An Introduction To The New Tropic Bird, A Sailing Fishing Vessel
The new Tropic Bird is a 75-foot long sailing fishing boat built using a completely sustainable, ecologically friendly, carbon-negative modern technology which employs 95% wood for construction. This technology builds boats using the cheapest, lowest-quality wood available in a manner that is technically sophisticated, yet inexpensive. The result is a vessel that is strong, durable, unsinkable, safe, and comfortable at sea. That is a very strong claim; but we can substantiate it:
Starting with the proven construction technology from our original 56-foot Tropic Bird, and adding all the improvements to the design we will learn during construction and operation of the 37-foot long “Splash”, the new 75-foot Tropic Bird is based on a traditional Polynesian canoe design; only she uses all modern components such as epoxy, fiberglass, marine plywood, and dacron ropes and sails for strength, safety, and longevity.
The resulting vessel not only travels the ocean at almost no cost, it does so at two to two-and-a-half times the speed of the motorboats she will replace. The new Tropic Bird gets to the fishing grounds much faster than motorized fishing boats of the same size! She also has a 30,000 pound fish hold, and her own energy-efficient refrigeration system so her owners will never have to buy ice or watch it melt.
She is also our “proof-of-concept” for Kahu Moana, and will be used to deliver trial runs of refrigerated farm produce from small outer island farmers to the relatively large market in Oahu (read more about that here).
Tropic Bird is designed for safely and profitably fishing with a crew of up to six, within 1,800 miles of her home port. She is designed to easily and safely travel long distances through very bad weather, even when fully loaded. You never know what will happen next a thousand miles from a safe harbor; and the last thing a fisherman wants to worry about is putting too much fish on their boat and making it less safe.
If we had a Tropic Bird right now, we could show you how she sails, how you catch fish off her, and take you for a sail. But we don’t. Yet.
We’re building Tropic Bird‘s little sister Splash first, to show you just what’s possible with this type of boat. The next boat out of the boat shop after the 37-foot Splash is the 75-foot Tropic Bird. We’re inviting you to use your vision, your imagination, and your green energy ($) to help us make Splash a reality. Your participation will make a difference in this project; here’s some fuel for your imagination:
Tropic Bird will sail like this, but a WHOLE lot faster because of her size:
And Tropic Bird will look like this; these are four of the twenty-three concept drawings we currently have of her:
(Below) A layout and section sketch showing hulls, cross-arms, relative levels of hatches, water ballast tank in outrigger, the trolling and ika-shiibi outriggers, some notes, and volume and weight calculations.
(Below) A layout and section sketch showing the forward crew cabins with engine location, drive location and details, deck hatch, and other details. This was back before Tropic Bird got expanded to 75 feet as a result of financial projections that indicated she needed a greater carrying capacity and range for optimum economic viability. By now you know that “iako” is a Hawaiian word for a boat part; it means “crossarm”, the structural beam which connects the main hull to the outrigger hull.
(Below) This is a cabin section sketch showing bunk, vent and hatch sizes and types, and opening directions; also closet and cabinetry. “Fold-down computer desk”? Well, of course: the boat’s going to have a satellite Internet connection anyway for navigation and data, and I mean, we gotta check our email and FaceBook page after a hard night’s fishing before we turn in. And Mahina or Keoki might have answered my Tweet about the canoe club luau on Saturday night!
(Below) More deck layout; this concept sketch shows the cockpit deck layout and steering stations, the working deck areas where fishermen stand when pulling lines and gaffing fish. It also shows the “slides”, which we devised to make it easy for a single crew person to get a 200-pound yellowfin tuna up onto the deck by themselves when the other crew members are each dealing with their own 200-pound yellowfin: “Brah, help me gaff this buggah!”, “No brah, YOU help me gaff THIS buggah! Mine biggah than yours!”. Why is that a big deal? At the right time of year, that 200-pounder is a $2,000 fish!
That’s the new Tropic Bird! We’re doing a little more every day to make her a reality, and starting by building Splash. If you’d like to be part of the community that creates Splash and the new Tropic Bird, please do what you can to help out.