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Christian Nally

Probably belongs on the front page

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No no. I didn't mean my comment.

 

It's that I think this guy ( @nomadness ) should get some Front Page of SA Love for his opportunity. He's looking for a specific kind of person (one looking to buy a very unique boat mind you), but the opportunity is pretty interesting.

 

http://nomadness.com/blog/2012/02/microship-available-for-vancouver-island-adventure.html

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Damned straight. fucking hilarious stuff and good on him. We'll see if the front page finds a nutter for the project.

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I remember following this guy back in USENET days on rec.boats.building.

 

I never could quite figure out what he was about and what was the point of the whole project. Something about creating a "technomadic lifestyle." He'd previously built a recumbent bicycle and trailer called BEHEMOTH full of all kinds of computing, navigation, and communication gizmos that weighed in at ~550lbs by the time he got if finished. He started the Microship project with a Fulmar kayak/trimaran, graduated to an F36 trimaran, and finally built this thing from scratch.

 

The irony of the whole thing is he got washed over by Moore's Law and nowadays you can get almost all the computing, communication and navigation technology he was trying to create from scratch in an iPhone, a $200 VHF, and a netbook with a 3G data card. So it's tough to be out there on the bleeding edge...

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Well there's no doubt in my mind that the "boat" could get around Vancouver Island. I know of 2 people who have rowed around and I personally know a young woman who kayaked around. Vancouver Island is just another minor whore standing well behind other old whores like Everest and Cape Horn. But anyone who plans to be off Brooks Penninsula in a howling westerly and strong flood will definitely need a change of underwear. Even Johnstone Strait in an afternoon summer westerly and ebb tide will be a little more interesting than this guy anticipates. Finding your way through the dragger fleet in the fog off Bamfield should also be a barrel of laughs. That said, it can be done, just takes lots of patience.

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Hey, there is some seriously cool and useful stuff on that website, like the expedition medical kits. Thinking of buying the big one for distance racing/long distance deliveries.

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The wind sensor on the bow looks to be either a Vaisala or an RM Young model, both of which retail in the $2000 (+/- $500) range for just the sensor! Talk about overkill!

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Good morning - Steve here. Thanks for the buzz on the front page - yikes! Haven't been on SA in a while... I'd forgotten how interesting this place is.

 

A few random comments and replies to posts in this thread...

 

First, to PMH - definitely! I'm a more timid sailor than most folks here, and there's no way I'd go gallivanting around Brooks Peninsula (or charge through Johnstone) without paying very close attention to weather windows and tides. I'm fond of quoting the old adage that a sailor with no schedule always has fair winds, and that's in a steel Amazon 44. If someone is with us in the Microship, there will be another level of caution (as in Cape) atop that. Besides, there is no obligation... on-water experience with the boatlet will tell whether she and her skipper are ready for the outside, and if someone wants to peel off from the group in Port McNeill or elsewhere, that's fine. I have not tested the boat in conditions over 25 knots, and that was only for about an hour (Eagle Harbor around to the bottom of Bainbridge, where she did fine except for a bit more weather helm that I would have liked, due to mast flexion).

 

Pointyend - good eye. The sensor is a Handar, which was donated. The three probes are ultrasonic transducers that yak to each other once a second to yield wind speed and direction; the prong in the middle discourages bird nesting (ouch!). It works well and puts out a serial stream (not standard NMEA sentences), though there is a little burst of RFI with each one that affects the VHF since the antenna is right in front of it.

 

MisterMoon - irony indeed. A BEHEMOTH of today would not be a behemoth, and would certainly not need that cumbersome trailer. The best ratio of sanity to practicality was its predecessor, the Winnebiko II... that version covered 6,000 miles (after 10K on the first one), allowing writing while riding, adequate network comms for the mid-80s, security, solar power, a good hacking environment, etc. The final one was a bit *cough* excessive *cough*, giving rise to the Roberts Law of Applied Mobile Gizmology: "An infinite number of very light things, taken together, becomes infinitely heavy." As to the Microship, that was a port of all this to an aquatic platform, and my fatal error in that whole project was spending too many years on the electronics before nailing the substrate... by which time the electronics were getting a bit long-in-the-tooth. The most geeky stuff was never even packaged on the boat... crossbars, hub, turret, and so on are sitting on a shelf in my lab.

