concretesubmarine.com/ FORUM

Members Login
Username 
 
Password 
    Remember Me  
Post Info TOPIC: A houseboat submersible that sails


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
A houseboat submersible that sails
Permalink   
 


a man called demitri or,or has just designed a brilliant houseboat that sails, he rote a fantastic article called the new age of sail, and another brilliant article about the requirements of a good liveaboard here...

http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/sailing-craft-for-post-collapse-world.html



__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
Permalink   
 

I love his design of a live aboard houseboat, I see he has two very large water tanks mid ships, and I wondered if the same design could be made from concrete and increase the size of the water tanks to make them ballast tanks, to make it submersible....




present, whether you need to move around yourself, or whether everything you need is delivered straight to your door, you depend for transport on industrial products whether they be cars and lorries, planes, trains, ships, bicycles, or even just a good pair of shoes. Is any means of transport available that you could provide, build or even service yourself that does not require access to industrial materials, products or services?

Even human bipedal locomotion has been industrialised: just to get from the bedroom to the bathroom you might want to put on slippers, and they probably say “Made in China” on them. They were made in a large factory, and were brought to you on an even larger container ship. Few of us know any cobblers who live within walking distance, whereas, were the global industrial economy to unravel, bipedal locomotion would become, pardon the pun, our sole recourse. It is an old experimentalist tradition to try experiments on oneself, and so, as an experiment, I spent a few months going about barefoot. I found it quite possible, reasonably safe, and even perfectly pleasant, in the warmer seasons and climates, following a few weeks of somewhat uncomfortable adaptation. But that’s a minor matter; my other, more ambitious experiments have made me quite optimistic regarding one’s ability to cover huge distances and generally move about the planet, even after jet aircraft, container ships and other leviathans of industrial civilisation go off to join the dinosaurs. Provided, that is, that one makes some timely preparations.


A Thames barge, a traditional 80ft shoal-draft craft designed for estuaries and coastal waters, could carry large amounts of cargo and be sailed by a man and a boy. Photo: Steve Birch.
Although a complete and instantaneous collapse of global industry doesn’t seem particularly likely just at this very moment, its likelihood begins to approach 100 per cent as we move through the 21st Century. The opposing view – that industrial civilisation can survive this century – comes up rather short of facts to support it and rests on an unshakable faith in technological miracles. In an echo of medieval alchemy, the hopes for technological salvation are pinned on some element or other: yesterday it was hydrogen; today it’s thorium. Fusion reactors are currently out of fashion, cold fusion doubly so, but who knows what new grand proposal tomorrow will bring?

In the meantime, we have far more mundane problems to consider. We’ve had ample chance to observe that when key supplies run short, industrial economies crumble. Throughout their relatively short history, industrial economies have tended to do well as they were given more and more of everything they needed (energy, raw materials, fresh water, land, cheap/free labour and so forth). There are no examples of industrial economies surviving chronic shortfalls of key commodities — especially ones that have no readily available substitutes. Quite the opposite: we have the stunning example of the USSR, where the peak in domestic crude oil production precipitated a financial collapse and a political dissolution just a few years later, events which were followed by a severe and prolonged economic decline. It was only by integrating with the global economy, which had plentiful resources at the time, that the Russian economy was able to recover. No such rescues will be available when the shortfalls become global.

We also have the example of the current Great Recession, which occurred as soon as the global economy encountered a physical limit to oil production. These events are like canaries in a coal mine, because over the course of the century the global industrial economy is destined to encounter not just global peak oil, but peak just about everything else it runs on: coal, natural gas, iron ore, strategic metals and minerals – in short, just about everything that industry requires to maintain itself and to grow. Since most footwear is now made of polymers, which are synthesised from oil and natural gas, we are also likely to pass peak shoes. Such facts can now be gleaned from a number of authoritative reports published by international and governmental agencies.

