What Is Your Big Dream?
Many people have big dreams but never realize them. We hope you have a big dream, because making a big dream come true feels so good! The secret is taking ACTION, one small step at a time.
What Is Our Big Dream?
We’ve wanted to build a boat for almost 20 years now.
Since then, we spent nearly a month at sea on her, learning how to sail a VERY different kind of boat. Now we know the difference between her and other boats that only have one “pointy end”, and we love our Coconut!
(Below) Now Coconut is real; 185 pieces of shaped wood, some fiberglass, some epoxy resin and paint. Simple, huh?
Now the data is in from sailing Coconut, we know what we’re doing with our next ten years. We’ve detailed it here. You can email us with questions, comments, inquiries about buying stock, or just to tell us you think we’re insane.
What we’re doing (by writing it all down on this page) is like getting married. You stand up in front of the people you know and love, and promise them you are going to give your everything to a nearly-impossible task: to love, cherish, and honor this other person til death do you part.
The memory of doing that, in front of those people, keeps you going when the going gets hard. Flat tires, leaky roofs, dirty diapers, losing your job or home, will try to keep you from following through. But you said you would, in front of God and the world, so by God, you do.
We’re telling the world what we’re doing so God and all of our friends can hold us to it.
Of course, you can check back in a few years to see what we did. Or you can get involved now, and participate in what we think is going to be the biggest, funnest sailing trip we’ve ever taken.
Here’s what we’ve done, besides build the first of our new fleet:
We incorporated Hawaiian Ocean Technologies, Inc., on Wednesday the 8th of May, as a State of Hawaii Subchapter “S” corporation.
We’ve sold 7 percent of the corporation’s stock to friends. This funding gets us through the development period I outline below, from Phase One to about the middle of Phase Two. Read to the end of this page if you want to purchase stock; there’s an offer there.
(Below) Coconut romping in The Blue Zone: 5 knots true wind, 10 knots apparent wind, 6 knots boat speed. With her big daggerboard in the ama, she makes 90 degrees good between “shunts”, including leeway.
Here’s the opportunity: Build The Best Autonomous Sailboat
Susanne and I started researching autonomous sailboats because they sounded interesting. Susanne, with her usual flair for going straight for the goal, found the phone number of Dr. Frank Marks, the head of NOAA Hurricane Research Division, and had a conversation with him that went like this:
Susanne: “Dr. Marks, my name is Susanne and I’m a boatbuilder in Hawaii. I have a crazy question for you; can I have 20 seconds of your time?”
Dr. Marks: “Sure”.
Susanne: “If you could have an unsinkable autonomous sailing vessel that had a 15-knot speed capability, that could sail directly into a hurricane and collect data, that had a 500-pound payload capacity, and that cost under $100,000, would you be interested?”
Dr. Marks: “Wow! That would be awesome!”
(Below) Coconut looks skinny, fast, and unsinkable. She is.
She went on to learn from Dr. Marks that they primarily fly airplanes over hurricanes to gather data, and that the data they can obtain from 40,000 feet is limited. They have a limited selection of surface instrumentation for gathering data on hurricanes: it’s the occasional random “drifter” bouy that accidentally happens to be in the hurricane’s path, plus some very expensive powered underwater drones which must be deployed before the hurricane arrives. Then, they have to hope the hurricane passes directly over them, or they don’t get anything useful.
He said a boat like ours could carry laser altimeters and other instrumentation that their small, unmanned ocean research platforms can’t currently carry. The only way they can gather surface data with those instruments now is to put them onto a research ship that costs $60,000 per day to run, and they can’t take those ships into hurricanes!
Susanne told Dr. Marks that we had just successfully completed sea trials of our 24-foot Coconut design, then mentioned that we are building a similar, smaller boat with autonomous controls and software for use as an ocean research platform. When she explained the boat’s capabilities, Dr. Marks was very excited.
The cherry on top was when Susanne mentioned that our successful design was based on the Micronesian proa, and Marks exclaimed, “A proa! That’s great! I know what a proa is, I’m familiar with those from my time in the Marshall Islands.”
That was our introduction to how interested the world is in an autonomous sailboat with serious abilities. Our boat is fast and unsinkable, can carry a huge instrument payload, is self-righting in the event of capsize, is durable, and is cheap compared to what’s on the market now.
(Below) Coconut in The Blue Zone.
