A 32 foot Sailing Oceanographic Vessel
The primary focus of my design work for over two decades has been oceanographic research vessels. There are now seven vessels of my design investigating Atlantic waters and Strider became a research vessel herself in the spring of 2009.
This began as an idea for my son's two week senior thesis project so we could do some sailing together just before his graduation from high school took him away to summer jobs and college but it's taking on a life of it's own now. I've found that important and interesting work can be conducted from a 32 foot sailboat if one is willing to spend long periods offshore and sail with purpose instead of just knocking around the coast. I may spend a good part of the summer crisscrossing the Gulf of Maine and sampling the waters.
Our work on this cruise was data collection for the Coastal Carbon Group of the University of New Hampshire. It is generally assumed that the oceans absorb carbon dioxide but the basic sampling to confirm this in the Gulf of Maine has not yet been done and the little data currently available shows trends which indicate that the gulf could actually be giving off CO2. This would be bad news from the global warming standpoint but an important thing to know. It turns out that the data necessary to go a long way towards answering this important question can be collected from a small vessel with limited electrical power. The economics of a volunteer effort in a sailboat that goes 10 miles on a gallon of fuel even when the wind doesn't cooperate is pretty attractive compared to a fully crewed oceanographic vessel that burns a gallon every 3 - 4 miles 24 hours a day. Whatever we learn, there is now a little less carbon in the Gulf of Maine than if the same data had been collected conventionally.
Our two week cruise took us to Quoddy Head and back with 36 sampling stations east of Rockland.
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(Click chart for Google Earth version)
Read the full story of this trip in the September 2009 issue of "Points East".
Strider ready for the grand adventure with her new radar.
The navigation / lab area with science gear stowed.
The CTD outfit. The instrument has to be kept wet between casts.
Father and Son, Skipper and Chief Scientist
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