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Old 03-03-2010, 15:38   #91
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This discussion about hull materials has been interesting but to some extent has hijacked the thread. Hull material is important, as it type of hull but there are other interesting issues as well as the OP pointed out.

1 - How to make the boat pay for itself? Can you do some minor coastal shipping or moving people?
2 - How would you make sails if Dacron was not readily available? Does this not argue strongly for a junk rig?
3 - Food? Yeah fish but more?
4 - Water? Not water makers, to much maintenance. Catch, distill?
5 - Batteries? If you are going to be on your own for a few years your batteries will crap out. Then what?
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Old 03-03-2010, 16:37   #92
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This discussion about hull materials has been interesting but to some extent has hijacked the thread. Hull material is important, as it type of hull but there are other interesting issues as well as the OP pointed out.
Yeah, my plan is simply not to hit any reefs, so "bounceability" is not a factor. Low painting is though. But I respect those with different choices

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1 - How to make the boat pay for itself? Can you do some minor coastal shipping or moving people?
I don't beleive it would be desirable (or even possible) for 99.99% of folks to survive on totally cashless cruising - so some method of generating cash is a requirement. Whether that be renting yer boat.....or yer body (mileage may vary on the latter ).

For that I would favour seasonal migration to a higher wage economy - and not to restrict one's opportunities by being overly boat / water focussed.

Quote:
2 - How would you make sails if Dacron was not readily available? Does this not argue strongly for a junk rig?
Even for junk rig you would need to catch some sheep before knitting your own sails So, I would be looking at either re-cutting sails yourself - or every 10 years working a bit harder (see 1. above ).

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3 - Food? Yeah fish but more?
If looking to fish as a food source also have to work on preserving your catch (for when the fish gods do not smile on you) - thinking less about freezing, more about pickling, canning, drying etc.

And just cos' one lives afloat don't mean yer can't also hunt wild food ashore. Whether that be the odd Mr Fluffy Bunikins, Wandering Wildabeast or roadkill will depend on location - again, the ability to then preserve ones catch would be important.

If on a seasonal migration, what about growing your own vegetables.......ashore?

Quote:
4 - Water? Not water makers, to much maintenance. Catch, distill?
If in a temperate climate their is usually a hosepipe somewhere going spare. or at least a standpipe. Failing rain catchment, a trip to one of those melting glaciers now and again would do the trick..........or carve off yer own ice cube - and tow it somewhere warmer

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5 - Batteries? If you are going to be on your own for a few years your batteries will crap out. Then what?
Gonna need at least one for engine starting (unless you are hardcore ), but don't have to be new though - scavenging might be a solution on that. And if yer reset your body clock / work times to the daylight hours cuts down the need for lights.

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6 - Ok, I added this one meself - Fuel
If you've got a diesel engine I suspect that for all but the most dedicated that prospecting for oil, drilling a well and then refining into diesel will be beyond us. So low usage (commensurate with keeping the engine in good order) is the order of the day.

Fuel for lighting? At some point that solar panel and battery is gonna crap out. and maybe even the odd lightbulb - even the fancy LED ones. Daylight is the main substitute, coupled with a hurricane style lamp (or 2 ) - used sparingly.

Fuel for cooking? Onboard and on passage probably stuck with the traditional solutions (Gas / alcohol / paraffin), but when in port could supplement with scavenged wood burning, whether onboard or ashore.

FWIW I think the most important decision for autonomous cruising is not the boat, nor the systems (although both are important) - but your choice of cruising area(s), chosen not for the nice weather but for the resources that you can harvest (both afloat and ashore)........the trade off will be whether this provides the lifestyle that is acceptable to you / warrants the hard work involved.



Their are of course two alternatives to all that above palaver

a) Marry well.
b) Have hard working, smart (and frugal ) forebears.
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Old 03-03-2010, 16:52   #93
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I think we all give different meanings to "autonomous cruising". I see it as cruising without needing help, food, water, fuel, money, shops, or even other people. All we use is what we brought along. If you need to find a faucet with running water you just lost your autonomous status IMO.

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Old 03-03-2010, 17:04   #94
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I think we all give different meanings to "autonomous cruising". I see it as cruising without needing help, food, water, fuel, money, shops, or even other people. All we use is what we brought along. If you need to find a faucet with running water you just lost your autonomous status IMO.

