SV Seeker

low bum

Member
325
235
Tennessee
I just looked this place up on the map - man he is a long way from the gulf. I anticipate an endless series of broken welds, snapped cables, ruptured hydraulic lines, groundings, and Coast Guard inspections between there and Mobile.
 

Voiled

Member
440
313
A redditor made a list of things wrong with seeker:

o4camugg4i691.png


Impractical, difficult, or impossible to fix:


1) Hull shape: The 3 to 5 degree list to port, probably caused by the admitted twist to the hull on original folding and welding. "Untwisting" the hull is impossible at this point, and fixes such as adding ballast or blisters impractical.


2) Weight & buoyancy distribution: The 4 to 6 degree settling at the stern due to the deviation from the plans and loss of designed volume at the stern, causing loss of buoyancy aft. Shifting weight, adding blisters aft, and/or removal of structure impractical.


3) Poor weld quality: Early water tests showed below waterline welds peppered with pin holes. These were "repaired" when found, but the implication is yards of welds which are poor, even if they didn't leak.


4) Massively over-weight: Planned displacement of the boat was about 35 to 40 tons, but actual weight is between 65 to 72 tons, and possibly more. This is due to the unplanned use of much thicker steel, and ill-advised addition of structure, systems and equipment. The boat sits 9 to 12 inches lower in the water, has used up its cargo, gear, provisions, fuel and crew capacity, and will always be massively overweight. This seems impossible to fix at this point. Removing ballast would lessen the displacement, but further destabilize the boat.


5) Probable instability: Due to the thicker and heavier materials used in hull construction, and possibly from deviation from the plans causing improper distribution of buoyancy, and use of un-stayed masts weighing several tons up high, the boat seems to be very "tender". It may not be able to handle winds of any useful strength when under sail. The only "solutions" to this problem would be removal of the masts, and that may only be a partial remediation.


Fundamental problems, difficult and/or expensive to fix:


6) Underpowered: The old school bus engine produces about 165 HP, while a boat of this displacement and length usually has about 250 HP. The engine overheats during operation. The engine should be changed.


7) Weak transmission: The transmission from the school bus has a designed minimum 2400 RPM requirement in order to allow the clutches to fully engage, meaning extended operation is either fuel inefficient, or will burn out the clutches. The transmission should be replace with an appropriate marine or marine conversion.


8) Prop feathering system: The complex hydraulic system to alter the angle of the propeller blades does not operate properly using the bus power steering pump, although the pressure from that pump seems to be almost twice the stated 860 PSI pressure required from the unit. Seals have blown out of both the pump, and possibly the unit itself. Despite or because of this high pressure, and the addition of an electric Volvo pump, it will not work. There is something fundamentally wrong with one or more of the plumbing routing, valves, choice of pumps, the feathering unit, the size of the propellers, the condition of the units, parts or shaft, are all of the above. The system should be replaced, overhauled, or converted to manual operation.


9) Materials and parts: All systems of the boat are built of subpar and inappropriate materials for the use and marine environment, such as PVC, single strand un-tinned wire, wire nuts, cedar wood, type of bilge pumps; inappropriate use of materials such as epoxy, foam, glues, paints, and much more. All these add an almost infinite number of failure points, and will demand constant repairs and replacements on almost all systems.


10) (re) Design and layout: The boat has insufficient storage for provisions for extended use, no gray water tanks, and limited black water tanks. Water and fuel tank size are unknown, but some fuel volume has been used to add lead ballast. As stated, it is very overweight, so many of these needed supplies can't be carried, and the waste products will need to be pumped frequently, when they can be stored at all.


11) Danger by design: The boat has intentional and unintentionally full of dangerous injury points, with limited hand holds. The "mermaid" decorations above the bunks is admittedly, by the builder, very dangerous, and the only "solution" suggested it to NOT sleep in those bunks. Other sharp decorations are on the interior doors. The interior of the boat has many sharp edges and corners, and limited places to hold onto when the boat is rocking, making a very dangerous situation for the crew.


Basic errors, difficult to fix, or refusal to fix:


12) High complexity: All systems, electrical, waste and fresh water plumbing, fuel delivery, hydraulics, power generation, are all far more complex than necessary, often laid out and assembled incorrectly (such as a weak toilet valve being under sea pressure if a seacock is left open, and the seacock valve is difficult to access), and the purpose of the great many valves and switches is now lost to memory, as they are most often unlabeled.


13) Crew and "officers" quarters: Insufficient quality of life provisions, as there is no A/C, poor ventilation, and no heating system. Officer's cabin is behind the "machine" shop, and said shop will produce much additional heat through operation of the drive engine and tools.


14) Heavy and impractical inclusion of tools and systems, such as a plumbed and powered domestic dishwasher, a freezer, a CNC machine, poor choices such as a combination generator/welder/hydraulic pump insufficient for its intended purposes, and much more.


15) Little to no mooring provisions, such as deck cleats.


