I had an inquiry recently that
did not go forward but got me thinking.
The job was to design a passenger ferry for Lake
Tanganyika. All parties assumed it would
be aluminum or fiberglass, and built in Europe.
I wondered why it could not be
built locally in Africa with local plywood and
epoxy? That would be less expensive and
very long lived.
My first USCG certified
catamaran design was built of plywood/epoxy in
1984 and still operates every day in Kona, Hawaii.
That operation would not only remove
the large dollar cash transfer from developing
countries to industrialized ones, but it would
create a local skill-
set that would allow future vessels to be built
the same way.
Only the epoxy, sheathing fiberglass
and machinery would need to be imported.
The design could and would conform
to classing society rules and thus could be easily
insured. In appearance and function, it would
be identical to a plastic or metal one built here.
I see my role as not only designing
the vessels, but also assisting in design of the
process to build them.
I am by now, expert in both
plywood/epoxy construction vessel design
Furthermore, I do considerable
US Coast Guard certified vessel design.
This design could take advantage of my experience.
I do come from a long line
of advocates. My parents were in Africa
in the 50s with the Near East Foundation and the
Koinonia Foundation, and later in the 70s with
the Peace Corps. My daughter is presently
in the Peace Corps in Azerbaijan.