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Is that for a finite period? or on a sustainable basis?
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Old 03-03-2010, 20:53   #95
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Is that for a finite period? or on a sustainable basis?
On a small yacht it will be a finite period, I see no other way. On something bigger, with nuclear power (may be even fusion reactor one day), sure sustainable is possible.

How's that dome called where volunteers go in for years... that is sustainable.

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Old 04-03-2010, 06:04   #96
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Is that for a finite period? or on a sustainable basis?
Good question. I have my ideas which clearly don't match others.

Wonder what the OP meant?
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Old 04-03-2010, 12:56   #97
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On a small yacht it will be a finite period, I see no other way. On something bigger, with nuclear power (may be even fusion reactor one day), sure sustainable is possible.
Finite Period and totally independent? - I guess that would involve a lot of stocking up on spares for things like a watermaker. and having plenty of food ........I guess this approach would be more towards those areas with b#gger all onshore. or no shore at all Like the Pacific
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Old 04-03-2010, 14:50   #98
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David,

we have our current watermaker for 7 years now. We never had a problem with it, no repairs and we are still on the original membranes. I guess some are more reliable than others. Using it all the time also makes a big difference (is better).

A watermaker is a must but not the primary source of water for us: we catch more rain water than what we produce with RO. The whole boat is designed to be one big rain catcher. We can catch 100 gallons per 5 minutes and do that regularly. We use fresh water for flushing the toilets and rinsing decks etc. We carry a miniature pressure washer to clean the decks when rain is coming (we see that as investing some water to get much more... works way better then with the stock markets...)
Our watermaker is big & heavy, no plastic, no electronics. It provides us with 40-50 gph. If we make 300 gallons of water with it running from the genset, it costs us 1 gallon of diesel. Who wouldn't want to trade a single gallon of diesel for 300 gallons of fresh water in the dry season with the closest faucet 300 nm away?
The spares we carry for the water maker are primary filter elements, oil for the high pressure pump and a spare boost pump (March pump). We should carry a spare high pressure hose. Also, with our membranes 7 years old now, I should replace them before leaving on a passage where I would be dependent on RO.

When we leave for the San Blas in a couple of weeks (hooray!) we will indeed be loaded with food & drink. We will have two freezers (total 11 cubic feet) totally full plus a 7 cubic fridge full. Besides meat, cheese, butter and loads of veggies, we also have yeast, stock-cubes, mung beans etc. in there.

We also take 20 pounds of rice, 15 pounds of coffee, 20 pounds of flour (for bread, pizza etc.), 20 pounds of assorted pasta, 100 eggs, 20 pounds of onions, 10 pounds potatoes, 40 pounds of propane, 400 gallons diesel, 50 gallons (outboard) gas, 300 gallons water, 5 gallons rum and then the cases... 10 cases beer, 20 cases cola, 10 cases soda water, 3 cases milk, 3 cases wine, Gatorade in powder form for 20 gallons and many hundreds of cans of food.
We count on catching fish ourselves but we do bring some fish and frozen shrimps, mussels, squid etc.
We grow sprouts, water cress and green onions and when we feel like it, some herbs.

I have seen 30 footers taking this much (we could take a multiple of it) and it'll last for up to a year. What we have run out of: rum, cigarettes, cola. We're always looking for fresh veggies but use the sprouts and green onions when we're out.

cheers,
Nick.
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Old 05-03-2010, 09:08   #99
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Well I guess if you wanted to simplify this whole debate, just look at sources of energy coming IN to your ship:

Fish matter
Sun
Wind
Water

Now obviously we are harnessing water and wind for the movement aspect of all this. I have a feeling (although just a stab in the dark) that you could use left over fish remains as fuel? Surely the oil would burn for a little while?

Sun and wind are both pretty self explanatory when it comes to power... just a matter of whether you can get enough for everything.

As a side note, let's not forget that the polynesians went all around the pacific in canoes... that's pretty autonomous to me!
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Old 25-03-2010, 13:17   #100
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How do you become self sufficiant or autonomous while cruising? ....
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My conclusion is that it can't be done
In a normal cruising sense I don't think it can be done, but we can get quite close to it!

I now know we have a range on 3 months & 5,000nms. We just did a trip of that duration without extra fuel or water.
We could have an extra number of months if we had a water maker. in fact we could easily do 6 months with a watermaker.

