Landluber's Guide to Seasteading Feasibility

(Theodore M. Amenta) #41

Cay Sal ---- Imagine this located at, attached or near Cay Sal. If you say no, I accept your direction. I am currently testing this off the coast of Maine and Polynesia with the wind generators. The concept includes a Yacht Club and B&B with a total of 40-rooms; 150,000 SF of co-work / digital nomad office with 100 workers; market-rate residential for these workers and significant others; retail, cafe-dining, recreation, services and marina. Depending on location a seaplane hanger and / or ferry pier. The total cost is $50 to $55 million and total value is $65 million. Always seek input and comment, Ted —

(Larry G) #42

Yes, some sort of agora, church, or public square is necessary. I’m not sure that a marina eliminates such a need. I think it expands it.

For optimal sizing of community, see “Dunbar’s number”. The ubiquitous military unit runs 200-300 people. Companies scaling above this number need much more elaborate process formality etc. etc.

Captured water space is useful for a number of practical reasons with little relationship to the psyche.

I’m not sure I’m clear yet on your “edges are 200% more expensive concept” I’m also thinking that the concept of attachment points corner to corner (vs edge to edge along a significant length) have not been justified or fully baked yet. An important concept here is modularity. I can see a couple dimensions of modular. In the construction phase and modular mobility retained forever. In your concept Ted, it seems a pretty significant engineering feat to attach these platforms, and they probably must stay attached in that specific configuaration. In the hexagon model, the edge connections would also be significant engineering effort and expense. I can’t see them being totally hot swappable either, with any edge instantly ready to mate up with any othe edge. But they would be fairly modular from a construction perspective, with each block under construction being built to have one to three connection points pretty easily.

As for displacement, the cheapest structure is probably (as mentioned in the hexagon thread) simply an open bottom with discrete blocks of EPS surrounded by a hull wall that would serve as legs should the structure ever need to be grounded. That’s not the most efficient structure from a useful space perspective. But nothing is perfect and cheap is a high priority.

Another question discussed exhaustively on this forum is anchors vs free floating. If you intend to float and anchor, realize that minimum anchor lengths exist. For a standard boat anchor to catch you need to play out a minimum 3 times the depth in anchor line. This also gives you play for tidal variance. Unless you plan to swing around the anchor line, you may need multiple anchors. This can be a potential for fouling other boat in the area or coming to visit your seastead. Depending on your attachment plan between platforms, it may require significant changes to your anchor plan. If you go with higher tech anchor solutions (suction piles for example) the cost goes up and potential environmental impact changes. Actually plan for anchoring to have an environmental impact no matter what you do.

I find th cost extremely unlikely to be financed for anything less revenue dense than a super high end casino hotel.

It’ll never happen for the creation of a village. The cost MUST be cheaper. In the realm of tens to hundreds of thousands per family accomodation, not millions. The average person will have to finance their seasteaders move by the sale of a land home and some savings, not debt financing.

(Larry G) #43

[quote=“spark, post:38, topic:2392”]There seems to be a kind of feudalistic tie to location and to property on land, and people seem to look at
each other as properties and objects.

Yes, but it’s not feudal. It’s genetic. Almost all mammals and a huge percentage of other animals claim and defend territory. Even reef fish tend to have a territory. There’s no point in fighting the tendency. We need to acknowledge and work with it.

As for objectification, yes again. People are objects. They are a specific class of objects. At some level our motivations and incentives vary, and conflict. At that point you have to decide how you want treat people, as autonomous beings with value, or as an obstacle with no value to you. The same can be said of animals, trees, reef systems, the environment in general. It’s a short term vs long term viewpoint.

As for being property, we have a very complex web of mutual obligations in society. If you look at it in terms of contract, yes, we do have some value interest in each other’s time, to some extent.

(.) #44

I am glad we agree on that.

(Bob LLewellyn) #45

The problem of tying barges together regardless of the shape is really determined by the material used. Cement will ware quickly if it is rubbing against another structure, steel on the other hand is more forgiving. If we are talking about steel fabs, then our answer has already been found. Look at this page
Notice the groves on the spud barges? That’s how they make those large barge platforms for the really big crane viewed below.

