strange motion detected by your inner ear is a result of poisoning, and that you should therefore vomit. There are various tricks to teach your brain that it's wrong: looking at the horizon; keeping a foot and a hand on horizontal surfaces, applying pressure to various pressure points (giving the brain something better to worry about) and so on. In any case, this instinctual response, which we inherited from who knows what and when, can be overcome.

      Much of the intention behind Quidnon is as a lifehack against a fact of life in most Western countries: in these countries, real estate has been turned into a racket—a method of sucking all wealth out of the population and concentrating it in as few hands as possible. Waterways are about the only places where you can squat legally in public, making a boat an obvious choice.

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    2. You'll also find -- if you ever choose to live-aboard a boat, that the constant motion -- even at a dock in a marina -- desensitizes you, to the point where you're likely immune to seasickness. This seemed to be the case for my wife. Though... I've heard of other folks say that they would get "seasick" even before boarding the boat; anxiety is likely a strong factor as well. Familiarity with boat life would presumably help here also.

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    3. Thank you both for the explanations (and encouragement) for dealing with seasickness. I appreciate it.

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    4. Just one more minor point on seasickness, for the sake of completeness: it is of itself never fatal, but people can develop dry heaves, when they can't hold liquids down, and then die of dehydration. And the solution is... to squirt water up their butts. That's above and beyond the call of duty for most crew, but when lives are at stake you do what you have to. If you want to get fancy, saline with glucose is an even better idea. One of those hanging enema bags with a hose and a nozzle is a good piece of on-board emergency equipment.

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    5. The downside to water 'squatting' is that you have to be able to provide for your own utilities. The standard method for doing this by liveaboards is to rent a marina slip with water and electric hookups. Renting a marina slip is expensive, and subjects the liveaboard family to the same kind of indirect rackets that people who live on the hard must deal with. If your boat has ample storage of drinking water, sewage holding, and electricity; you can manage fairly cheaply by regularly visiting a pump-out dock, probably during your weekly grocery/supply run. But this only works for couples that are accustomed to water & power conservation. The savings has as much to do with adjusting the lifestyle to fit with the available resources as it does with avoiding property taxes. It's entirely possible to save just as much by choosing to live in a small condo outside of the big city, and practicing similar conservation of water and power resources. Condos can't move very easily, however.

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  11. Rare is the salty, sea going woman partner who buys into full time cruising. But many will fly to the next port, or archipelago, after husband has moved the boat with friends. A sailing HOUSE boat entices that reluctant partner to MAYBE share the boat life dream if it doesn't include bashing to windward in cold seas, the constant bracing to move about the pitching vessel, 360 degree desertic horizons, etc..

    A chance to actually make boat living a LONG term proposition.

    For the forlorn, deluded, semi-insane (repeatedly trying to get a dirt dwelling woman onto a boat) sub moron who finally realizes his woman is destined to trod the widows walk awaiting his return from sea perhaps there is "Little Quiddie", the handy dandy 24 foot version. Or its ilk.

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    1. I single-handed from port to port, then had my family join me once I was once again comfortably at the dock. That definitely works.

      We'll probably build a 1:4 scale model. Could be interesting for the lone bachelor or the husband of a landlubber woman. Could also work as a Viking burial ship, to save on undertaking expenses when the time comes.

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    2. D - there is a small sail boat design I played around on 30 years ago or so that reminds me of Quids lines a bit called a Pelican. Rarely healed more than a couple degrees even in a stink.

      "Some people call it “the ugliest boat afloat”. Others
      call it the safest twelve-foot sailboat ever designed. What is it?
      Read on."

      http://www.duckworksmagazine.com/07/designs/pelican/

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    3. I am glad there is a successful design with a 2:1 length/beam ratio. I thought I was pushing it with 2.25:1, which is what Quidnon has. Quidnon also sails a little better because of the fancy bow. Instead of a forward transom, it carries the chines all the way to the centerpoint of the bow and has a bit of a stem, so it's an asymmetric V hull when heeled over that starts with a bluff cutwater for a clean entry.

