Kite-powered proa (boat) collaboration/comments Answered
Added 5/26/07: Please read the comments below to see how the project is evolving. Design specs, goals, etc, have been modified after discussion.
For several years I've been wanting to build a kite powered proa. A proa is a kind of boat with a narrow hull and a smaller outrigger. These Instructables are about building a proa with a traditional sail:
These are kite-powered proa-like vehicles for land and ice:
Goals for the project:
1. Make at least one good boat.
2. Publish a good Instructable.
3. Work with interesting people.
I am definitely going ahead with #1 & #2. #3... anyone interested?
Generally it should be appealing/attainable by as wide a range of budgets and circumstances and skill levels as possible.
a. It should be fun to mess around with starting in about 6 or 7 mph of wind (3 m/s).
b. A beach boat, not an overnighter. Should be able to carry one or two people, a paddle, personal flotation device and maybe a sandwich and a water bottle.
c. Storable in a typical apartment (maybe even a dorm room?). I'm thinking a 2-part bolt-together hull like Wade Tarzia's above. Two halves, each under 8 feet long so they can be stored on end, maybe used as bookshelves as suggested by TimAnderson. What is a typical ceiling height? Mine is about 91"
d. Possible to build on a restricted budget ($200? is that possible? $400?). I'm budgeting about $500 but as a cheapskate packrat scrounger type I am hoping not to spend it all. Should also avoid necessitating rare and expensive tools.
e. It should be possible to make a "good looking" version if the builder chooses.... sort of financially and chronologically(?) scalable. Someone might want to build something as quickly and cheaply as possible, and another person might want to spend all summer working on the fine details and finish. The boat should be worth building in either case.
f. Should be able to take a passenger (is that possible if we rely on weight-shifting for steering?), but be sailable single-handed.
g. Possibly be adaptable to a traditional sail? Would this be hard? This is something I don't need for myself, but I bet someone will ask that question as soon as we publish it. If someone doesn't already have a kite, is it easier to build a kite, or a sail and associated mods to the boat?
h. Probably plywood stitch-and-glue construction main hull, but maybe carved from a couple of Styrofoam billets with a plywood stringer and/or deck? Leaning towards all plywood. If we fiberglass the whole boat can we use 1/4" interior luaun at $9 per 4x8 sheet? Is that more practical and cost effective than something like occume at $60 per sheet with glass on just the keel and joints? We'd need 3 sheets. Need to do some calculations on this.
i. Usable in flat water, chop and small waves (and bigger waves?). Mine will be used mostly at an ocean beach.
j. Steerable by weight-shifting, i.e. moving towards the front or back of the boat. No rudders or daggerboards. Maybe paddle-assisted steering when carrying a passenger/helmsman?
a. Should be a good read, even for folks who won't undertake the project.
b. Doubles as an Instructable on how to collaborate to make a great project and a great Instructable.
c. Represents everyone involved in the project in some way.
d. Gives the potential builder a rough "how to sail it" as well?
e. Presents the reader with several options for materials and/or construction.
f. All the regular "what makes a good Instructable" things.
The Interesting People:
a. Everyone is interesting in some way or another, right?
b. Some people like to do research on the web.
c. Some people have built boats.
d. Some people some know about wood, or glue, or paint, or kites, or sails, or writing, or...
e. Maybe someone will build the boat concurrently so we'll have pictures of two or more versions at various stages when we publish the Instructable.
Let me be the first to sign up :) I have been using kites to get around fields, beaches, frozen lakes and the ocean for 10+ years. I make my own kite boards and have made my own kites (I use commercial kites now but still love my homemade plywood boards). I've done a fair amount of web research on proas and plywood boats (and some on tarp boats, canvas covered canoes, surfboards, etc.) but I have never built a boat. I experimented with a busted up, rudderless old hobie 14 for a while, but my homemade foot-steerable rudders broke almost instantly, and shortly after that I had to abandon the boat because I moved to a place where it couldn't be stored. It was enough to get me interested.
I'm pretty confident I could build a usable boat as a solo project but I want to see how much better it could be as a collaboration, or at least having a few folks commenting on my ideas.
I have a small assortment of cheap power tools. I've used epoxy and fiberglass a few times and I have some on hand.
I have permission from my lovely bride-to-be to use part of the kitchen, part of the time, as my workshop (that's true love). I also have a small are outside where I can work but I can't leave anything there.
The pictures are my initial hull ideas. For each hull one pic shows the hull from 3 angles and the other shows how the side pieces would fit on two sheets of plywood. A third sheet would be needed for the deck and a fourth (of thicker stuff, I would guess?) for the frames, bulkheads, etc. I'll attach the files for the hulls too. You can get the freeware to view and edit them at www.carlsondesign.com.
The simple V hull would mean less cutting and joining. The other one looks better (in my opinion) and can float more weight with the same amount of plywood.
Could instead go with a flat bottom like Wade's.
Let me know what you think.