Why, then, don’t these facts inform the discussion on the future of transport? If one were to assemble a panel of professionals and experts on transport technology and ask them to propose transport solutions that could continue to operate for the remainder of this century, one would no doubt hear of various high-tech products – electric cars, light rail, high-speed trains, hydrogen fuel cells, plug-in hybrids and so on. These would enable our contemporary, industrialized society to perpetuate its current lifestyle, and everyone to keep their jobs. That’s all well and good, but as a follow-up question one might wish to inquire as to how their plans will be impacted by a variety of factors, some of which are already present, some certain to happen at some point during this century, with only the exact timing in dispute. The list of such factors might reasonably include:
The inability to supply/afford transport fuels in the amounts needed to run existing transportation networks, construction and industrial equipment. Transport fuels are made almost entirely from oil, and global oil production has probably already entered terminal decline. Since coal and natural gas are set to follow within the next 15 years, they can scarcely provide substitutes. Renewable energy sources such as solar, wind or biomass either do not provide transportation fuels or provide them in comparatively tiny quantities.
A lack of the resources required to build new transportation infrastructure due to a permanent and deepening economic depression. Economies that fail to grow, or grow more slowly than the population, would not produce a surplus sufficient to maintain their existing infrastructure and vehicle fleets, never mind investing in ambitious new schemes.
Shortages of strategic metals and key rare earth elements needed to manufacture high-technology components such as electric vehicle batteries, photovoltaic panels and high-efficiency electric motors. These are mined predominantly in China and are only available in restricted quantities.
Social disruptions and political upheavals caused by population pressures in the face of a shrinking economy. These are unpredictable but would predictably result in disruptions to global supply chains, shortages of parts, and project delays and cancellations.
Disruption of ocean freight once rising ocean levels begin to inundate port facilities. The current authoritative worst-case estimates are for a 1.5 metre sea level rise this century, but it is based on incomplete understanding of global warming effects and dynamics of polar ice cap melt. As knowledge improves, the estimates tend to double every few years, but they have not been keeping up with observed reality. The ultimate sea level rise may be as high as 20 metres.
In response, one would no doubt hear that solving such problems is outside of the area of expertise of transport technology professionals. Transport might be able to overcome some combination of such external problems, given enough time and money. For instance, a way might be found to manufacture high-technology components without using the rare earth elements in short supply. Or, if rising sea levels inundate ocean freight terminals, then, clearly, the terminals would have to be re-built again and again. However, if the resources were not available for such an ambitious and ultimately futile undertaking, then that would be regarded not as a technological but as a financial or even a political problem. Working one’s way up the technological food chain from the transport sector to the energy sector, one finds that energy professionals always blame production shortfalls and high prices on lack of sufficient investment. Why do they always say that the problems they face are not physical but economic? Economists, in turn, are perfectly content to ignore physical realities and treat all problems as problems of economic policy.

And so it would appear that the overall working assumption of every specialist, expert and professional in every discipline is ceteris paribus – all other things being equal. They will work just on those problems on which they are qualified to work, provided that sufficient research and development funds, materials and facilities are made available to them. They would prefer to assume that future demand patterns will be much like the present ones: to-be-developed electric cars and light rail lines would be used to convey commuters to and from their jobs and consumers to and from nearby businesses and shopping centres. It must be inconceivable to them that this equipment would be idled while the former commuters and shoppers, bankrupted by wasteful and ineffective investments in technology, would be forced to spread out across the rural landscape in search of hand-to-mouth sustenance. They would no doubt prefer to think that their profession will continue to exist and have relevance: jobs will lead to pensions, graduate students will grow up to be post-doctoral students and hope to become junior faculty members some day, grant money will continue to flow, conferences will be organised and peer-reviewed journals will be published. In every field of research, from oil field analysis to climatology, no matter how conclusively morbid the results, more research will always be needed. But won’t the sort of disruption we are going to encounter deal the coup de grace to the industrial-scientific establishment? This perfectly reasonable question is answered either with quiet despondency or with entirely unjustified accusations of defeatism or extremism. Such emotional responses are woefully unprofessional; we can and must do better.

One approach to doing better seems to have already exhausted its possibilities. A branch of science known as systems theory was once seen as a way to de-compartmentalise thinking and to formulate interdisciplinary solutions to the problems of large, complex systems. An echo of that approach can still be heard in some of the current thinking on climate science, which attempts to leverage conclusions based on observations and climate models to formulate international public policies to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions. Experience with both the Kyoto Treaty and the more recent failure to agree a Copenhagen Treaty has laid bare a critical flaw in such thinking: it confuses knowledge with power.

