Hi. I know that some people have sailed across the Pacific, and have dealt with pesky massive waves in relatively tiny boats. Now, my idea of a ‘stead has been something small, say the size of a house or a farm, that only needs to sustain a few people, but is also pretty mobile. Hence, spar designs and large central hubs haven’t really appealed to me, but I know size is one of the easiest ways to beat waves. I was wondering if maybe a skilled sailor could basically navigate such a vessel past any storms. I know that you can’t depend on everyone being a skilled sailor, but I was also thinking maybe the process could be automated somehow. Your thoughts?
Disclaimer: I’m not a sailer, this is just what i’ve picked up.
Weather forecasts are available worldwide so you can do your best to avoid storms. Apart from that the main technique is generally to stick your stern or bow in the direction of the waves – this gives less area of the boat that the wave will directly crash into, causing less force to be applied. The boat is also more stable on the bow-stern axis due to the increased length so you’re less likely to capsize if waves hit you on the front or back.
I don’t really see why that couldn’t be automated… the hardest thing would be determining which direction the waves are coming from but I think that should definitely be possible. Of course, i’m sure there’s a lot more to surviving storms than that, but the basics could be automated. If it’s a sailing boat then the computer could automatically reef the sails(make them smaller) as the winds get stronger, ultimately reducing to bare poles in the strongest winds.
Also remember that boats tend to be stronger than the people in them – lots of people think they’re in trouble and duly get in the life raft and are never seen again, while their boat washes up safe and sound on some shore a few months later.
I’ve been sailing for 17 years but have never seen anything more than 10 foot waves which is enough to bang the crew around but most boats can handle with no problem. But even in that, I don’t think I’d let any automated system handle the vessel that I’ve put my life in because its not the waves that are predictable that will get you, its the ones you can’t predict, but only see about 20 seconds before they knock you over, that you have to worry about.
Wind is not always from one direction, and so the waves aren’t either. Sometimes you’ll get two waves that cross each other just so that the trough before it is deeper than normal and thus the slope of the oncoming wave is greater than that of the regular sinusoidal wave, causing it to break over top of you. That is when it hurts and if it doesn’t capsize you, it spins you. Then the next one will hit you harder because you are now broadsided. Keeping a human hand on the helm will allow you to recover faster so that you can avoid having your ship torn apart.
I should stop understimating these storms. Anything random can beat systems that operate based on prediction. Still, it’s good to know that these ships are usually safer than expected. All you’d need is some insurance against capsizing (which I think they have- a sort of chain structure like an anchor that floats beneath the boat and keeps it upright) and padded walls. The growth will also need some shelter, especially any wildlife onboard. Thanks.
Design a system/vessel that is longer than the wavelength of the waves. This will reduce your motion in heavy seas. Heavy displacement will lower the buoyancy of the ship below the trough of the waves and lower the mechanical impedance of he waves on the ship but you need to make sure that you have high enough freeboard to prevent waves washing over the top and destroying the above water structures.
Under no power, a boat will line up parallel to the waves, that is perpendicular to their progression. A seastead that is built to hit waves “head-first” can take advantage of that by being slightly wider than long so it’ll slowly turn to face the progression of the biggest waves there are around.
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