I’m thinking of a steel/cement combo where steel braces protrude from the cement and is tied to the adjacent barge by a large steel pin or bolt. Then cover the space between barges with a steel runner plate like they use on truck docks.

This topic is more for phase two of the Marinea project but we are looking at several suggestions as to the material and design. I would like to suggest that you to submit designs for phase two to the project CEO. Send any Marinea business to and Mary will see to it that it gets to the right person.

One last comment about square area, at sea, we want to utilize all the area available so large breaker walls would also be storage area for life vest and such or even businesses. Make every construction area pay for itself.

And let me thank everyone for their input, we will be sure to put it to good use.


(Larry G) #46

Standard Barge Coupling

(Larry G) #47


My point being:
Standard barge couplings are engineered for standard barges.

50 meters X 50 meters is not a standard barge…

(Larry G) #49

No, but it’s smaller than some. The main difference is that barges are designed to be moved with some semblance of timeliness. Seasteaders might not.


It’s certainly far smaller than, say, the Royal Dutch Shell ‘Prelude’. I still seriously doubt that they’ll have ‘standard’ docking connectors.

At that size, you’re going to want to use thrusters to move, not some combination of docking mechanisms and tugs for standard barges… And, it WILL need to be able to move, even if only to turn into wind and waves.

They won’t likely HAVE barge connectors… at all.

(Theodore M. Amenta) #51

Please accept for this moment I have conceptualized a “feasible” sestead. It is a prototype.

I am testing it off the coast of Maine, Polynesia and in the Persian Gulf – possibly the coast of southern Florida — subject to feed back. When off the New England coast it is associated with wind turbines. When in Polynesia — both with and without wind turbines. I fear Seasteading Institute has not yet demonstrated a feasible project. I believe i have. I have shared 100% of my work with Seasteading Institute. I attache a work-in-progress ---- I am here testing various configurations of the concept. I hope all this will be discussed in Polynesia this next few weeks. Ted

(Larry G) #52

At 50x50m? If it’s symmetrical, the issue of turning into the wind is kind of moot. Able to move and able to be moved are not the same thing. I would far rather have a tug move my dedicated platform than dedicate a massive engine to my house that rarely moves.

And Cay Sal seems to have reasonably predictable prevailing winds and currents. Honestly, I just think a gravity base works better for a place like Cay Sal than ANY for of dynamic positioning or anchor system. Play it as a fisheries improvement/reef building project.

I’m not saying the standard barge connection is the only path, but significant engineering has gone into coupling large sq footage platforms already, it’s the right place to start. And even if the connector isn’t really used to move the hub, but more to dock subsidiary units, it might make sense to use something proven to withstand a certain amount of pitching moment.

I like what Ted is doing, but I’m pointing out that I’m pretty sure his earlier concept of connecting rectangles at corners won’t work well. And since he’s talking about new construction for debt financing purposes, then ‘other than rectangle’ is almost certainly the way to go. I mean I don’t think it’s feasible to get that much financing for such a “crazy” project, but anybody who thinks they can, more power to’em. And if they can, I’ll eat my lunch.

(.) #53

I am still at the point of that a boat is necessary at the seastead.
Sailboat, motor boat , motor sailer, ???
It is difficult to ignore that the wind is free. The sails do cost.
A motor boat with extra electric engines and solar panels could work.
The sun shines for free.
The stability of a mono hull sailboat with a keel and a large ballast is beneficial.
ini mini miny mo…
I like sailing. I also like solar panels.

The only way to escape a storm and big waves is going under the waves.
A diving bell functioning seastead could include a motor boat easier than a sailboat.
The sail boat has a big mast.

A motor sailer with small mast that can be unstepped could work.
Leaving a sailboat on the surface without people in it could work too.

A seasteader boat would have to be something like a compromise, like the
motor sailer: does not sail as well as a sailboat, and does not motor as well as a motor boat,
but it can do both.

Seasteading is an unusual thing, so the seasteader boat might be an unusual boat too.

It would be beneficial to have a “seasteader boat” even before having a seastead.

It might be good to build an unusual boat that could be used on seasteads.
This boat would probably have to be built before a seastead, so it would have to be built
with concepts that are not readily recognizable. It would be like a swiss army knife.

(Larry G) #54

Good summary, Spark.

