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Designing prizes to advance seasteading

Home Forums Community General Chat Designing prizes to advance seasteading

This topic contains 21 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of vincecate vincecate 7 years ago.

Viewing 7 posts - 16 through 22 (of 22 total)
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  • #4083
    Profile photo of crasch

    Why should a single person be able to build a seastead? You never see someone build a house just by himself. There are always a few more people involved.

    Since I see this as a “low cost” design prize, requiring that it be buildable by a single person with a pickup ensures that the labor costs will be lower.

    Many people build houses by themselves. My parents built two. (Of course, they bought the component parts (lumber, concrete) from external suppliers, but they put them together themselves.)

    Note that it must be buildable by a single person, not that it must be actually be built by a single person. I’m open to allowing teams of any size build them, provided that, in principle, it could be built by a 1-2 man team.

    Profile photo of

    Prizes are a great idea. The question is what makes for a good prize?

    A good prize needs to:

    1) Achieve something new.

    2) Have clear rules so there is no bickering about who won it.

    Profile photo of vincecate

    A design such that multiple Single Family Seasteads can safely be connected together in the open ocean would be new and unique to seasteading. Joining together in the open ocean is a hard thing regular boats are not designed to do. It is a problem we would like to see solved.

    Models of about 1:5 scale could be good for a sort of “Ephemerisle” contest. If we could do this in decent weather outside the bay then a full scale seastead should do well on a reasonable migration route. If the models handle 6 foot waves that is simulating 30 feet in full scale.

    At 1:5 scale the mass should be 1/125th as much. So if you want to be able to carry 125,000 lbs in the full scale then the model should be able to carry 1,000 lbs. Maybe half that is a more reasonable size, say 500 lbs. So at least 2 people on each seastead model.

    The contest could be to bring 3 nearly identical seastead models that can each carry 500 lbs and float independently with stability better than a 60 foot long 30 foot wide catamaran and then join together. Might say they have to stay together for 2 hours or something. Could also say that 1 pickup truck must be able to carry 1 model. Maybe first do qualifications inside the bay and if anyone looked good there we would then go outside the bay for the real test. We could start at a harbor between Sasilito and the golden gate so it was not far to pull the models to get outside.


    If there were multiple contestants the same year that satisfied this then the most stable one gets the prize. Or maybe you split the prize.

    I think something like the WaterWalker could be made to do this. So I think such a prize could be won. It might be a totally different design, just saying I think it is doable. And at 500 lbs payload the models could be built with parts that could fit into a pickup (maybe with one of those racks that let you put long boards over the cab).

    We can charter a catamaran for stability comparison and to carry a bunch of people to watch. People pay for tickets to cover the cost. Might even need more than 1 catamaran if we get a good turnout.

    The models will be small enough that a regular boat could pull them. No need for propulsion, watermakers, solar panels, or anything else for this contest. Just want to demonstrate stability and joining together. Probably fine to even have 1 boat pull 3 models. Maybe the spectator catamarans can even do this as well.

    The 3 seasteads would each have 2 people on them and long ropes between them at the start. One of the 3 seasteads will have a sea anchor. Then the people on the seasteads have to pull them together and tie things up on their own. Another advantage of this size is that things are small enough this should not be too hard.

    The design has to be such that it looks like you could keep connecting more of the same type of seasteads for awhile, not just a solution for 3.

    I think that $20,000 to $50,000 is probably enough to motivate people to enter this.

    Might have a 1:25 scale model contest first to encourage people to check out their ideas. Maybe a $1,000 prize.

    Profile photo of crasch

    Added this to the prize wiki.

    Profile photo of vincecate

    I updated this wiki page and think it could really work out as a fun prize where we really made some progress. What do people think?


    Profile photo of

    I really like the idea of prizes. Figuring out the details is what gives me headaches. I really want any prize that is funded to result in a solution that is affordable at 1:1 scale.

    With regards to the specific Ephemerisle contest proposed, I have real doubts that a 1:5 model that meets the currently specified rules will necessarily be able to scale up to 1:1. A structural member that is easy to built at 1:5 could require unobtainium at 1:1. Even if the all the structural components could scale, the final solution may wind up being too expensive. Having a prize that does not result in a usable system is not that interesting (to me.)

    I will mention that some outfits out there will claim that they already have solutions to this problem (e.g. VersaBuoy).

    I do not have a clue how to rewrite the rules to enforce obtaining an affordable solution that works at 1:1 scale. Perhaps other people smarter than me could give it a try?

    Profile photo of vincecate

    Most people would consider a 60 foot catamaran stable enough for blue water travel. If someone builds a model seastead that is more stable than this it is probably big enough for open ocean travel in fair weather. I would very seriously think of taking a model I might build and going at least 90 miles to the Virgin islands and maybe further. If people can build such things while trying to win a $15,000 prize then seasteading with a larger one is probably affordable.

    The models that people build to carry 500 lbs may not really be 1:5 scale on the dimensions. I think I can do 50 foot legs on a WaterWalker for about $2000 each using radio towers (5 sections of 10 feet each) and a huge inflatable buoy ($420). This is really 1:2 scale from the 100 foot legs I propose for a full scale. Making beams twice as long would not be hard.

    You could increase the weight requirements over the years to work up to larger versions.

    The $15,000 for a seastead more stable than a 60 foot catamaran and fitting on a pickup truck is not much money compared to $10,000/day for wave tank tests.


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