All we have is:
Gerry cans of diesel 13 wich we can store in a Lazarette more than doubles our fuel tank capacity and running the engine slow uses very little.

Solar panels our 2x120watts give us 24 hours supply of auto pilot, instruments and refrigeration. At anchor the refrigerator is chilly cold!

Fresh Water Tankage: we have 440 litres. It used to only last 2 weeks of so, but now we have plumbed salt water into the sink and fresh water spray bottles everywhere. We have a rule: Use as much fresh water as you like as long as it comes from a spray bottle! We can have full sea baths with just 2x500mil spray bottles of fresh. It is better than salt water baths, but we still have them too. Our 440 litres now lasts 3 months at a pinch.

Food reality: We meet lots of people who say they wont eat canned food. Fine for them but they would starve after a few weeks. We love canned tuna, canned fruit, tomatoes, soups etc and they go with pastas, rices etc. Our last provision was Thailand (we are now in Egypt) and we could turn around and go back to Thailand without running out of food. Of course in port we eat fresh

How to extend:
Watermaker. With the solar panels and large storage for food and fuel either sailing of anchoring the only thing that can run out is fresh water. At sea now we never need to use the engine for charging so if we had a watermaker the whole of the diesel could be used for port entry and exit, becalmed, and watermaking.

So, no the idea of being autonomous is not possible, but the next closest thing is clearly passable and quite easily done!

Mark
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Old 25-03-2010, 14:40   #101
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Call me a killjoy, but when I read the OP, I keep hearing numerous economics professors in my head:

"Self sufficiency is the route to poverty."

In other words, it's just not worth it to do everything yourself. You get more value by trading with others who have a comparative advantage over you in whatever task or thing you wanted (of course, you offer whatever you're comparatively good at in return). There's a great podcast about this over at Econtalk.



Being self sufficient is a pipe-dream anyway, especially on a boat. Unless, of course, you can mine metals, smelt them, and then work them into the spare parts you'll need...after you first work them into the tools that you'll need to make the spare parts....after of course figuring out how to do that without having tools to make the tools...... And then of course you'd have to raise the sheep to shear for wool, or the silkworms for the silk, or grow the cotton.....you name it....to repair and/or make your clothing. Shall I continue?

Forget the pipe dream. Just save enough $ or have a plan to make $ along the way to be able to take advantage of all the great things that division of labor can bring.

Put it another way: just frickin have fun and buy new stuff when you need it. Sheesh! Quit trying to make things so complicated.

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Old 25-03-2010, 19:15   #102
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As I see it there could be at least three very different motivations for "sustainable" boating:

1 - You don't have a lot of dough and want to sail around a la Annie Hill
2 - You want to reduce your footprint
3 - You think the SHTF will happen soon and want to be prepared to outlive the zombies

Each of these has a different solution. #3 is the most difficult because it presumes that TWAWKI will cease and modern materials (e.g., dacron, resin) will not be readily available. So sustainable in this sense is pretty hard to achieve.

#1 & #2 are much easier as you can go to work and earn some dough and buy new sails.
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Old 25-03-2010, 20:20   #103
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Power for the electric motor would be generated by solar panels or a wind generator. When sailing, the prop is spinning and the electrical engine (inboard) works as a generator, recharging the battery bank.
Hampus,
I only read 3 pages of this post and if someone here has already said this, please forgive me for saying it again. But, what you describe here is "perpetual motion". If you could figure that out you would be the richest man in the world. It would work after a fashion but your motor as a generator would consume far more than it generated. It would not be long before the batteries were dead and in need of charging from a diesel engine with an alternator or a gas powered generator to keep going. Perpetual motion is beyond our capabilities as of yet. It was a good idea tho.
WD
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Old 25-03-2010, 20:38   #104
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Not a perpetual motion machine at all. The energy comes from the sail drive moving the prop thru the water, turning it and generating energy from that exchange.

In the same sense a wind generator is not a perpetual motion machine either. The wind drive powers that system, but the concept is the same.

Propeller generator

How good it is for your engine and the best way to set it up seems open for discussion, but it's not alchemy...
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Old 25-03-2010, 21:20   #105
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Put it another way: just frickin have fun and buy new stuff when you need it. Sheesh! Quit trying to make things so complicated
That sounds so logical from where you are and it also sounds so naive where we are ;-) You forget that there are still places where you can't buy this "stuff".

ciao!
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