Sustainable Ocean Transportation: The Splash Project
Aloha from the Big Island of Hawaii! I’m Tim Mann.
We live on the island of Hawaii, in the middle of the sea. We love it here. And we depend on cheap oil to bring us everything we need to survive: energy, food, goods, and tourists.
And who can guarantee cheap oil? No one. When you think about losing cheap oil, you’ll understand that’s a future no one wants to live in.
So, we are building a future that you will want to live in. We’re building an oil-independent future for Hawaii.
Now that’s a big job, and we’re only one family. We’re not experts in all the disciplines that will be needed to create sustainable energy, food, and an economy for Hawaii. But we are experts in one area: ocean transportation. We’ve been building sailing cargo, passenger, and fishing boats since 1978.
The Wind Is Free.
Wind is free; gas and diesel never will be. Our boats run on wind, and that’s why they are the solution for an oil-independent future for Hawaii, and for the future of island and coastal communities everywhere.
To see a fun video of our family sailing Coconut, watch this:
To see a 20-second video of “How Coconut Doesn’t Capsize”, watch this:
To see Coconut sailing at a 35-degree angle of heel for almost two minutes, and NOT capsizing, watch this:
We’re building SAFE sailing work boats that will change the world and clean up our oceans. The first one is Coconut, a 24-foot sailing fishing proa that launched on April 15, 2019. She’s perfect for near-shore fisheries and as a lagoon taxi and cargo hauler.
We’re currently building a 38 foot long sailing fishing passenger hauler named Lata for the island of Taumako in the Solomon Islands . It’s the perfect size for inter-island passenger and cargo transportation for islands and coastal communities, as well as commercial fishing on a small, sustainable scale.
Here’s what these boats will do:
1. These boats carry passengers and cargo; they also catch fish. They don’t need diesel fuel to operate; they don’t pollute our planet, and they don’t increase global warming the way motorboats do. The wind that they use is not only CLEAN, it’s FREE!
2. They are affordable and can be operated by a small crew; this reduces costs and makes any kind of commercial operation much more economically viable. Because of this, they are a perfect “fit” for ALL sizes of communities: a small island or coastal community may be able to support one or two of the 38-footers. Larger communities will have eight or ten of those, plus a 90-footer for bigger cargo and longer ocean passages. These can all be operated by individuals who will be able to make a good living using the wind and their sailboat.
(Below) One of our 40-foot long “lagoon bus” catamarans in Kiribati, with WAY too many people on board (hint: there are MORE people inside the cabin than you see on deck). But that’s how they load them!
(Below) Another one of our 40-foot “Lagoon Buses” headed out into Majuro lagoon for a test sail with its proud new owners (and most of the boatshop crew) on board.
(Below) Lots of small commercial fishing boats in Hawaii have simply been parked because of the high cost of fuel. This didn’t just happen overnight; it’s been sneaking up on us for years.
So we’re doing something about it, not just for our family, but for everyone on the planet. We’re building sailing work boats that subtract the punishing cost of fuel from the boat’s operating cost. This makes these “lagoon taxis” and “lagoon buses” possible, as well as giving the small fisherman a boat that doesn’t take half of his total income just for fuel.
It’s not going to happen overnight. We think we’ll begin to see large-scale results in ten years. But hey, it’s going to be fun, and we’re going to get to eat a lot of really fresh fish, and get to go sailing a lot in the process. And we LOVE eating ocean fish and sailing!
And it’s not going to happen unless you pitch in and help. We’re committing the next ten years, and, as our Declaration Of Independence originally stated best, our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor to this project. Our biggest hurdle is that we don’t have any “fortune” to speak of. We can build boats easy as A-B-C, but we need help with the funding side of the equation.
(Below) Here’s a cute little 24-foot sailing fishing boat and “lagoon taxi”. We built 3 of these in the Marshall Islands; she could carry 400+ pounds of fish and ice in her insulated fish box, or 8 to 10 passengers and their baggage.
Great idea! How Do We Get There From Here?
They say it takes a village to raise a child; well, in Polynesia where we live, it takes a village to build a boat. Everyone’s involved, from the smallest child who fetches coconut fronds to shade the canoe from the sun, to the master canoe builder who prays among the trees in the forest for days before selecting the one to become the canoe.
