• 31st March 2007 - By greg

    Actually, that should read “Changes TO Within”

    The design of Within – my prototype human powered ocean boat has been changed a bit with an eye toward safety. When I traced the outline of my retractable canopy top onto the deck, I realized just how freaking HUGE that thing is. I tried to imagine what kind of hinge would be beefy enough to hold that top on and I just couldn’t fathom anything that could withstand a rogue wave smashing into the side of it. I could just see that top ripping right off Within.

    It’s happened before, and I can think of two fatalities. First of all, Adrew McAuley’s dome cover was missing when they found his empty kayak 75 km off the the New Zealand coast. Secondly, Nenad Blic’s ocean rowing boat was found capsized and flooded off the coast of Ireland and the hatch was missing.

    I also realized that getting into and out of Within while at sea would be nearly impossible with the canopy top the way I had it. We want to keep the center of gravity as low as possible in Within because low C of G requires less ballast to keep it stable, which translates to more speed.

    I realized I needed a better hatch, and I needed to keep the top of Within permanently ON the boat. So what I did, was decided to go with a standard Lewmar ocean hatch on the side of Within slightly above the water line. This would allow me to climb into the boat from the water without raising my center of gravity.

    I re-designed the seat to slide forward and recline down to horizontal to allow me to flip around onto my stomach, open the rear hatch and crawl into the sleeping cabin. With the seat lying flat on the floor, I can also open the side hatch and slide into the water – and back into the boat again. All of this, I can do while keeping my center of gravity low, and keeping Within stable.

    Of course, I plan on testing all of this before I go and cut holes into Within for the ocean hatch. I’ll make a cardboard cutout hole and practice getting in and out while in the pool.

    This change is not without it’s problems. Mainly, I need to consider how I will get enough ventilation in the tropical Atlantic ocean without being able to remove the top. I will add a small window at the top and that be opened partially, as well as be able to open the side hatch a bit – these windows should automatically close if the boat were to ever capsize. I will also have some directional vents through the deck. That probably won’t provide enough fresh, cool air, so I may need to look at adding a fan to direct outside air in and through the cockpit. The space on the top of the deck is limited, so I can’t rely on square miles of solar panels to power every convenience I can imagine. I wonder how much power air conditioning consumes…. Any such thing as a miniature, lightweight, super efficient air conditioner?

    The other change to plans is the addition of ‘phase 1’ to the prototype boat. I’m calling it “Within-24”. It’s Within without the full deck, and it will be used to go after the 24 hour human powered boat distance record this summer. The topless boat will be lighter, a bit faster, and easier to haul around – much better for a record attempt.

    Within-24 is a good intermediate stage for the development of Within. I can fully test out the weight, balance and stability of Within, the rudder and steering, the prop, pedals, seat, etc, etc. Once all of this has been firmly set to the way that works, I can go ahead and bond the top deck to it and finish off the prototype boat. Then I’ll get out into the ocean with it and get into phase two testing.

    These sexy new renderings of Within were created by the Benmeister:

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