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    4. A Viking style burial at sea! I know the perfect boat for that! It's called a Prism, and it's made from one standard sheet of plywood with a maximum displacement of just over 1000 pounds. Just long enough and wide enough for the body, a sizable stone to keep the body down, and firewood to destroy itself as it floats out to sea. I think I might add a dissolving bottom plug just to make sure. Something that saltwater would eat through in a day or two, like a small steel rivet. I've also thought about building a Prism just for the hell of it, and making a watertight top for it. So the entire thing could be used as a storage box that can float in a pinch. Sort of like how explorers would use an extra canoe to pull cargo along without tripping over it in their main boat. Add some sheet foam to the inside, another layer of fiberglass and you've got a great cooler.

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    5. Nevermind. Burial at sea using a floating pyre is forbidden by US environmental law and international treaties. Could still use the Prism boat at a casket though. As a veteran, I've just learned that the US Navy will gladly drop my corpse into the open ocean for the cost of transporting my lifeless body to the nearest US Naval port, the cost of the flag, and any accessories. A casket isn't even necessary, wrapped in muslin cloth is good enough. One more veteran's benefit I had never heard about before.

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  12. Why do the dinghy forks need to slide out? Can they be hinged to fold against the transom when not in use? They could serve a dual purpose of hanging the dinghy, or holding it upside down. Keeping everything external would simplify the design and make it an add-on.
    Regarding hull reinforcements to roll up on a beach, I was under the impression that the chine runners would be taking the load. Have they been designed out? Could they serve this purpose?
    For changing the twin keelboards to a single, here's a thought. If the keelboard were mounted along the centerline of the boat, the housing could form the table's center support, providing a dual function. The bench seats along the sides could be eliminated or optional, and the table could become a drop leaf and stowed when not in use. You would have a knee wall up the center of the boat, but room enough to walk on both sides. For smaller dinners, only half the table would need to be set up. It would also provide a hand hold to the u-berth in rough seas. Perhaps it could even be tied into the core frame structure of the ship.
    On the single vs. dual rudders, will they still be weighted for neutral buoyancy and designed to pivot out of the way if an object is struck? Will there be room to pivot inside the engine well?

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    1. The simplest, and probably the best, design for the dinghy forks is as tapered timbers that slide out over the deck in brackets that are tied directly into the timber frame below deck. Then it's just two sticks and four pieces of bent steel plate.

      The chine runners serve a lot of purposes: tacking through shallows, sailing off the wind, providing a toehold for climbing aboard over the side, protecting the chine when inadvertently bashing into something. But they don't help at all when hauling out.

      I've lived with a centerboard trunk in the center of the boat for 5 years and didn't like it. The salon table is going to be entirely removable, so that the cabin sole can be used for many other things (such as stowage for cargo). And with a hull this wide that heels so little (10-12º) there is really no reason not to have a single off-centerboard.

      Both the keelboard and the rudder blade will be set up to kick up when they hit something, and ballasted just enough to float down in still water. When moving, a hauldown line with a tension release will keep them from deflecting up. The tension releases will fire with a bang, serving as depth sounders of last resort. When moving slowly (as one should when negotiating shallow spots) the ballast will be sufficient to keep them down.

      Having the motor pivot seems like a good idea until you try it. Yes, that's how little motor boats steer, but for bigger boats it doesn't quite work. I had a pivoting motor on Hogfish, and eventually got rid of the pivoting gear because it threw off the alignment. What you want is to aim the prop wash exactly along the centerline and leave it there. In the end, I decided that a motor pivot is a poor and expensive substitute for knowing what you are doing, just as a bow thruster is a poor and expensive substitute for a long boathook with which to push the bow out when casting off and a long bow line with which to pull the bow in when docking.

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    2. I must have misread, thinking the single (pivoting) rudder would be relocated to inside the motor well (and questioning the clearance issues associated with that), as opposed to the dual rudders bolted to the transom. Agreed that a pivoting outboard would create all sorts of new steering linkage and clearance concerns, and doesn't intuitively seem that it would do anything positive for performance.
      If the centerboard is a nuisance, why not leeboards? They wouldn't exactly show off how rich the owners are (or were), but might simplify the design and construction.
      Stepping back to look at it, you're reinforcing the water ballast tank structure to adequately support a centerboard, whose forces are concentrated on a small pivot, and whose purpose is to counteract the force of the sail. It sounds like something that needs to be rethought. Plus, won't the angle (and shape) need to change going from dual to single?

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    3. We will probably go with a single rudder bolted to the transom, with the rudder blade pivot tucked under the transom in the recess between the transom and the engine well.

      Leeboards are ugly, noisy and catch floating debris. We discarded them as an idea for this design a long time ago.

