The Node Boat
An EN200 Naval Architecture/EM300 Ocean Engineering Project Proposal
Imagine, sitting by the pool, soaking up the sun with your trusty laptop, noding away on the high seas. Footprints is pouring drinks at the bar across the pool ("Outta sight!"). With thefez at the helm and NotFabio as the weapons officer, don't you feel safe? Ok, scratch that last comment. But imagine, one community, one boat, all seven seas. Appealing, isn't it?
- Create an alternative to the Everything, Kansas project. Although Everything, Kansas is far more likely to be attempted, the simple fact that it is defined by a manifesto will scare many of our moderate neighbors and probably raise resistance amongst the politicians of the area. Manifesto equals Communist equals Un-American equals Bad. We must have a backup plan- one where we possess our sovereign territory, and have the ability to promote ourselves wherever and whenever we please. Just as the modern aircraft carrier is over 70,000 tons of brute force American diplomacy, the Node Boat will be a floating icon of the adventurous Everythingian.
- Bring plausibility to the U.S.S. Everything project. Although the concept of Geeks in Space manning a interstellar spacecraft and saving the universe in 60 minutes despite sustaining two red alerts and numerous torpedo hits is attractive, it will not occur in our lifetime. Let us seek to achieve a smaller, yet equally exciting opportunity before we build a warp-capable ship.
- Increase flexibility as a mobile noding platform. The Revolution Will Be Noded. However, not everyone will be able to reach a central land location in the reaches of central North America. Many will not be able to just pack their bags and relocate. Yet we have seen the success of those who do relocate to a place devoted to noding. The Node Boat will accomodate both. Since it is mobile, and over half of the world's land area is within the first 500 miles of littoral environment, the Node Boat will be able to come to the noder, not vice versa. Although it will certainly have the necessary amenities for those who will chose to live on board, it will also be much like a cruise liner for those who choose to make the Node Boat a temporary home. The Node Boat is far more suitable for habitation or for vacation than a single town. Best of all, the Node Boat allows us to bring noding all over the world. People will come to visit the boat, and will be introduced to E2. Just paint the boat up in the E2 Jukka theme with Everything Logo on the prow, and wait for the visitors to arrive.
The eventual choice of vessels must be able to meet manning requirements, endurance requirements, and technological requirements. Performance is largely irrelevant, as the ability to go from EMCON at 6 knots, with deceptive "fishing vessel" lighting to 32 knots with Guided Missile Radar illuminated is not necessary.
- Manning Requirements: A vessel which requires a small crew (less than 8 people) is required. A vessel which could be safely operated doublehanded is optimal. A vessel that could be operated by a single, drunk thefez who has decided to reenact the Exxon Valdez Incident is not acceptable. Although it should be operable by a minimum number of people, an ideal Node Boat would be able to carry a large number of noders. This would allow for either more guest crewmembers, or for watch sections to be established. The use of watch sections would allow cruising to longer ranges. Facilities to support many noders would also be required. This includes berthing, heads, a galley and a wardroom. Furthermore, a small fitness room with a single, multistation weight machine and treadmill is necessary. Having completed a long distance cruise with the Navy, I understand what happens to crews when they can't get the energy out. Weird things, man. Weird things. Like the time that the Chief of the Watch bet us dinner in port that we couldn't fit two dozen midshipmen into the 8 foot-wide kiddie pool on the fantail. Recreation happens, and it has a tendency to get ugly.
- Endurance Requirements: Long range cruising is a desirable characteristic of our potential Node Boat. Unless we desire to be the trash barges circling off Staten Island, we will need to be able to leave the harbour. However, long range crusing may become expensive, mostly in fuel costs. Sail power, at least as an auxillary system is a viable, if not preferred option because of its economy and earth-friendliness. Relying exclusively upon sail power is not a viable option if we desire to place the Node Boat on an schedule of port visits as the weather will not always cooperate with our preferred track line. Furthermore, entering a busy harbour exclusively on sail power is not only challenging, but extremely dangerous. The combination of large ships with no tolerance from their course due to narrow channels with small sailboats with no tolerance from their course due to the wind results in devastating collisions.
- Technological Requirements: As a mobile noding platform, the Node Boat will need to be able to use satellite communications, maritime fascimile, or another long range, wireless uplink/downlink technology. This technology will need to allow voice over IP as well as real-time videoconferencing so that we can remain connected with the landlubbers. Arrrr. Of course, we will need numerous computers. While some can be permanently installed in locations such as berthing and CIC, it'd be nice to have wireless ethernet capabilities throughout the ship to facilitate noding on the weather decks on particularly nice days. Finally, although it is not technically necessary to mission completion, all the aids to prudent mariners would be nice: GPS, radar, weather forecasting instruments, navigation instruments (fathometers, gyroscopic compasses and speedometers for example) and autohelm.
Several boats already on the market fit many of our specifications, each with weaknesses and strengths. Ultimately, we will either have to choose one of these boats and accept the compromises, or we will pay large amounts of money for a privately-commissioned vessel and construction of this vessel and get exactly what we want. In the end, yer gold ye pays and yer ship ye be havin'. Arrr. Four possible solutions follow:
- Fishing Trawler: They're cheap to own and operate. You can drive them into the Perfect Storm and they survive. Anyone can drive one, no special licences required. You can use the fishing equipment to catch dinner. The large holding areas below are climate controlled, so they can easily be converted into areas for the servers. They get special right of way conditions in crowded areas. And they smell like three day old fish. Nevermind.