We’re the same. We may be experienced boat builders and blue water sailors, but we still need our village. Especially for this project; because it’s the most ambitious one we’ve ever undertaken. It’s truly the start of a blue-green revolution in the way we do things on the ocean! We’re not just making a new iPhone app; we’re building a BOAT! That’s why we need your help.
We’re starting with Coconut, a 24-foot sailing fishing Pacific proa with a 600-pound insulated fish box in the main hull (that’s the BIG deck hatch just to the left of the mast).
The boats we’re building are faster than most motorboats but don’t use any gas; don’t pound in a choppy sea, and the motion is far, far less than that of a motorboat at the same speed. This translates into less crew and passenger fatigue in a passenger craft, and more energy for fishing when you get to the fishing grounds for a fishing craft.
It is perfect for any areas with artisanal fisheries; it will make these fisheries more profitable for the fisherman while conserving the fishing stocks at the same time. These boats are also extremely economical for small cargo and passenger carriers in lengths from 24 feet up to 150 feet or so. This sounds like a tall order, so let us explain why we know we’ll pull it off:
I’ve been there before.
Our current situation was coming a long time before it hit: I designed, built and launched my 56-foot sailing fishing vessel Tropic Bird in Hawaii in 1978 as a solution to the fuel rationing and crazy gas price hikes I’d experienced while living on the mainland in 1974, after the Arab oil embargo doubled gas prices at the pump.
I figured the time would come when I couldn’t afford fuel for a conventional motor-powered fishing boat, so I built a sailing fish boat instead, and fished her successfully for 17 years in the open ocean off Hawaii.
The concept of the 56-foot Tropic Bird was a fishing vessel that “lived off the wind”, and it worked. An important factor in her financial success was that Tropic Bird had her own refrigeration system, which meant I never had to purchase or haul ice. I never had to watch helplessly while my ice melted during those times it took me longer than expected to find the fish (you see, if it was guaranteed, they’d call it “catching” instead of “fishing”!). When I found the fish and boated the first ones, I just turned on the Big Fridge to keep them cold.
(Below) My 56-foot sailing fishing boat Tropic Bird, at the dock in Kawaihae, Hawaii, sometime in 1980. Sailing fish boats were profitable then, and even more so now.
The operating cost of a sailing fishing boat such as Tropic Bird, or the new ones we’re building, is one-quarter what the operating cost of an equivalent motor-powered vessel using ice is. As a result, if the Hawaiian fisherman using this boat brings in even half as much fish, he still makes the same amount of money after expenses as if he was doing it with a motorboat. Ask any fisherman if this would be a good idea, and he’ll say “of course!”.
Another way to look at this is the amount of fish such a boat can conserve. If our Hawaiian fisherman makes the same amount of money catching half as much fish, he can leave the other half in the ocean and still fund a decent lifestyle for his family. This is completely in line with the ancient Hawaiian values of conservation and sustainable management of our ocean resources.
(Below) My 56-foot sailing fishing boat Tropic Bird, trolling on the way to the fishing grounds off the Hilo Coast of the Big Island in 1984.
I thought the world would see the obvious desirability of energy-efficient sailing work boats such as my 56-foot Tropic Bird, and I’d design and build more. But the embargo and the rationing ended, and gas prices went down.
Although I made a good living fishing Tropic Bird because she was so inexpensive to operate, everyone else just gassed up their motorboats and kept on doing it the old way. That was 40 years ago. Now, we feel the world is not only ready for, but also in desperate need of this energy-efficient sailing work boat technology. That’s why we’re building the next generation of these boats.
Here is a link to download our complete Investor Package. It includes a 2-page Executive Summary, a 24-page business plan, a 23-slide PowerPoint deck, a 7-page written narrative of “What We’re Doing”, a first and second-year’s sales projections spreadsheet with customer names listed, and an “Expenditures Timeline” spreadsheet that details our costs and timeline for developing our autonomous research boat “the ARC”, and building 15 of them.
Please feel free to email me, Tim, at skipper at oceanpeople dot org with any questions or feedback you’d like to offer.
With Warm Aloha, The Ocean People Family: Tim, Susanne, Victor, Jack, Lucky, and Rose
Click on the blue text to find out more about our “Lata” project, a 38-foot sailing fishing passenger carrier for Taumako Island in the Solomon Islands: Lata, a sustainable 38-foot sailing fishing boat: