Geo positioning - floating in one spot

(Gordon Hoffman) #1

I came across an article on a wave powered boat that can be used for ocean exploration that wouldn’t need auxiliary power. I have thought about a seastead that might be somewhere with mild currents that could cause it to drift some, so it might be nice to have a system to keep it in a specific location. I worked up a little prototype and tested it on my pond. He are my results

(.) #2

Hi Gordon;

Thank you for the video. Good idea, and nice video.

(Chad Elwartowski) #3

Awesome. Prototypes are always a great thing here.

It seems simple and effective if wave power can keep it bobbing up and down. It might work in a location without a heavy current and some computer control.

I’m curious of the efficiency as compared to regular boat motors as those have been de facto for decades.

(Wilfried Ellmer) #4

@Gordien | this (stationary drifting) was successfully done by the Velella Project the cages where positioned in an Eddy (stationary circular ocean current type vortex) near Hawaii…very little propulsion is needed …

context: wave powered glider | a robotic drone vehicle navegating the oceans harvesting the energy of the ocean for propulsion ( it has a similar fin propulsion as your pond raft and was designed by liquid robotics to harvest wave energy and convert up and down motion into fin propulsion… )

this is how it works…it looks a bit “overengineered” - the simple concept can be applied much simpler and contundent - as you show with your pond paddle…

Suntory Mermaid II is such an example...(cantilever bowfin propulsion on a catamaran)
For something like a freight ship the feasible cruising speed of wave/fin propulsion was estimated at 8,5 knots
We have investigated the field for submarine cruising and it looks promising...

(noboxes) #5

It’s common practice in a canoe to move the boat sideways by keeping the paddle blade submerged and stroking it bow-stern and manually turning the angle at the end of each stroke. I saw movies of gondola drivers waggling the oar astern to move the boat. Anyhow, it’s a neat trick to make the blade horizontal to take advantage of waves, @Gordien. Question is, who wants to live in the wave zone that has enough power to move a seastead against a 3 knot ocean current? Maybe if you made an unmanned tractor in the wave zone to tow a seastead that isn’t interacting with the waves?

The other two solutions i could mention have nothing to do with paddles.

  1. Deep ocean currents may be flowing in opposite direction from the surface currents. Drop a weighted parachute overboard to catch that deep current.

  2. There’s few currents guaranteed to go someplace known, eventually. People have tried to use the eddys off the eastern usa, north of Bahamas, but they were too unpredictable. But traveling the main water flow was known 100’s of years ago to take you to England, and catching the current off north Africa would land you somewhere in the carribean islands. So it’s quite predictable, as was mentioned years ago, Velella Project could launch a fish ball off the usa east coast, past several seasteads in a big Atlantic circle and end up right back at the launch site.

(Gordon Hoffman) #6

It could be that these position stabilizers be a part of the energy generating, wave dampening system of the seastead’s outer ring, just outside of the kelp beds, which might create an even calmer environment. The more the infrastructure can do with free energy the less expense for the docking fees.

(noboxes) #7

How does what you just did compare to the wave-powered boat that went from Hawaii to Japan a year or so ago, and barely made it?

(Gordon Hoffman) #8

110 days is a long time for that trip. I was thinking it could be used for staying in one place, rather than drifting. One impressive part of that technology is how stabilized the craft was - just what you would want in a breakwater - plus the extra motion could be used to generate electricity. It’s not really free energy - the apparatus would need constant maintenance, but you would get something out of it (another piece of the energy supply puzzle)

As for the pond - I’ll have a better way to get out to the aquaponics rig that I want to place over my aerator, and for cattail maintenance.

(noboxes) #9

Thank you @Gordien , for building something, and understanding and explaining it.

(Gordon Hoffman) #10

You have great ideas. This whole project seems fantastic, if it ever gets done.


Seems quite cumbersome to me.

If a seastead is to be kept “in a specific location”, then:

A. If that location is in 100’ of water or less, drop the hook, end of story.

B. If offshore, in deep water, use GPS synchronized electric thrusters, end of story.

(noboxes) #12

Power requirement to run the thrusters.