      The forces of the keelboard(s) are not concentrated on the pin on which it is hung. They are mostly on the edges of the slot and on the walls of the keelboard trunk around the top of the keelboard. The angle changes from 10º to 0º when going from 2 boards to 1, but the shape can stay the same provided we prove that the amount of lateral resistance is sufficient.

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  13. Like pretty much all so far. For a possible alternative bow design suggest google 'New Zealand Scow'. An alternative centre board design by the late Jim Young. Board folds back into a slot under the cockpit. The board is pivoted forward of the cockpit. Folds under the cockpit like an old time cut throat razor. The board forward of the cockpit is narrower and folds up into a trunk that slopes forward and tucks under the companion ladder. Cockpit drains lead into the centreboard trunk.

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    1. I believe we have improved on traditional scow designs, for both better appearance and better performance. And locating the centerboard under the cockpit wouldn't work for this design.

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  14. I have an idea for consideration, but I don't know that it's possible with the current design. Regarding the inboard mounted outboard engine; assuming that it's mounted on some kind of vertical sled, would it be possible to mount a second vertical sled in the same outboard well? Perhaps inline and directly behind the main outboard? The idea is to have a little kicker outboard to run in a motor-sailer configuration, such as a 6-9 hp model that is popular on small sailboats as a backup. Not for the purpose of having another backup, but for efficiency while motor sailing, so that the kicker can run at it's most efficient engine speed (80-90% of max rated RPM's, usually) and not be expected to drive the ship at hull speed. This would allow the skipper to do tricks such as run the autotiller on calm nights with the sails reefed low, and nap in the pilothouse when on a long voyage on open waters. Granted, the same trick could be done by simply swapping out the main 40hp outboard with a kicker manually, so not having two mounting sleds isn't a deal breaker anyway. If the kicker had an alternator (most of the sail pro types do) the skipper could motor sail on dark, cloudy days to avoid cycling the batteries too deep by running the radios & running lights. Alternately, a second sled would allow a charging prop to be lowered into the flow below the hull while under full sail.

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    1. Have you tried napping while there a small outboard running at full throttle nearby? I have. Doesn't work. Also, the motor well has room for just one engine.

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    2. Well, half throttle I have. I constructed a bell shaped hood made of flexible forms of insulation (a quarter inch thick piece of foam pad, a couple layers of shipping bubble wrap, basiclly trash I could scrounge up) and tied it all together with box tape. I hung the hood over the engine head, and let it run to see if it would work to dampen the sound without restricting the air intake. It worked pretty well. I was trying it to see if your claim in an earlier Quidnon post about damping the high pitched sound of a gasoline engine is easier to muffle than a diesel.

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  15. Since we are making a To(re)do list.., Should we not relocate at least once of the bow anchor davits (rollers)? over the center line (the stem), and not both off to the sides?

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    1. I'm thinking probably not, because the new centerline bow profile still isn't nearly as much "cut" as the two forward corners. When at either anchor, the wind (or in the absence of wind, the waves) will push Quidnon around an arc like a huge windvane. Typically the direction of the waves also follows the wind, so Quidnon would naturally pivot to present a corner into oncoming waves.

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    2. Off-center bow rollers will definitely produce much better behavior when riding to wind and waves. I verified this using the scale model. And having the central portion of the bow unobstructed will make it possible to deploy a boarding ladder from it, for getting on and off Quidnon when it's nosed up to a beach or thrusting forward against a dock for a quick touch-and-go (with a tire inserted between the bow and the dock).

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  16. Hello Dmitry,
    I know there was some annoyance on Hogfish related to the centerboard trunk, so forgive me for asking why not get rid of both keelboard trunks instead of just the one to port and make a centerboard trunk that is enclosed by the table, seeing as there will be a table in between the 2 settees in any case?
    Thanks.

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    1. The annoyance on Hogfish had to do with the fact that the centerboard trunk ate up the entire middle of the cabin. With Quidnon, positioning the keelboards off-center and integrating the keelboard trunks into the water tanks accomplished a number of good things: kept the middle of the salon free of obstructions and eliminated an expensive stand-alone structure. And if it turns out that having just one keelboard and making it vertical is good enough, then things get even simpler, while the location of the keelboard off-center won't be noticeable in the handling.

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  17. Is it necessary for a junk sail to overlap its mast?

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