There are currently four autonomous vessels in the world; here’s the list:
An autonomous vessel is one that you can let loose off San Francisco and it shows up off Hawaii or Japan all by itself, with no course corrections from shore. I’ll call them AV’s for short. We’re referring to autonomous surface vessels here; not to be confused with the many different kinds of underwater AV’s in existence. Although development has been ongoing since 2007, there are only four AV’s we’re aware of, as of April 2019.
A. The Sailbouy: From their website: $175,000, 8 feet long, 1 knot average speed on an 1,800 mile trip, power available generated from solar panels. Payload: not specified, but probably 50 pounds as an educated guess. Unspecified amount of instrumentation included in the price. Ballast amount unknown, but there’s a small keel shown on bottom of boat to keep it upright, therefore sinkable in the wrong conditions. Here is a link to their website: https://www.digitaltrends.com/cool-tech/autonomous-sailboat-crosses-atlantic/
B. The Saildrone: is a 23 foot long ballasted monohull. Early photos and articles show their first generation was a 15-foot-long ballasted monohull with a small “trimaran float” on either side. This is a bit confusing, because people ask “what happened to that trimaran AV?”. The company says they’ll sell them for $100,000 in order quantities of 1,000 at a time. We don’t know what they charge for one at a time.
Their website cites a 2.38 knot average speed, and power from solar panels. Payload: not specified anywhere, but probably 100-200 pounds as an educated guess. Unspecified amount of instrumentation included in the price. Ballasted and therefore sinkable. Here is a link to their website:
The wave gliders:
C. Liquid Robotics’ Wave Glider: Not a sailboat, but rather a “wave-propelled vehicle”. We sail past these all the time in Coconut. The company has a presence in Kawaihae on the Big Island, and they test their Gliders just a few miles offshore from Kawaihae harbor. It’s an 8-foot-long wave-powered autonomous vehicle with a multiple “fin” that runs about 40 feet under the boat on a long wire. This pulls the boat forward through the water as the ocean waves go up and down.
The company, begun in 2009, was reportedly bought by Boeing in 2016 for $300 million. Their Wave Glider has a reported speed of 1 knot, and a 50-100 lb payload capacity. They reportedly cost in the vicinity of $200,000, and Boeing rents time on them for $5,000/day. https://www.liquid-robotics.com/wave-glider/overview/
D. The Autonaut: Another “wave-propelled vehicle”, the Autonaut is currently available in 3.5 and 5 meter long versions. It has a propulsion system similar to the Wave Glider, does 3 to 4 knots, costs who knows how much and can handle who knows how much weather. Here is a link to their website. http://www.autonautusv.com/.
There are a couple of remote-controlled sailboats; they sailed one across the Atlantic that was controlled from shore, but it wasn’t an AV. Remote control sailboats are inconsequential in the larger scheme of things because they require expensive on-shore monitoring and control by people.
(Below) Coconut in The Blue Zone.
Here’s what we’re doing to make the BEST AV in the world:
(Below) We’re building the 18-foot long “Pocket Rocket”; her frames are on the strongback in our shop now:
Here are the two products we’re bringing to market in the next six months:
Phase One. The manual Pocket Rocket, a recreational sailboat that will revolutionize recreational sailing because it’s impossible for the novice sailor to tip her over. Modeled on our Coconut, a 24-foot Micronesian proa showcased on this site, it makes the sailing eperience comfortable and dry for beginning sailors, yet at the same time fast and exciting, even for experienced “old salts”.
Before the Pocket Rocket, only sailors with years of time on the water could experience this exciting kind of sailing, and only on boats such as Hobie or Prindle 18 catamarans that easily tipped over and got them soaking wet and cold in an instant.
This product is like a new type of hairbrush that doesn’t catch or tear your hair; an improvement on state of the art for hairbrushes; but nothing totally new.
Phase Two. The Talking Pocket Rocket, which has a suite of sensors installed that give an on-board mini-computer (a Raspberry Pi) constant information about heading, wind speed and direction, rudder angle, sail trim, and other things. The Raspberry Pi talks to the sailor via an iPhone or Android app, telling them “pull the red rope in about two feet”, and “turn to the left about five degrees”.