The ability to analyse a complex system does not in any way imply an ability to influence it. Scientists appear, as a group, to be naïve about politics, and are misled into accepting as fact a fiction of control perpetuated by politicians and industry and business leaders, who find it useful to pretend that they possess the power to alter systems over which they merely preside. Be it the fossil fuel industry, or mining and manufacturing, or industrial agriculture, or the weapons industry, or the automotive industry – all of these can be modelled as machines lacking an “off” switch. Yet each one requires energy, raw materials, and financial and social stability and can only continue to operate as long as these needs continue to be met, after which point they undergo systemic breakdowns and cascaded failure. Although an analysis based on systems theory cannot do anything to prevent them, perhaps it can offer valuable insights into how long these systems should be expected to continue functioning, or provide some detail on how their demise will unfold.

If we are willing to concede that the global industrial economy will not last through the 21st century, then, while it is still possible, we can put together technologies and designs appropriate for the post-industrial age, and set in motion forward-looking projects with the goal of creating enough momentum, in the form of strong local traditions, institutions, practices and skills, to carry them through periods of economic disruption and political dissolution. Future generations will have to learn to make do with much less of everything, and with much less research and development in particular. Working in the twilight years of the industrial era, we could offer them a great service by leaving behind a few designs that they will actually be able to build and use.

In particular, post-industrial transport is a subject that until now has been quite neglected. Quite a lot has already been done to elucidate some of the available options for post-industrial construction, agriculture, medicine and other areas. Yet the ability to travel, on foot or otherwise, is the Achilles’ heel of our ability to implement solutions in any other area: innovation and diffusion of new practices, technologies and ideas is bound to come to a near-standstill without the ability to move materials and people. Without long-distance transport, long-distance communication is bound to break down as well, and the current unified view of the planet and of humanity will dissolve. Unlike other components of the industrial life support system, industrial transport systems have no post-industrial back-ups worth mentioning. Post-industrial agriculture has its organic and permaculture alternatives, post-industrial architecture its passive solar, cob, straw bale, rammed earth and round timber alternatives, post-industrial medicine its traditional Chinese medicine and other alternative medical traditions and practices, but when it comes to transport there do not appear to be any presently available post-industrial alternatives beyond horses and our very own scantily shod feet.

Our contemporary transport systems are almost entirely dependent on refined petroleum products for both the maintenance of transport infrastructure and most of the actual movement of passengers and freight. It took decades to phase in large-scale transport technologies such as coal-fired steam engines or marine diesels. Moreover, these transitions could only have taken place in the context of an expanding economy and resource base, and with the older modes of transport still functioning. Thus, it seems outlandish to imagine that a gradual, non-disruptive transition to alternative transport technologies might still be possible. A resilient plan should be able to survive an almost complete shut-down and provide for bootstrapping to an entirely new mode, within a new set of physical limits. Take away petroleum, and none of the contemporary industrial transport systems remain functional. Even electric rail or electric cars, or even bicycles, which do not use petroleum directly, require an intact industrial economy that runs on fossil fuels, and on petroleum-based fuels for the delivery of spare parts and infrastructure maintenance. The current global recession and trends in the global oil market make it possible to sketch out how a Great Stranding will occur: transport fuels may still be plentiful in theory, but in practice they will become unaffordable, and therefore unavailable, to much of the population.

Two factors play a key role. The first is the maximum price that consumers can pay. Beyond this price, demand is destroyed and the recession deepens. Each time this price is reached, a great deal of wealth is destroyed as well, and when subsequently a partial recovery occurs, consumers are poorer, and the maximum price they can pay is lower. Thus the maximum price decreases over time. The second factor is the minimum price that oil producers can charge, as determined by their production costs, which rise over time as easy-to-produce resources become depleted. Beyond putting a floor under prices, this trend cannot continue past a physical limit: as the easy-to-exploit resources are depleted, a point is reached when the resources that are left, though they may yet be plentiful, cannot be produced profitably at any price, because the amount of energy required to do so would exceed the amount of energy they would yield. Thus the minimum price increases over time.

Although an argument can be made that this trend can be offset to some extent by developing alternative energy sources, such as solar, wind, nuclear or biomass, a careful study of this question reveals that the net energy yield of alternative energies is, in all, rather poor, that the overall potential quantity of energy delivered by the alternatives is rather low, and that the massive financial investment that would be necessary to exploit them is increasingly unlikely. Most significantly, while individual countries may find solutions, there are simply no alternative sources of transport fuels in the quantities required globally for current systems to continue functioning, nor are there resources available to replace existing systems with anything else on a similar scale.