 

The Microship itself, all that aside, is quite efficient (ignoring the landing gear, which work but are WAY too complicated). I had no illusions about being a marine architect, so we involved a few gurus in key design phases to make sure the fundamentals were not ignored in favor of blinkies. John Marples, Robb Walker, Jim Antrim, and a few other luminaries helped make sure we didn't do anything irrational; the sail rig is a stock WindRider unit with a few minor modifications like remote furling and a much-needed split vang.

 

Christian Nally - thanks for posting here, and I look forward to meeting you in Galiano! My brief stay in Montague Harbour 3 years ago was a delight, and it sounds like you guys have an interesting geek community there. I hope to hang around for a few days, depending on the dynamics of the flotilla and how much our relaxed schedule has slipped by then.

 

Shaggy - It has two propellers, actually. One is the Spinfin pedal drive made by Bob Stuart - using a 13" model-airplane prop that came in at about 90% of the efficiency of a custom-designed one that would have cost many hundreds (and we can carry spares and easily change pitch by swapping). The other is a stock Minn-Kota 65-pound thrust electric, though the current prop is not at all the right impedance match... it's made for moving tubby fishing boats, not little trimarans. For that, I do have a custom optimized prop on the shelf that has never been installed, and I'm hoping to see that happen as part of this adventure. All the numbers point to 5-6 knots on solar alone.

 

Finally, I know this is a tad loony. It was quite a nautical learning curve, which began with kayaks and then progressed through a few kayakamaran concepts, the Fulmar, the unfinished predecessor to the F31 made by Walton and Michie (Hogfish), the Microship in its current form, a year with "Microship-on-Steroids" (a Corsair 36), and now 18 tons of monohull (I no longer yell "starboard!" to a give-way vessel; I yell "steel!"). I know some folks look at the Microship project with a big WTF? thought bubble, and I wouldn't argue the point... but I was not building a product, I was chasing my own quirky blend of passions. The result was a sort of strange geek expressionism that blends sculpture, gizmology, and at least a nod to practicality... even if it does have rather high WQ (weirdness quotient). My hope with this whole idea of offering it for the trip is to see all those years and dollars pay off, even if vicariously, and hopefully find a technomadling with similar passions who can take it as a starting point. It's a practical problem for me - I sold the old lab building and have no place to keep it; the new owner is being very nice, but that won't last forever.

 

Oh, one more thing - the "Technomadic Flotilla" going around the island in August-September is still shaping up, and we have a little private discussion group on Facebook (I know). If this sounds like something you'd like to do (unrelated to the Microship), please holler.

 

Happy to answer any questions about the boatlet, and thanks again for the honor of being on the SA front page!

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Thanks, Nomadness. If anything, it sounds like you had a lot of fun along the way.

 

I'd be proud to take the current Microship on the Everglades Challenge someday. Just deliver it to the beach at Ft. Desoto in Florida next March and I'll be your guy... I'll be glad to give it back after the end, too!

 

Best of luck with your project.

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Roberts Law of Applied Mobile Gizmology: "An infinite number of very light things, taken together, becomes infinitely heavy."

 

I dig that, and you will be credited the next time I use it in a sailing article, which will no doubt be soon!

 

 

Finally, I know this is a tad loony.

 

I think we'd all prefer more loony projects that result in something interesting in the water and fewer 'sane' projects that end up in nothing but vaporware. Good on ya for actually creating something, regardless of its loonacity.

 

Happy to answer any questions about the boatlet, and thanks again for the honor of being on the SA front page!

 

It's our pleasure. Keep us posted the next time you have something interesting to write.

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Good morning - Steve here.

 

.......the unfinished predecessor to the F31 made by Walton and Michie (Hogfish),.....

 

Cheers,

Steve

Hi Steve,

 

Do you know what ever happened to "Hogfish"?

 

Cheers!!!

 

-MH

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Mr. Clean - thanks for the kind words, and the invitation! I'd be most honored to write something for you... I'll think on it. Not sure why I was shy about posting here before; now that the ice has been broken, so to speak, I'll hang around. Lively place ya got...

 

Ah yes, MisterMoon - Microship would be perfect for the Everglades Challenge! I've been imagining that since I first heard of it, and was trying to plan the Great Loop so that it would synchronize. Of course, that never happened... for a while, we were planning to go down the Missouri River and then head south on the Mississipi to begin the loop (calling the trip the Clueless and Lark Expedition, of course).

 

Multihauler - I sold Hogfish circa 1997 to an interesting couple sailing out of Berkeley or thereabouts; he quickly finished the re-rigging job that I started (with the new bulkhead), renamed her Pelican, and went cruising. Later, the multihull dealership in Oakland (Helms) had her up for sale... I have a photo somewhere circa 2000 or so. After that, I have no idea... I've Googled occasionally without success.