16) Poor overall safety standards: Personal safety gear, such as goggles, gloves, hard hats, personal flotation devices, hoisting gear for work on the rigging and lifting parts and tools, and far more, are either ignored, not provided, or discouraged. Highly dangerous explosive propane is stored below deck, and in an under built rack. Fuel is transferred by hand, using portable tanks and improper hoses and valves. There do not seem to be any fire, C0 or gas alarms below deck nor in the pilot house.


These are the things I can think of... I'm sure there are many I've fogotten, or didn't know about. So while the builders and minions may JOKE about such concerns, there is actually no joke at all. This is real, no matter how flippantly they want to dismiss them.


The combination of all these flaws is, in my opinion, fatal to the proper operation of the boat for the intentions claimed, or even on any reasonable safe level for any boat for any expected boating purpose. It will wallow and not handle seas; it will be too slow to avoid weather, tides, shoals, currents; it will have frequent breakdowns in operation; it will probably not handle waves and winds to any reasonable degree; the hull and welds are vulnerable to failure from actions in operation; the crew is in danger of injury; it cannot carry any cargo, and only limited crew and provisions; and its many confusing and complex systems will be never work properly, be identifiable, and have many breakdowns.




And a chart with progress:

ObsQFfe.jpg


Edit: note the "blisters" in the what's wrong list probably are to be some kind of sponsons to correct stability issues. Doug mentioned them as a possible solution.
 
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Fah Kiew Tu

Curmudgeon, First Rank
10,103
3,262
Tasmania, Australia
Let's not forget the engine support structure welded directly to the hull plate not to a combo of transverse/longitudinal steel support grid.

Guaranteed to cause fatigue and plate cracking if nothing worse happens first.

I keep shaking my head over this abortion of Doug's. A bit over a week ago I was on a 75' steel motor-sailer that had been home-built. It had a Gardner 8 cylinder diesel in it and a ton of other stuff. I only had a short time to look as I was on the road, but what I saw was pretty impressive. Everything well laid out and thought through.

Well except for the wiring that is. But the engine room was fantastic with excellent access, decent cargo hold, accommodation space etc. It was closely modeled off of a fishing trawler hull.

Biggest boat I've come across done by a home builder. It can be done but not by me. I know my personal limits.

FKT
 

h20man

Anarchy Organiser
591
88
ocean
Let's not forget the engine support structure welded directly to the hull plate not to a combo of transverse/longitudinal steel support grid.

Guaranteed to cause fatigue and plate cracking if nothing worse happens first.

I keep shaking my head over this abortion of Doug's. A bit over a week ago I was on a 75' steel motor-sailer that had been home-built. It had a Gardner 8 cylinder diesel in it and a ton of other stuff. I only had a short time to look as I was on the road, but what I saw was pretty impressive. Everything well laid out and thought through.

Well except for the wiring that is. But the engine room was fantastic with excellent access, decent cargo hold, accommodation space etc. It was closely modeled off of a fishing trawler hull.

Biggest boat I've come across done by a home builder. It can be done but not by me. I know my personal limits.

FKT
There was another thread somewhere mentioning this 100 foot catamaran.. Home built..


very impressive.. The chap built it.. Cut it up.. shipped from desert farm to san diego harbour. reassembled.. floated.. then took it to Mexico..

Was engine powered, no sails... but.. impressive...

His bio claims:
Homemade backyard catamaran Kaleidoscope, built by one man. This video represents me designing my home made backyard boat build. Custom 100ft catamaran, from concept to completion in 5 years, single handed in my back yard. Cutting it into 7 pcs, placing them on 7 oversize truck loads for transporting to the ocean. Reassembly in 6 hrs. in the water. Sea trials, first trip to Cabo San Lucas Mexico.

Chap has several videos:







 

low bum

Member
325
235
Tennessee
Thanks for posting that Voiled, that's pretty damning indictment. I haven't watched this series in any depth at all, I can't stand his hick arrogance and his rube naiivete', so I assumed he at least built this boat according to a decent plan and for all its eccentricities it would at least function for recreational sailing, although it's of course preposterous to think of it as a "research vessel". But I see that he basically is screwed at this point and that the boat will probably be a combination fishing reef and environmental incident, with those diesel tanks, in less than a year.

What is it with this fascination with sail powered research vessels? I can't help thinking that if there were market demand for this service, there would be plenty of vessels out there doing it.
 
What is it with this fascination with sail powered research vessels? I can't help thinking that if there were market demand for this service, there would be plenty of vessels out there doing it.

I get the sense that there are two motivations. One, wanting to prove the concept is now viable in order to spur demand. And two, wanting other people to pay for your own fancy boat.

I'm not sure which one Seeker falls under. Maybe I missed a third category.
 

AnIdiot

Member
442
344
Second Drawer
... What is it with this fascination with sail powered research vessels? I can't help thinking that if there were market demand for this service, there would be plenty of vessels out there doing it.

I know of two that operate in my area in one research field... I assume there are many more?


Both of these are more well found vessels than Seeker appears to be.
 

Foiling Optimist

Super Anarchist
1,203
319
Vancouver BC.
There was some discussion earlier about research vessels having certain....tax advantages. But yes it's super weird and there must be an element of romance getting the better of people. I know an actual professor of marine biology at a major Canadian university. She bought a 24' or so trailerable aluminum boat (on a CFI, for you Canadian academics) which her lab uses to study kelp-urchin-sea otter ecology amongst other things. They pull it up the coast and stay in hotels. Simple and cost effective.
 

Rasputin22

Rasputin22
13,915
3,470
I skippered briefly a big English built Brooke designed aluminum 75' ketch and the owner had me deliver it to Ft Lauderdale from the BVI. He was very wealthy and held the patents on double pane insulated glass in Great Britain. He had factories cranking out fine old world joinery for windows and the interior of his custom yacht. The interior was amazing and everything on the yacht was 'bespoke' as the Brits like to say. The skipper before me was always making excuses about why the owner couldn't use the boat and I don't think the owner had ever spent a night aboard. He liked staying at the Bitter End and I guess just looking at his yacht at the dock down the hill got boring so he told me to go to Florida and sell the boat.

So I hired some friends and we had a great delivery and I called up a broker as soon as we got into Ft L. He came down and told me the asking price was way to high and when I reported back to the owner he told me to see about getting the boat donated for tax purposes. Not sure how that was going to work but I spent the rest of the summer on the boat at a well known local boat skippers, Whale (Paul) house dodging the no live-aboard rules. Now Whale was a big guy in sailing circles in many ways. He was at the forefront of the IOR glory days and was known to take on delivery trips and even boat repossessions. He knew his way around all things sailing and had some connections to donate the big ketch to a marine research non-profit that was counting real whales up in Cape Cod in the summers. The owner's tax men and the donation people worked out some way that the owner would benefit financially but I hated giving up my deluxe quarters. The boat was really perfect for any sort of marine research but when I met the guys who had started the non-profit I was shocked that they had a pitiful little trailerable motor boat like the professor above. They were amazed at the big ketch and it was way out of their league and I thought I was going to get another delivery up north but I ended doing the Worrell 1000 instead. Turns out that the non-profit left the ketch at Whales house (very reasonable dock rent) for quite some time and I later heard that they had to keep the boat in their possession for two years and then were able to sell it. Too much maintenance for the whale watching trade.
 

longy

Overlord of Anarchy
6,824
1,155
San Diego
IIRC in '84 he had not thrown his (not PC label) association party for 2 yrs. Someone bet him a week before the events normal date that he could not assemble more than 100 members of the group. It went well past that, held at his canal front house
 

Foiling Optimist

Super Anarchist
1,203
319
Vancouver BC.
Pro grant writing tip: It's not a boat it's a Marine Research Platform. The research vessel fiasco I really want to know about from the academic side is Phuma: https://www.boatdesign.net/threads/bolger-hartog-sailing-research-vessel.59585/ It was apparently built by Cal Poly Humboldt professor James Gast. You can see it was designed by Bolger originally and the modified, and never seems to have sailed. There used to be a website rvphuma.com maintained by Gast's son, but it seems to have been abandoned after 2017. I would love to know what possessed Gast to decide that this was the most efficient use of research dollars, and indeed how it was funded. An ongoing problem in fields like marine biology and the rest of the non-health natural sciences is the challenge in funding anything over the long term. You may be able to get the CapEx dollars to build it, but it can be extremely challenging to continue to get money to pay people to operate it or support maintenance. Boats, of course, are particularly bad in if you get behind in maintenance the cost to get back gets exponentially worse. I'm sure the guys Rasputin ran into were in that situation where they never even got close to getting an operating budget. Hence the need for trailerable aluminum outboard motor boats you can store on campus!
 

toddster

Super Anarchist
4,265
999
The Gorge
I seem to recall reading a long story about someone who actually bought it, and their plans for running a floating eco-camp for kids. But it wasn't clear that they even had the money to get the boat running. I.e. they were begging for money.
Maybe a thread on here somewhere that started out with the boat advertised for sale, then someone actually bought it?
 

Santanasailor

Charter Member. Scow Mafia
1,357
707
North Louisiana
Origami

transform a flat square sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques. Modern origami practitioners generally discourage the use of cuts, glue, or markings on the paper.

Facebook description of Sailing Vessel Seeker…

”Sailing Vessel Seeker is our 74 foot “origami” steel hulled….

I’ve been involved with just about every kind/type of boat for more than 70 years. (Since I was a toddler and it was safe enough to put me on a scow). Never had I heard of a boat being an origami. Someone please educate this poor individual. How is a piece of paper that is folded, related to a steel hulled sailboat?
 
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Zonker

Super Anarchist
9,736
5,700
Canada
Cut a big piece of steel into a shape like a flattened football. Put in some darts at bow and stern area to form chines. Bend flat plate up into a shape sort of resembling a boat. Limitations: hard to predict what sort of shape you'll end up with, though most look pretty similar (not good). If not properly framed on the inside then structurally quite weak. Gets you a hull without a lot of forming/welding etc. but it's not something most would recommend. Chance of assymmetry too.

 

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