I would point out that storms happen all the time and people sail, motor, float through them. Extreme storms pose bigger problems, but also occur with a certain rarity in some places.

People have to (or at least should) plan for extreme storms on land in Florida and tornado alley. Yet millions of people still live there.

(.) #55

Yes, and some people do not make it:
The multiple-fatality wreck of the Dipiu we told you about last week was hauled off the Rimini jetty over the weekend as documented by Manual Migliorini from Il Resto Di Carlino here.

(Larry G) #56

The commentary there is not about how sad that the tragedy was unavoidable because they were overtaken by weather…

Rather the contrary- incompetence is being blamed. I have only a rudimentary, lay persns second hand knowledge of sailing, but I know that you don’t try to make land in a hurricane. You either do it well before, or you stay well out to sea.

(.) #57

Yes, you do.
There were a few preexisting conditions:
There some refit to the boat. Probably the engine and compartment.
Storm was coming. They were radio contacted to return.
They motored to the harbor with the refit condition. No sails. Lee shore.

Seasteading can be similar, wrong fit, complacent decisions.

I did have an engine failure upon entering the harbor, and I put up sails, and
turned back, until engine restarted. At that time I did not know if that was the right
decision, but now I do. It was a difficult decision because of the strong wind, big waves,
and a seasick person on board.

Since then I take with me two engines at least.

(Larry G) #58

Consider my hexagon drawing and post above. There I’m talking about 8m/24ft sides. I drew 17 of them, but realistically the majority of the benefit comes from the first 9 or 10 in the circle. That’s almost 1500 sq ft per hex.

Figure walls and deck 12 inches thick, one deck, walls 20 feet high (total) extending some distance above and below the deck (you decide where in the vertical relief you want the deck to be placed), makes it 162 cubic yards (582,000 lbs) of concrete. Call it $100/yard ($16,200 total) plus triple for labor and other materials (~400 cubic yards of EPS foam provides positive buoyancy and floats the whole thing with almost zero possibility of sinking, that’s about 2.4 yards or 7.5 feet deep under the deck.) That’s still under $70k per hex for the shell. Double the cost of the shell provides included systems (water, electricity, sanitation, telecoms) and finished living space. Still under $150k for each housing hex. A little under $100/sq foot of finished + outdoor living space. Add more or less depending on how much of the hex you want your accommodation to take up, or how many stories high you want to go. Don’t forget, some of the hexes might not need all of that.

You might make the whole hex into a house. You might build a house across the width between two opposing walls (24’ x 41’) with two small outdoors areas for work space. One hex might be just a freshwater supply. Who knows? The particular configuration is up to the purchaser. I’m estimating way high on cost to build for the sake of conservative estimates.

That starts to sound like affordable housing.$150k for housing and a share in an aquaculture co-op? Starts to sound like affordable, finance-able housing and career.

Marina services, aquaculture co-op, a small fishing fleet, fish market/packing/freezing operation, several homes together, a fisheries and wildlife patrol station, university extension office- starts to sound like a village.

Many seaside villages have little or no agriculture and make their living from the sea and trade.

(Theodore M. Amenta) #59

Larry G & JL-Frusha ---- I feel like I walked into the wrong wedding reception. Be patient. Larry G has proved me with several insights I did not have before this forum. I am off tracking down his thoughts to apply to my Sea-City — call it what you will. I now realize his hexagons were more directed to a smaller house-scale project. I think I now realize the “thread” is trending toward a notion different than my original. So — If I can contribute, 1.) I am happy to design “pro bono” a “bucky fuller” dome house on a hexagon platform with 2 or 3 bed rooms etc. You all describe. I owe Larry for his several insights that are guiding me on the much larger 200,000 square feet on which I am work gin — : ) Ted

(Theodore M. Amenta) #60

Perspective: ---- In 1976 I lost a friend Mike Flanagan and business partner in the OSTAR — Observer Transatlantic Singlehanded Race. He was lost at sea, his boat recovered in the north Atlantic — I have sailed for 60-years on lakes as a child, Cowes Week in the 1960’s and he New England waters since ---- but I am certain you two have more knowledge than do I. I repeat I will gift architectural design and illustration to compensate for the insights Larry G has gifted to me. Ted