(noboxes) #13

Small problem… the ends of the stroke, both up and down… lets discuss down. Given along down stroke, the fin is making propulsion all the way to the bottom of the vertical pole stroke, and then you pull the pole up. The time between the bottom of the down stroke and the time on the upstroke that the fin toggles and begins to make propulstion again, is wasted movement. One can easily argue it’s not power wasted, because with the water or the seastead moving, it doesn’t take much effort to merely toggle the fin. But it is wasted movement of the vertical pole, and your arms. One could also argue the energy being used is free wave motion, but what if the waves are small enough that the motion lost in the toggling is a large portion of the wave motion? If too much of the wave motion is spent only toggling the fin, but not moving it enough to make propulsion between the toggling, there is the aweful situation where you are drifting around and uselessly wearing out the mechanism! I hope i explained well enough, and you can find a cure for the situation. It’s so elegantly simple for the updown of waves to updown the fin and make useable horizontal thrust, this problem i describe must have a solution.


Really? Like ANY seasteader in the right mind would go offshore WITHOUT meeting power requirements,…

Plus, whats the point beyond the point of maintaining stationary position 1000 nm offshore?

Nothing there… Well, wait,…hold on,… maybe it’s Wil’s New Venice Trade Mark competing with the existing maritime trading powers or noboxes “floatie” reassembled in anything other than a boatyard,…

(noboxes) #15

I believe the point was to minimise PROPULSION energy needs to stay in the general area. It’s entirely possible to float in giant circles in the western GOM, and then, with very little power, cross over the main flow that runs north thru the center of the GOM, and be in the flow that eventually becomes the Florida Current.

People being able to find you? Waiting in a general area for weather conditions before continuing? I dunno, it wasn’t really my problem. But it might be some day, so i can let a few brain cells work on it. If you don’t mind.

Many people over the years have built small recreational boats in their garages or back yards, and never had their boat in a “boatyard”.


Not new, but definitely functional. Congratulations @Gordien on a successful experiment and I’m glad it seems to be making movement about the pond easier than poling.

1850 - 1899
The earliest known document describing a wave-powered boat is a US patent by Daniel Vrooman of Hudson, Ohio (Vrooman, 1858), from 1858. In his patent, see Fig. 1, he describes “[…] a new and useful improvement in ships and other vessels for enabling their up and down motion from the rolling of the sea and other causes and the corresponding movement of the water to aid in propelling them on their course […]”. Vrooman explains how this can be achieved by attaching elastic fins or wings to the bow, bilge run, and counter of the ship. It appears, however, that Vrooman did not build his wave-powered boat, as his patent reads: “To enable others skilled in the art to make and use my invention, I will proceed to describe its construction and operation.” It is not known whether or not someone else actually built Vrooman’s boat.

(Gordon Hoffman) #20

The video of Einar Jakobsen is what inspired me in the first place. I did notice the wasted moments as the fin toggles around. I think a second control rod running down from the handle will allow me to control the wag at the end of the stroke (better revisit the dolphin tail because I’d bet they don’t have any wasted movement - and they probably have 12 muscles that control other nuanced movements - edge curling, etc.). For the really subtle waves, and there is likely not much wind at that time either, something like a bellows might have some effect. There might be a need for rotating the stead for optimal solar conditions - I would hate to see a bunch of power wasted.

The ocean isn’t crowded yet, so rightful territory wouldn’t be an issue right away. I might want to stay predictably close to a shipping lane, for obvious reasons.

Of course, a lot of these details will be worked out on the stead in the cooperative inventors workshop, over by the sunny side of the loading dock, with us like-minded innovators.

(noboxes) #22

They prolly have better motion control at the end of stroke, and dampen the toggle, but then must still allow movement to reach the optimum pitch for the forward speed and thrust desired. The best fin position is going to vary by speed of the stroke too. I wonder, since you mentioned edge curling, if the moving water itself can do the complete fin toggle without vertical pole movement?

(Gordon Hoffman) #23

Some of the more highly designed divers swim fins have interesting fluting. In the current New Atlas magazines has an article about clip on fin attachments like used for clipping snow skis to their boots (anyone look at New Atlas, besides me?)

(Gordon Hoffman) #24

Einar’s fin has springs - maybe he’s figured it out already.