Thus we have two trend lines: a falling maximum price that consumers can afford, and a rising minimum price that producers have to charge. When the two lines cross, production shuts down. Since there is finer structure to both the supply and the demand, this is likely to happen in stages. On the demand destruction side, consumers can forgo holiday airline trips; they can stop driving cars and switch to walking or bicycling; they can heat just one room of the house; they can go back to the older tradition of the weekly splash in the tub (whether they need one or not) in place of the daily hot shower. This will allow them to make do with far less energy, and to sustain much higher energy prices. In turn, energy producers can cut their costs by producing less and closing wells or mines that are expensive to operate.

As the oil industry shuts down, maintenance requirements for roadways and bridges, sea ports and other infrastructure will no longer be met, while the price of transport services will come to exceed what businesses and consumers can afford to pay. There are already signs that we are in the early stages of such a slow-motion train-wreck. In 2009 the northernmost State of Maine could no longer afford to continue maintaining many of its paved rural roadways, which were being allowed to revert to dirt. At the opposite end of the transport spectrum, global airline travel had begun to decline, with most airlines reporting losses, and with air traffic still expanding only in the oil-rich Persian Gulf region. Such a gradual winding down of the industrial economy will leave little room for many non-essential activities, such as safety and efficiency upgrades, infrastructure maintenance, fleet replacement, and research and development. We can expect priority to be given to keeping existing equipment in running order by cannibalising and reusing parts as fewer and fewer vehicles remain in use. As this happens, safety and reliability will suffer, with many more cancellations and accidents, and cargoes being lost due to spoilage.

One can reasonably imagine that certain internal combustion vehicles will stay in sporadic use longer than others. For instance, limousines for weddings and hearses for funerals will perhaps remain motorised the longest, moving slowly over unpaved roads, since people would still be willing to pay extra for dignity on special occasions. We can also foresee that certain groups, such as governments, mafias, armed gangs and other social predators will be able to secure a supply of fuel the longest.

It is difficult to imagine that such a winding-down can happen uniformly, smoothly and peaceably. Inevitably, geography will be the determining factor: remote population centres, to which fuel must be brought overland, will have their supply curtailed long before those that are close to pipelines, railway lines, seaports or shipping channels. In communities that find themselves without access to transport fuels, much of the remaining economic activity will centre round gathering the necessary resources to escape, and they will steadily depopulate. Only the old and the sick will be left behind.

To see where this process might eventually lead – if we are lucky – it is helpful to look at pre-industrial settlement and transport patterns. After all, industrial, fossil fuel-powered transport has existed for just a blink of an eye in the long history of global trade and migration. By the time the fossil-fuel age arrived, the vast majority of the planet’s surface was already explored and settled. People moved about on foot, on horseback, by boat and by sailing ship, and these are the transport modes to which humanity will return once the fossil fuel-driven episode is over.

Transport costs can be grouped into two categories. The first is energy cost, encompassing consumables such as fuel, food and fodder, as well as the energy embodied in the equipment used – draft and pack animals, carts, boats, ships and so on. The second is cost of predation, which includes tributes, bribes, taxes, tariffs, duties and tolls, some officially sanctioned, some criminal. Efforts to avoid predation, by choosing pack animals over draft animals, or by taking detours to avoid toll roads, or by fording rivers instead of paying tolls at bridges, or by sailing random courses instead of following sea-lanes, or by sailing smaller vessels so as to pose a smaller, less desirable target, or by travelling in armed convoys to dissuade would-be robbers, and so on, form a grey area between the two. The upper limit on the amount of transport that is feasible is limited by the sum of the two costs. There is also a trade-off between the two: higher energy efficiency allows for more and fatter prey, and, in due course, for more and fatter predators. On the other hand, successful efforts at avoiding predation may increase energy costs but lower predation costs, resulting in greater overall efficiency and a larger volume of cargo that actually reaches its destination. In this case, greater resilience is achieved by “wasting” energy on predation avoidance rather than by striving to be maximally energy-efficient while inadvertently maximising the level of predation.

For some cargoes in the past, the cost of predation as a result of official tolls and unofficial tributes collected along the way could double the goods’ final price. Tolls were collected along inland waterways and at bridges and river crossings on major roadways. In more remote areas, and especially near mountain passes, brigandage was widespread. Often the only distinction between official and unofficial predation was that the former was sanctioned by the local aristocracy.

For bulk commodities, the energy cost of transport imposes hard limits on the maximum distance that is feasible. For instance, if the product is hay, and the mules pulling the cart eat half of it by the time they reach their destination, then either the trip was futile, or the mules would have nothing to eat on the way back. The energy value of the cargo also imposes an upper limit on the level of predation that is sustainable; if the limit was exceeded frequently, the predators would deplete their prey. Since moving bulk goods by barge is more energy efficient, canals could charge higher and more frequent tolls than toll roads. But the ease with which tolls could be collected along canals often led to abuses by rapacious local officials, forcing canal traffic back onto the less energy-efficient roads and depressing the overall level of trade.

Wheeled vehicles were used for local transport of bulk goods (hay, firewood, grain and other bulk commodities) but not for long-distance transport, which relied on caravans of pack animals. Energy considerations made long-distance overland transport impractical for bulk commodities, restricting it to high-priced items, such as specie (gold and silver), works of art and craftsmanship such as porcelain and cloth, and spices and medicinals. For such high-priced goods, transport costs represented a much smaller fraction of their final price, making avoidance of predation far more important than conserving energy. Wheeled vehicles make predation avoidance more difficult, because they have to use roads and bridges, whereas pack animals can use footpaths, steep mountain passes, dry riverbeds, and can ford rivers and streams. Unlike wheeled vehicles, pack animals can be pulled off the road and hidden by making them lie down behind vegetation, to avoid confrontations with both highwaymen and local officials.

Overland transport is orders of magnitude less energy-efficient than water transport. Before the advent of railways and coal-fired steam locomotives, it cost more to move freight a few kilometres overland than it did to ship it across the ocean by sail. The fortunes of coastal cities were determined by the quality of their harbours. In the New World, cities such as New York, Boston, Charleston and San Francisco became transport hubs because of the large numbers of ocean-going vessels their harbours could easily and safely accommodate. Inland transport relied on navigable rivers and canals, making use of wind and tide to move cargo as far as possible up tidal estuaries. Where wind and currents were unfavourable or unavailable, propulsion had to be provided by draft animals (including imprisoned or enslaved humans) either rowing or pulling the vessel from the towpath. For this reason, inland cities were often built in tidal estuaries at the uppermost reach of the tides and along rivers, lakes and canals.
Coal never fully supplanted sail either in coastal freight or on the high seas, and it was not until the widespread adoption of the marine diesel engine in the mid-20th century that the last sail-based merchant vessels were finally decommissioned. With the exception of very profitable routes and cargoes, such as the China tea trade, which was served by large and fast tea clippers, most sailing vessels were rather small, with large numbers of schooners of around 60 feet (18 metres) and crews of about a dozen, and with the vast majority of ocean-going vessels under 100 feet (30 metres) in length. There was a tendency to build larger merchant vessels in the richer trading nations and during politically stable and prosperous times but, even there, less prosperous and uncertain times brought a reversion to norm. There were many reasons for this, from the inability to secure financing for an ambitious shipbuilding endeavour, to lack of profitable cargo with which to fill a large vessel.

A different logic applied to building military vessels, where ability to project force was prioritised above economy, and where large crews could be obtained cheaply from the ranks of young men who were pressed into service by the simple expedient of denying them any other option. Conditions on board could be almost arbitrarily brutal, with discipline imposed through flogging. Disgruntled seamen swelled the ranks of pirates and privateers, who were often unopposed in their confrontations, because the seamen often sympathised with the pirates rather than with their own loathed and despised officers.
Although, within the larger naval empires, the horrid naval traditions often carried over to the merchant fleets, including the megalomania, the brutality, and the purpose-bred viciousness of the officer class, in general merchant vessels could not exceed a size that could be sailed profitably, with full loads of cargo and the smallest possible crew. Significantly, a crew of about a dozen is the optimal size for a self-organising, self-managing, tightly knit group. Anthropological research has shown that groups larger than this size either have to expend an inordinate amount of time on social grooming activities (politics) to preserve group cohesion, or they have to be structured in a rigid hierarchy and disciplined to instil blind obedience, with vastly lower effectiveness in either case. Such limits appear to be biologically determined: humans have evolved to be most effective in self-organized groups of about a dozen. A smaller crew is problematic, because there would not be enough hands to comfortably man all watches, there being typically two four-hour watches per day per crewman, and two crewmen per watch, for a minimum of six crewmen. Add the captain and the first mate, and that brings it up to eight; a cook (since feeding this large a crew is quite a job) and a bosun (who typically does not stand watches) bring it up to ten. Throw in a mechanic and a steward, and you have a full dozen. And so it turns out that the most efficient vessel is one that can be sailed by a crew of about a dozen men.

