Saturday, October 10, 2015

Cockpit design: a picture plus a few thousand words

As I mentioned before, nothing focuses the mind on cockpit design like spending 150 hours in the cockpit of a sailboat more or less in one continuous stretch. Previously, I outlined my conclusions from this experience in prose, but this time I have an actual 3D rendering of my proposed design, with all the details filled in.

And nothing focuses the mind on the need to finish designing and build a houseboat that sails more than what is currently unfolding in South Carolina, which I just recently sailed through. Last week, Charleston, where I had spent a week, had fairly deep water running over the streets. Next week it will be Georgetown's turn; the entire town, where I had spent a few days too, is going to have to be evacuated. “You are lucky to be on a boat!” people keep telling me. Indeed, I am! But it's not exactly the right boat; it's a pretty good boat, but it's not QUIDNON.

What's been happening in South Carolina is but a preview of coming attractions. People are still calling it “a thousand-year flood,” not realizing that the next 10 years will bear little resemblance to the last 1000. Interesting things happen to the normal curve when you move the mean: what used to be uncommon can become commonplace rather suddenly. This is exactly what rapid global warming is doing: moving the mean. We are already most of the way a to 2ºC temperature rise, and heading toward 6ºC. It is about time we all got used to it.

We already pretty much know that the entire Eastern Seaboard of the US, where half of its population lives and where most of the infrastructure is, is going to be underwater and uninhabitable roughly by mid-century. Well before then access to potable water, the electric grid, piped natural gas, passable roads and structurally sound bridges and other trappings of civilization will become problematic for a growing percentage of population. This is because the money needed to rebuild the infrastructure after each cataclysm will not exist.

A lot of these people will wish that they were living on a QUIDNON, with its big water tanks, propane lockers, its own electricity, a bulletproof copper-clad bottom and, most importantly, the ability to float and to move about using the wind and the currents. And this thought has given me the impetus to finish the design. Here is the picture, which I hope is worth a thousand words, and worth even more with a few thousand words added.

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