- Cruise Liner: All the luxuries you could ask for, cruise liners are built for the comfort of the passenger. Plus they have room for shuffleboard! They're relatively easy to drive too, although not the most maneuverable and fairly deep in draft. That means there are only so many ports into which you can navigate. Oh yeah, and they're expensive as anything: a brand new cruise liner will cost in the range of at least nine digits, US Dollars, probably ten.
- YP-676 class Yard Patrol Craft: It's built to handle the abuse of 30 midshipmen at a time, with three officers who have hit the bars of the Atlantic seaboard at full steam commanding the 30 midshipmen. Driving a YP after going the whole nine yards in Newport is actually not that difficult. It's small, but very stable, and there's room for up to 38 people to live aboard with reasonable amenities. It can be driven by one person, but easily has enough stations that a half a dozen crewmembers can occupy themselves. It's designed to be very safe, with a pair of extremely reliable General Motors 12V71 diesel engines. However, no one is going to call a YP a particulary awe-inspiring vessel, and there is the issue of haze grey being the only color available.
- Farr 395: Designed by the legendary ship designer Bruce Farr, the Farr 395 combines the comforts of a cruising yacht with a racing sailboat. A 395 is fast, durable, easy to operate, and considering it is sail powered, it is relatively cheap to operate. However, it is not cheap to own: new, a 395 costs as much as some turbofan business jets, and since it is a racing yacht at heart, it is expensive to maintain. Furthermore, it only has crew for 6 up to 8 at best.
yossarian has /msg'd me pointing to his Everything Commune writeup, which clarifies many of the benefits of being afloat and underway. It also points out that he knows how to sail. This is a good thing because having done long distance, singlehanded sail races, I know that you start to see things that shouldn't be there if you drive too long. An overall excellent read.
etouffee says The node boat,,exciting and new....like a gravy boat,,,,but with hats and a shoe,,,The node boat,,,,come on come along,,,the node boat...you can sing this goofy song.... That makes us 100% cooler, as we now have our own theme song. If only we can get Richard Cheese to sing it for the inevitable made-for-TV movie.
Apatrix says re The Node Boat: Off the record: It puzzles me under which flag such a vessel would sail. American virtually excludes foreign noders from the crew, and FOC probably limits it to 12 passengers. This is a legal question that will need to be sorted out- fortunately it is step 632, as opposed to step 1, which is find the necessary funds. Also, admiralty laws do not apply in many cases of pleasure and private craft.
I know, I know. You think I'm kidding. You think I'm doing this for attention. I submit exhibit 1A: Messages from Outside on Monday, 4 November, 2002 that prove that noders like declaring ourselves a sovereign nation and terrorizing the high seas with drunken debauchery, pedantry, and monkey knife fights.
21:35 briglass dreamt that I was on a Carnival Cruise with the entire crew from Happy Days! And also Marilyn Manson (whom I share first names with)
21:38 witchiepoo Clearly, a celebrity cruise ship of some kind needs to take it's maiden voyage with a buncha Everythingians.
21:41 Ouroboros I'm always getting cruise offers from my college's alumni society. why not cruise with E2?
21:43 Ouroboros a floating bathtub of noders in international waters
21:45 thefez digs out a captain's hat and requisitions the Ocean Princess for the ultimate noder fun cruise to the sunny Ivory Coast!
21:46 haze Isn't this a Squid/Monkey campaign promise? Cruise to Int'l Waters for monkey knife fight?
21:46 Chris-O plans to take over the unoccupied islands in New York Bay
21:47 Erik Fish I would only go on an e2 cruise if it included feeding all the other noders to sharks, because I hate you all.
21:51 NotFabio offers to be the unknown third world nation sailor who actually drives the boat while thefez enjoys "Captain's Cocktail Hour" with his guests.
21:53 NotFabio also notes that he actually has the proper licenses to do such a thing (i.e US Sailing's Charter Captain, US Navy's Senior Skipper and Merchant Marine Pilotage Captain Rating)
21:54 thefez NotFabio i love you
21:58 thefez /msg NotFabio whatever i say DON'T scuttle the ship. i'll probably just be "in a mood"
22:00 IWhoSawTheFace NF: Could you requisition a smallish aircraft carrier for such an outing?
22:01 IWhoSawTheFace Or a battleship. A battleship would be good for this group.
22:02 NotFabio IWSTF: No, although I could requisition a 63 foot cruising yacht, which is far more luxurious than a carrier. If you've ever been on a warship, you'd know why The Love Boat wasn't filmed on a Gearing Class Destroyer.
22:02 IWhoSawTheFace There's nothing like the boom of 15 inch shells in the morning. 15 inches, Witchie. Grok that.
22:04 Eco No battleships! Some jokers would be too tempted to pull off a stupid stunt just so they could hear someone say "You sank my battleship!" for real.
22:06 IWhoSawTheFace We could all stand on the poop deck in yachting regalia, 15 miles offshore, and have Fezzie surrender. Or else.
22:07 haze Crusing yacht sounds ok. One of those battleship-gray jobs you midsters are always slicing up the Severn River with?
22:11 loquacious Ok, so we procure a Nimitz-class flat top, shuttle the e2ks crew there (and anyone else) and declare ourselves a sovereign nation and terrorize the high seas with drunken debauchery, pedantry, and monkey knife fights.