High costs of predation were by no means unique to overland transport. At sea, both privateering and piracy abounded, the distinction hinging on the presence of official sanction rather than the manner in which the business was transacted. Privateers carried government-issued letters of marque allowing them to take tribute from citizens of a certain country as reparation for past misdeeds, such as damage caused or non-payment of loans. Pirates lacked such official permission, but the distinction was often an informal one. Additional duties were often imposed at the harbours that were the point of departure and the point of arrival. Since ocean-going vessels are restricted by their deep draught in their options of harbours and port facilities, it is easy for authorities to collect duties and fees from them. Moreover, certain governments went beyond this and designated certain ports as “staple ports” – the only ones through which commercially important products, such as Sicilian wheat, could be shipped, to simplify the process of collecting export duties.

Ocean-going ships were built with economy foremost in mind, cargo capacity second, and crew safety and comfort at sea left as an afterthought. Typically about a third of the expense of a journey was represented by the amortisation and maintenance costs of the vessel itself, with the remaining two-thirds going to the crew, as provisions and pay. If the vessel was to be defended against piracy, the additional expense of arming it could as much as triple the costs. Before the development of naval guns, security at sea was largely a matter of having superior numbers in hand-to-hand combat. The advent of naval guns made the contest rather uneven for a time, with large naval ships being able to threaten any smaller vessel with almost total impunity. With the arrival of ubiquitous and powerful small arms, shoulder-fired weapons, and a variety of special-purpose missiles and explosives, the odds have been evened, and mutual assured destruction prevails on the high seas. Navy ships have to remain on constant alert against even a small dinghy that might cause them serious damage as happened in Aden in 2000 with the US Navy destroyer USS Cole. It is quite a challenge for pirates to gain control of a vessel without getting killed or sunk if the prey vessel is armed and keeps a sharp lookout. Most confrontations with would-be pirates can now be prevented by a simple show of arms.

Although every effort was made to cut costs, the design and construction of ships was mired in conservatism everywhere and sailing technology was slow to diffuse westward from China and the Arab world. Even then, it was absorbed only partially. The pinnacle of Western sailing ship evolution is the unwieldy square-rigged vessel, which required the crew to go aloft in all conditions to handle sail – something that is neither necessary nor desirable, and one of the many problems that the Chinese and the Arabs had solved many centuries previously. And yet these manifestly imperfect vessels were the ones that explored and conquered just about every corner of the globe – a process that had largely run its course by the time the first steam-ship was launched in the 1840s. Countless lives were lost due to poor design, shoddy construction and incompetent command, but so great are the advantages of water transport over land transport that the gains were considered worth the risk.

In the light of this, what transport technologies will be relevant to an energy-scarce, climate-disrupted, socially chaotic future? We can foresee that road traffic will be greatly reduced as paved roads revert to dirt and become eroded and, in places, impassable, as bridges collapse from lack of maintenance, and as predation by both local officials and highwaymen increases both the costs and the dangers. Once again, pedestrian traffic and caravans of pack animals will try to evade official and unofficial predation, opting for the less popular, more circuitous footpaths instead of the direct and open road. Canals and other navigable waterways will once again play a much larger role in inland transport, with barges pulled by draught animals along towpaths and with sail-boats carrying freight and passengers along the sea-coasts. As the sea-ports that currently serve container ships, bulk carriers and tankers are submerged under the rising seas, the current hub-and-spoke transport networks will collapse, and smaller coastal communities will once again find ample reason to want to build and provision ocean-going vessels to trade with faraway lands.

