An Introduction To Tropic Bird, A Sailing Passenger and Refrigerated Cargo Vessel
Tropic Bird is the “first of class” of our Market Transport vessels. She can carry 20 tons of cargo or 99 passengers; or a mix of the two. She is also the half-size proof-of-concept of our 180-foot-long Island Carrier class of vessels.
Tropic Bird is a 90-foot long sailing passenger and refrigerated cargo ship, which uses a sustainable, ecologically friendly, carbon-negative modern technology to build ships that are strong, durable, unsinkable, safe, and comfortable at sea, using cheap low-quality wood in a manner that is sophisticated, yet inexpensive. That is a powerful claim; but we can substantiate it:
Starting with the proven construction technology from the original 56-foot Tropic Bird, and adding all the improvements to the design we learned during construction and operation of the 38-foot long “Lata”, the 90-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 times the speed of the motor vessels she will replace.
She 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).
Although she serves as the proof-of-concept for the much larger “Island Carrier” series of vessels, Tropic Bird is specifically designed for safely and profitably handling passenger and cargo carrying 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.
We just built Tropic Bird‘s little sister, the 38-foot Lata, to show you what’s possible with this type of boat. The next boat out of the boat shop after the 38-foot Lata is the 90-foot Tropic Bird. We are sourcing funding for her now.
We’re inviting you to use your vision, your imagination, and your green energy ($) to purchase a share in Tropic Bird and make her real. Your participation will make a difference in this project; here’s some fuel for your imagination:
Tropic Bird will sail like our Coconut here, but a WHOLE lot faster because of her size:
And Tropic Bird will look like this; these are four of the twenty-three concept sketches 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 from 64 to 90 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 crew 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 week ferrying cargo, locals, and tourists between the Big Island and Oahu. And Malia or Keoki might have answered my Tweet about the canoe club luau on Saturday night!
That’s Tropic Bird! We’re doing a little more every day to make her a reality, and we’ve started by building and sailing Lata. If you’d like to be part of the community that creates and owns Tropic Bird, please email us at skipper at oceanpeople dot org to see the boat ownership opportunities that are available.