Programmed with the experience of a master sailor, these smartphone apps coupled with the sensor-equipped Pocket Rocket will teach the novice sailor to sail with simple instructions, common language, and positive feedback. After the beginning sailor is a little more advanced, it will gradually introduce them to proper nautical terms, the finer points of sailing, and so on. There will also be a suite of sailing videos for the new sailor to view before going out, that will familiarize them with the product, and with sailing concepts.
This is like the first personal computer; it’s new and full of possibility, and we think it will blow the market away.
Phase Three: We take the manual Pocket Rocket and add radio control actuators and controls and go through the same process as in Phase One to arrive at R/C Version 1.0. Our final test sail will be two or three schoolkids in lifejackets, sailing around with nary an adult in sight on the boat. We’ll be in our 28-foot power cat filming, and driving the Pocket Rocket with the R/C control. This video will be a powerful convincer, and will be part of the material we put up on the crowdfunding platform to raise the next $6-10 million to develop Phase 4, where the Pocket Rocket goes autonomous and to manufacturing.
Phase Four: Next, we add proven autonomous vehicle control software to the R/C Pocket Rocket, and we’ve got an autonomous proa. This is the Autonomous Research Canoe, or “ARC”. We can license this software from a university or a private party (there’s actually 3 universities that we can choose from). We don’t have to invent anything, just make a slightly different recipe.
If the software that’s available is not competent, or requires too much adaptation, we develop it ourselves. We work the bugs out, and go to manufacturing.
(Below) Coconut looks fast just sitting at the dock.
The ARC is an autonomous research sailboat with a top speed of 15-18 knots, that carries 500 pounds of payload, and that has unlimited power because it sports an off-the-shelf water generator that puts out 300 watts anytime the boat is going over 4 knots.
This means our little boat will have virtually unlimited power for instruments and actuators all the time instead of only being dependant on the output of a couple of small solar panels during the daytime as do all the other AV’s on the market!
The ARC will have a powered self-righting pumping system that can right the boat from “turned turtle” to back upright in about 30 minutes, so there’s no need for hundreds of pounds of lead ballast to keep this boat upright. She’s completely unsinkable as a result of not carrying this lead.
The HOT ARC will sell “in quantity one” for around $100,000 compared to the $175,00 to $250,000 the current AV’s available sell for.
The ARC is smooth and round on the outside; no seats for people and no hand controls, just a couple of big stainless steel eyes that a support boat canhook into from in a rolling sea in order to retrieve her. This is our “Normal Weather” ARC version; we will develop this into the Hurricane Hunter (explained next), concurrently with developing The Little Teaching Sailboat.
When we reach this point, we will likely be offered tens of millions in venture capital. Our answer will be, “No thanks”. We’re going to build this company into an ongoing source of financial sustenance for all the small shareholders and employees. We are NOT going to go big, sell for a huge profit, lose control, and lose all the jobs we brought to our Big Island. No love there.
(Below) Coconut looks skinny, fast, unsinkable, and uncapsizeable. She is.
Phase Five: Next, we put together The Little Teaching Sailboat; this is a version of the ARC that has a lot of the features of the Manual V 1.0: comfortable seats, hand controls that can over-ride the autonomous control systems, little VHF radio, built-in cooler, water bottle, sunscreen, drink and sandwich holders, etc. There’s a little waterproof holder for your iPhone or iPad. To go sailing, you put yours in, punch up Nautica, Your Sailing Teacher, punch in your destination (just like you punch it in to Google Maps when you’re on a road trip), and hit the Go button.
Nautica says: “Well, you’re going to have to cast off the dock lines and pull them in, because I can’t do that. Then I’ll motor us about 100 feet off this dock with the electric thrusters while you steer. You have to steer to avoid things like docks and other boats, because I can’t see them; I can only see big things that are on my map like land, islands, and navigational bouys. This boat steers just like a car or bike: turn the wheel left to turn it left, and turn the wheel right to turn it right. Then I will be able to safely raise the sails and sail towards our destination. While we are sailing towards our destination, you need to keep watching for other boats and things floating in the water, like logs, and manually steer to avoid them, because I can’t see them.”
Aternately, if the boat is equipped with the Pedal Drive system (rather than the electric thruster option), Nautica says: “Do you want me to play The Pedaling Lesson, or have you already practiced pedaling the manual drive system and steering the boat and are comfortable with it?” (This is a pedal-powered drive system that has a retractable propellor in the water; you run it like pedaling a bicycle, and just pop the propellor unit out of the water once you’ve got the sails up and are underway).
