Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Green dragon boats

Sea steading is the idea of colonising the open ocean with homesteads and floating cities. The greatest challenge is waves that can swamp a sea stead and cause a constant rocking motion that some people find impossible to endure for long. The seasteads can be made smaller if we 'throw' the food production system overboard. I.e. Move any farming out to smaller structures that are built to float independent of our seasteads.
Plants don't get sea sick.
Though to much agitation can puree the garden there are systems that could work if we create sheltered waters with some kind of floating break wall. More on that at and

However in more open waters a sea stead floating farm has to be more robust and complex. In looking at this I developed the fluke boat.
I have refinned these vessels a little to create a new craft the dragon boat.
I haven't done the engineering but believe they will be technologically possible in the near future. Here's a work up in second life. Space Destiny sim.
What we have here is dragon boat, a mock up of a sea fort sea stead [not mine but good] a sandy coloured wharf, and a floating algae oil farm (green & blue).

The dragon boat green house is a robot. The head is radar and ladar units in a decorative pod. Ladar is laser radar a system for detecting other vessels and mapping the waves at short range. It also has a sonar under the water line and GPS. The main bay is a greenhouse with soil, hydroponics or airponics. Water comes from reverse osmosis or forward osmosis with fertiliser drawing water through a membrane. Most of the water is fully recycled through a fish farming system (fresh water fish). The craft unmanned with automated systems. In good weather and low waves the farmer boards to plant, tend and harvest.

The boat has flukes: wave power systems that propel the vessel.  
The fluke is the blue wing. It hinges with the waves but is retarded. As the waves lift the boat the fluke resists and forces water backwards. As the water is heavier than the boat the boat moves forward. Fluke boats are not fast but they can sail for months limited only in the durability of the hinges and retarding springs. Such things can be built to last years but I'd still want to check them every few months.

The dragon boat has a high streamlined bow and stern for a reason, its not just decoration. These structures are hollow and buoyant.

When a big wave hits them the volume in the water increases and the centre of balance shifts. The bow or stern rides up the wave rather than digging into it. Since there is no deck for the water to catch on and fill it is harder to sink. In high seas the plants get a rough ride. They may be damaged but they aren't destroyed.

Two or more dragon boats could be integrated into a multi hulled vessel.
However I favour the idea of retractable linkages(not shown). That allow you to switch and swap units in the double or triple hull form. This also allows them to break the linkages and stand clear of each other in a heavy storm. Since in the tropical oceans the sea is calm in the morning and stormy in the afternoon and early night this means most would be linked in the morning and delink and scatter by 3 pm.
In reality the vessels hull may be wider and sit lower in the water. With extra volume below the water line but second life has its limits.

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