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MeretSeger
11-24-2011, 03:48 AM
OK, I have a character locked below deck in a New Kingdom Egyptian boat. This boat would be constructed of mortice and tenon planking with rope for internal transverse lashed joinery and a truss to tighten it.

She has a tool bag down there, and it includes bronze adzes, bronze knives, a saw, a heavy mallet, and heavy flint wedges.

Can she sink this boat, and this is important, not die in the process? My thinking is, she loosens a plank, makes a leak, water fills the hull and equalizes the pressure so that she can get a plank loose and swim out in the chaos.

Can it be done?

alleycat
11-24-2011, 03:57 AM
I can't really answer your question, but if you're interested there's a PBS video of some people building an Egyptian boat. I think it's still online (PBS sometimes removes things). It might give you some ideas.

If it were me, I think I would try to escape first, then damage the rudder if I could.

MeretSeger
11-24-2011, 04:02 AM
I can't really answer your question, but if you're interested there's a PBS video of some people building an Egyptian boat. I think it's still online (PBS sometimes removes things). It might give you some ideas.

If it were me, I think I would try to escape first, then damage the rudder if I could.

Mostly she needs to get free and they've locked her below decks. Sinking the boat is kind of a plus to give her more time to get where she needs to go. I'm just not sure if the sinking during her escape will be so violent she'll be bottom-feeder fodder, you know?

And thanks for the video heads-up, I'll look for it.

alleycat
11-24-2011, 04:10 AM
I was just thinking I would hate to be locked below in a boat that was sinking (even if my plan was to knock a big enough hole to get out--that seems really iffy).

Another (possibly zany) idea would be for her to use her tools to make some kindling and then start a false fire (since she has flint). Fire on an wooden ship was a major disaster. She might be able to escape in the panic that ensues (she could use her tools to knock a hold in the hatch), then somehow damage the boat, or start a real fire.

Again, just throwing out an idea. I'm certainly no expert on Egyptian boats.

thothguard51
11-24-2011, 04:13 AM
Can she do this and survive?

If she only loosens a plank and the caulking, it will be a very slow process. More than likely she would drown below decks before she gets a big enough hole for her to get out while water is rushing in.
One thing to consider is that she's not going to go out a hole that water is rushing in until the pressure equalizes. Unless she is built like Conan...

But, can she do this and survive? Sure, its your story, just make it believable enough and your readers will buy it.

Devil Ledbetter
11-24-2011, 04:13 AM
I'd say this is an engineering question. I don't have the answer but I have some thoughts about it.

Would the force of the water on the outside of the hull be too great to allow hacking through from the inside? Would the convex shape of the planks make them that much harder to pull further inward? In a structure like a hull, each piece is part of a whole that creates much greater structural integrity than the pieces have individually.

Also, in early boatbuilding employing wood joinery such as the mortise and tenon you describe, the fact that wood swells in water was used to great advantage. A freshly built boat was thrown in the water to "soak up." The wooden joints swelled and tightened, and then the boat was bailed out.

thothguard51
11-24-2011, 04:16 AM
Another thing to consider, the handling of the boat will be noticed by the crew as water stats filling the cargo area. They will check below decks and if its bad enough, they will make for land as fast as possible where they will try to beach the boat.

During the time period you are talking about not many boats venture out of sight of land...

alleycat
11-24-2011, 04:17 AM
But, can she do this and survive? Sure, its your story, just make it believable enough and your readers will buy it.

That's true. They can tie James Bond to the warhead of an ICBM missile headed to New York and he'd be able to escape. ;-)

Drachen Jager
11-24-2011, 04:27 AM
I agree with Thoth here. Two main problems.

1) It would take too long to create a hole big enough to swim through. She would drown.

2) Long before that the crew would notice the hole and come to do a patch-job.

As for realism, why is she 'locked' in a cell with tools in the first place? Wouldn't a tool-bag be the first thing her captors removed from her cell?

MeretSeger
11-24-2011, 04:48 AM
This is a ship that is used for cargo, so there is stuff in the hold.

I am liking the idea of a panic during a fire, and then she could escape in the resulting chaos. I am considering changing to that, so I don't turn this into Titanic of the Nile (That's the image I got in my head reading all of your responses!).

It would also help, as she could pick up something I need her to have by the next scene as she jumps off... And the boat could still be destroyed as it burns and beaches.

Thank you all!

debirlfan
11-24-2011, 08:30 AM
Uh, you said she is below deck - but is she above or below the water line? If she's above it, she can make a big hole in the boat (to get out), then just make a smaller one below - when the water leaking in the smaller hole gets deep enough, the boat will start sinking - as it drops, water will start flooding the big hole. Bye bye boat, as she calmly swims away.