You motor or pedal off the dock as Nautica raises the sails and steers, and when you’re about a quarter mile out into the bay, she says: “Now would you like to learn how to sail your boat by hand? Say ‘Yes’ if you do, if not I’ll just keep sailing the boat for you. Yes? Great! First, take the red rope on your left and pull it in about a foot, and push it back down into that black thing you pulled it out of. Now, steer a little bit to the right, so the wind indicator is on the green line on the dial” (digital true and apparent wind indicators, combined with a smart tactical sailing display LCD)”.
Without even knowing the correct terms or what they’re doing, our novice sailor just trimmed the sails and headed 10 degrees closer into the wind without having the slightest idea what they were doing. But after Nautica explains what they just did (about fifty times, because she’s extremely patient!), the novice sailor not only knows how to do it, but now knows terms like “head up”, “sheet in”, “fall off”, “luffing”, “go onto a reach”. And so on………
We’ll put Nautica in charge of how much sail the sailor can raise in whatever the current wind is, right from the beginning: Nautica has wind and sail strain sensors that tell her how much wind there is, and how much heeling strain is on the boat. She’ll start with full sail, but will reef the sails if the wind comes up, until the sailor proves they can handle full sail in that much wind.
If the sailor asks Nautica what’s going on, she responds: “I’ve put up an amount of sail that is consistent with the skill you’ve shown sailing the boat. I believe you could get into some kind of difficult or unsafe situation if you raise more sail. I WILL raise more sail if you hit the red “Override” button and take responsibility for ignoring my recommendations. I have to tell you that getting cold, wet, and miserable, and perhaps injuring yourself or others, may result from doing so at this point in your sailing career”.
(Below) Coconut coming out of Kawaihae Harbor on The Big Island.
Phase Six: Concurrently with The Little Teaching Sailboat, we put together The Hurricane Hunter, a VERY different kind of beast. The Hurricane Hunter is the first research vessel purpose-designed and built to sail into hurricanes, gather data, and not only survive, but self-right and pursue the hurricane even after multiple capsizes and pitch-poles put it upside-down.
She doesn’t risk any lives in the process, or even the research institution’s investment in her. She’s the only boat out of all our competitors that is fast enough to pursue a hurricane and keep up with it. Hurricanes move at from 8 to 12 knots; Our competition does from 1 to 2.38 knots. The Hurricane Hunter will do up to 18 knots and can not only chase, but also catch up to hurricanes.
She’ll be able to survive an intense pummeling, with a short, bullet-proof sailing rig, super-strong hulls, crossarms, and outrigger. Like all the other incarnations of The Pocket Rocket, she will be unsinkable. Her instrument payload will be mounted in a gimbal between the crossarms so that it automatically orients itself upright and continues to gather data even when the boat flips upside-down. But being upside-down isn’t a problem with this boat.
That’s because she has an intelligent, autonomously-controlled water-ballast pumping system and a number of water ballast tanks our other boats don’t have, so that she can be:
A. Heavily ballasted when approaching a hurricane so she’s much harder to flip, and
B. Self-righting in the event she ends up upside-down as the result of a capsize or pitch-pole.
The shore-side people will have the option of leaving her on “Automatic Self-Righting” so that she keeps getting up every time she gets knocked down. If the hurricane is insane, and the boat’s getting knocked over again every time she self-rights, they can manually over-ride the self-righting system from shore, leaving her upside-down but still gathering data.
When the hurricane moves twenty or thirty miles away, and seas and wind have gotten a bit less chaotic, the shore-side people can switch her back to “Automatic Self-Righting” and tell her to chase the hurricane again.
We have 5 percentage shares available to new shareholders for $75,000 each, for one percent ownership; if you want to join our Ocean People Family. If you’re interested in supporting this project now, at this price, email me, Tim.
When we reach the product development and manufacturing stage described in “Phase 4” on this page, we’ll be worth a lot more, and will be offering an additional 10% of our stock for $600,000 to $1,000,000 a percentage share. That will generate $6,000,000 to $10,000,000, which is what we’ll use to begin manufacturing and reach positive cash flow.
With Warm Aloha, Tim, Susanne, Victor (24), Jack (18), Lucky (16-1/2), and Rose (14)