 

I sold my Corsair 36 to a fellow in Canada who has remained a friend, so I guess I pass the "previous owner" test... that boat was a rocketship compared to my current one, but wasn't exactly roomy. The current Nomadness has a walkthrough on my site.

 

Cheers,

Steve

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Pointyend - good eye. The sensor is a Handar, which was donated. The three probes are ultrasonic transducers that yak to each other once a second to yield wind speed and direction; the prong in the middle discourages bird nesting (ouch!). It works well and puts out a serial stream (not standard NMEA sentences), though there is a little burst of RFI with each one that affects the VHF since the antenna is right in front of it.

 

 

 

Cheers,

Steve

 

Steve, Airmar now makes one that's far smaller, consumes less power than the Handar unit, and has integrated GPS and rate compass, all output with standard NMEA. Just a data point for you to consider.

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Yes on the evolution of the sensors... I've admired the Airmar, and would love to replace the retro B&G 60' up in the air. Gotta go up there one of these days, as a bird broke the windex...

 

There's also the Maretron WSO100... I don't know how the two compare.

 

Steve

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Nomadness, Awesome microship trimaran. I enjoyed reading your blog entries. Big thanks to SA'ers for posting it. I may have to build a similar but much less complicated version for a Watertribe event. It looks like a great design for the Ultimate Florida Challenge. The landing gear wheels would be perfect for the 40 mile portage.

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Multihauler - I sold Hogfish circa 1997 to an interesting couple sailing out of Berkeley or thereabouts; he quickly finished the re-rigging job that I started (with the new bulkhead), renamed her Pelican, and went cruising. Later, the multihull dealership in Oakland (Helms) had her up for sale... I have a photo somewhere circa 2000 or so. After that, I have no idea... I've Googled occasionally without success.

 

I sold my Corsair 36 to a fellow in Canada who has remained a friend, so I guess I pass the "previous owner" test... that boat was a rocketship compared to my current one, but wasn't exactly roomy. The current Nomadness has a walkthrough on my site.

 

Cheers,

Steve

Hi Steve,

 

Thanks for the info regarding the "Hogfish". I have often heard "John Walton" stories about the boat, and have always wanted to see/learn more about her. An interesting side note is that when I purchased my boat in 1998, she came with a May West life jacket with "Hogfish" stenciled on it.

 

As for your Corsair 36, during our 2007 3-week cruise to Desolation Sound, we had the good fortune of meeting the new owners at Refuge Cove. They joined our group for a couple of nights on the hook in Vondonop Inlet, where we had some memorable times aboard "Nomadness". Good times.....and GREAT FOLKS!!!

 

......sorry for the thread hijack.

 

 

Best,

 

-MH

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Multihauler - ah, cool re the connection with the new owners of Madness - I grumbled when he asked about keeping the name, since he didn't want to do a bunch of vinyl, but it's kind of my branding... so the compromise, to much mutual amusement, was for him to lop off the first two letters. It's quite appropriate.

 

Hogfish was interesting, and originally carried a carbon fiber wing that was apparently quite terrifying. By the time I bought the boat, that was gone - though a piece of carbon fiber (made by Rutan) remained as a treasured relic. I added a double bulkhead and a stainless trailer ball for a rotating rig configured by Mike Leneman.

 

The glass was Klegecel core, and there was quite a bit of interesting structural engineering... including a massive floor of tankage that I ripped out for the headroom. John Marples spent a couple of days with me going over the boat, and Mark Reynolds blessed the rig design (great photo somewhere of his Star snuggled up behind Hogfish).

 

MicroTom - 40 miles of portage! Yikes. Why do I get the feeling the Microship belongs in Florida? I designed that for opportunistic daily haulouts, with the longest portages around falls on the upper Missouri. With the Ackerman steering, she glides smoothly on the road... would be perfect for Florida. (Unless the portage is on sand, in which case... never mind).

 

Lots of traffic landed on the page about the Microship as a result of exposure here... thanks again. One strong nibble for the Vancouver Island trip; we'll see!

 

OH HEY... I almost forgot. Years ago, while drinking homebrew and thinking of doing it aboard, I bought the shoaldraft.com domain name. It expires in March... any multihullers, beer-lovers, or multihullin' beer lovers here who might make good use of it? Some money, but not a lot. Or trade. Or whatever...

 

Cheers,

Steve

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