Here are some questions we might ask ourselves
“How can we help? What useful technological legacy can we bequeath to future generations?”
“What if, instead of squandering its remaining resources on lavish parting presents for its ageing rentier class, the current profit-and-growth economic paradigm were to be quietly replaced with the idea that society should serve its children and grandchildren, should any be lucky enough to survive”?
“What can we usefully accomplish in the time remaining before inescapable resource constraints force industrial life-support systems to stop functioning? What technological heirlooms and key pieces of learning could we convey, in the form of a living tradition, to give future generations a chance at surviving the dystopian future we are now working so hard to construct for them?”
It is becoming clear that future generations will be faced with a number of new challenges. One is that rapid climate change is very likely to put an end to the last ten thousand years of benign, stable climate. It was this rare episode of climate stability that allowed agriculture to develop and flourish and permitted nomadic tribes to settle down in one place without the risk of starvation. It allowed agrarian societies to produce such large food surpluses that cities and towns could become established, eventually growing to millions of inhabitants, all fed with crops grown elsewhere, at first in the immediate vicinity and now quite far away. As the climate deteriorates, people will be forced to return to a migratory and nomadic existence to minimise the risk of starvation by staying close to the sources of their food and diversifying them across large geographic areas. In other words, they will go to the food rather than having the food brought to them.

Another challenge will be posed by rising sea levels. The latest forecasts indicate that coastal communities will either adapt to life with constant flooding, salt-water inundation and storm erosion, or be abandoned. Ancient ports such as Cádiz, which was built by the Phoenicians and has been in continuous use ever since, will no longer be able to function. Formerly sheltered harbours will become exposed as barrier islands are eroded away by storms. Material from newly eroded shores will form shoals and silt up harbours and navigation channels. Efforts to resist the deterioration such as defending, existing shorelines, building higher jetties and breakwaters, constructing dykes and sea-walls and dredging harbours and inlets, will eventually prove futile as sea levels are likely continue to rise for many centuries. Consequently, those who wish to occupy and use the shoreline will have to find ways to cope with constant flooding.

In the parts of the world where people still walk or use pack and draught animals, they will muddle through somehow but it remains a large open question whether or not they will be able to continue to traverse oceans. Throughout history, the ability to sail the oceans has conferred tremendous advantages. Seafaring pre-dates industry, but it does require access to appropriate boat-building materials and a seafaring tradition.

Future generations will face three major problems in their attempts to preserve their seafaring abilities:
Current, industrial shipbuilding practices, as well as the vessels themselves, will be of no use without both a functioning industrial economy and the widespread availability of transport fuels.
Going back to traditional, wood-based shipbuilding techniques will not be possible because logging and deforestation have depleted the supply of the high-quality timber
Access to the ocean will in most places become complicated as the rising seas silt up inlets, navigation channels and harbours and wash away waterfronts. Deep-draught ocean vessels will find land access obstructed and difficult due to the eroded shoreline.

__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
Permalink   
 

Silvertooth wrote:

a man called demitri or,or has just designed a brilliant houseboat that sails, he rote a fantastic article called the new age of sail, and another brilliant article about the requirements of a good liveaboard here...

http://cluborlov.blogspot.co.uk/2011/06/sailing-craft-for-post-collapse-world.html


 Dimitri Orlov has written some fantastic articles and has lots of experience living aborad.

 

he would love a concrete submarine idea.

 

my father and I would like to build a 40-50footer, by 6'6" so that it can traverse the narrow canal systems around Europe.

 

this is the sort of thing we have in mind, but is one was just for show, it wasn't submersible 



Attachments
__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
Permalink   
 

This could be made a real submersible craft, with a battery bank and an inboard engone. A good compressor and tanks. 

we were thinking of having two bulk heads for and aft, so the ballast tanks would be the entire bow, and stern upto the ballast tanks. The compressed air could bow the water out for surfacing.

 

 



Attachments
__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
Permalink   
 

I have a couple of questions please.

 

1. What are latest generation ferro cement boatbuilding materials, I hear there is a new type that is excellent strength to weight  ratio?

 

2. How can you work out how large the ballast tanks need to be to achieve negative bouancy? 

 

 



Attachments
__________________


Member

Status: Offline
Posts: 9
Date:
Permalink   
 

How could it be possible to make Windows larger than portholes? Keeping the strength and integrity of the hull but still having the ability to see out for exploring wrecks and other things.

__________________
Page 1 of 1  sorted by
 
Quick Reply

Please log in to post quick replies.