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View Full Version : Boat-savvy people, ahoy!



holy_shiitake
05-15-2014, 08:32 PM
a) how long can you stay in international waters without returning to your country of origin? Do they tow you back to your country of origin if you stay out on the ocean too long? Is there a visa system like there is for on-land travelers? Can you just stay out on the ocean indefinitely if you don't have to make port to acquire supplies or make repairs?

b) How feasible would it be to acquire a tall ship in relatively sea-worthy condition? Are they being made anymore (even if it's a very very niche and expensive market)? Should I just have my characters get a modern, normal boat? Especially since they're all poor anyway?

Telergic
05-15-2014, 08:37 PM
a) Have a party and do whatever you want out there. Who do you think would grant the visa for international waters? Yeah, right. Don't pirate anyone and you can stay out there forever.

b) Not at all feasible. it would be a large expenditure for the ship, but more than that, you would need to assemble a skilled crew someplace, which would be hard and even more expensive. However, by "tall ship" I assume you mean an actual ship, not some little schooner or yacht that happens to be of the wooden-ships era in design. There are plenty of small vessels of those types currently used for pleasure cruises in the Caribbean and similar places, and no doubt they are all for sale for the right price.

StuckInMyHead
05-15-2014, 08:59 PM
I don't know much about boat, but my old boss had one and put a picture of it on his office wall. Under it he wrote, "A boat is a hole that you pour money into." or something like that...
I don't think there's any limit to how long you can be in international waters. I would think forever, unless you ask for or need help.
I would think finding a sea-worthy old "tall ship" would be difficult and expensive, but the great thing about fiction is that anything can happen.
How about having the poor people make a ship like the ones in the Kevin Costner movie "WaterWorld"?
Good luck with your story!

WeaselFire
05-15-2014, 09:06 PM
Water outside of a territorial jurisdiction (International Waters) has no requirements. You will need passports and visas to make landfall in many places but not all (there are still plenty of uninhabited islands...)

Tall ships are being built all the time and, except for being ridiculously expensive and needing a massive crew, they are easy to get. Why would you want one?

None of these questions has any useful answers to you, what do you need to have happen for your story?

Jeff

robjvargas
05-15-2014, 09:24 PM
I've got nothing to add to the existing answers. International waters are open access, as far as I know.

Here's a link (http://www.un.org/Depts/los/LEGISLATIONANDTREATIES/regionslist.htm) to the UN's database of maritime treaties and legislation. Might be some hefty reading there, but at least it's written down.

King Neptune
05-15-2014, 10:14 PM
It depends on how big and tall you want the ship to be. If you want something over 60 feet, then you should be able to find a beat-up hulk for hardly anything or something better for about what it would cost to make the hulk seaworthy. And if you only want something that you could sail single-handed, then the prices pretty low.

holy_shiitake
05-15-2014, 11:29 PM
Thanks, guys! My story can basically be boiled down to the phrase "a group of young broke twenty-somethings decide to escape to the open sea in order to way-lay their student loan debt and gain life experience and make poor choices." Or, "Pirates with 3G". I'll probably be asking lots more boating questions as they come up in the storyline.

ULTRAGOTHA
05-15-2014, 11:35 PM
Do not, for the love of Neptune, give them a wooden sail-powered ship. Your scenario is a disaster waiting to happen even with a modern vessel unless they are all really good at seamanship.

Telergic
05-16-2014, 12:22 AM
Yes, unless they are mostly experienced blue-water sailors, they're doomed. Their first poor choice would likely be their last, and that would probably happen very quickly indeed on a sailing vessel. One idiot at the helm when a wind comes up is enough. But even an excursion in a modern fishing boat will not end well for them unless at least a few of them know what the hell they are doing, and I'd say such people are unlikely to form the party because they will know all too well what they are letting themselves in for. And too, any modern vessel equipped for a long voyage will be very expensive. I think these people will have to steal the boat, so the coast guard will be after them to begin with as will authorities in most respectable ports anywhere nearby.

ULTRAGOTHA
05-16-2014, 12:41 AM
I can certainly see some young romantics with a lifetime of crewing variously sized vessels and a lot of repair expertise refurbishing a cheap vessel and taking it down the coast. If they’ve been doing this all their lives, know how to navigate, know what to do in lots of different weather, know how to make repairs, and have many thousands of dollars between them to spend, they could pull it off. They might even pull off a trans-ocean voyage. If they’re lucky and really know what they’re doing. But it would need to be a modern vessel.

A Tall Ship requires a hell of a lot of experienced crew. Scores if not hundreds of experienced crew. Almost every single sinking in modern times (and several in period times, too) of a period wooden vessel can be attributed to being under-crewed. A handful of friends cannot sail a Tall Ship across oceans even under the old definition. (Which included the 40 foot, single masted, square-sailed Viking Ship the Longship Company owned. The definition of ‘tall ship’ has since changed.)

jclarkdawe
05-16-2014, 01:02 AM
You might want to look at Captain's 'reckless' decision led to Bounty sinking (http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/10/us/bounty-shipwreck-ntsb-cause/). That will give you some ideas of the problems involved.

You could potentially find an abandoned hull and refurbish it into sea-worthy condition. There's lots of abandoned boats out there, that could be rebuilt into a sea-worthy boat.

Problem is this: All the rigging needs replacing, new sails are needed, sheets and other lines have to be replaced, and by the time you're done, you're looking at tens of thousands of dollars. It's doable, and has been done, but it's not cheap.

This is ignoring such things as electronics and the engine.

By the way, without some expense, they won't have internet or phone access.

Going to sea is dangerous, even if everything goes right. If it starts going wrong, it goes downhill very quickly and death is the usual outcome.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

Marian Perera
05-16-2014, 01:22 AM
Going to sea is dangerous, even if everything goes right. If it starts going wrong, it goes downhill very quickly and death is the usual outcome.

That being said, if the story is about these twenty-somethings who go off to sea in a Swallows and Amazons-type adventure, only to come up against nasty reality that kills one or more of them, I'd love to read it.

Telergic
05-16-2014, 01:24 AM
Well a sturdy seagoing merchant vessel only required a couple of dozen crew members back in the day unless it was some huge thing like a galleon.

They needed more crew for military maneuvers like firing cannon and boarding, not to mention crack maneuvers a merchant would never attempt, so navy ships had much larger crews. Merchants would rather wear than tack, and they wouldn't set the kind of sails required for very rapid passage because of the difficulty and risk of managing them. Also square-rigged ships needed more people to handle the sails than other rigs.

In a modern sailing ship, with powered winches and the like so you don't need a lot of people hauling ropes or up aloft for every sail change, I imagine a much smaller crew is possible. But they do need to know what they're doing, and there is no way a long sea voyage will be undertaken by such a crew without either great expense or grand theft.

jclarkdawe
05-18-2014, 06:55 PM
Now here's the beginning of what I think would be a cool story: A ghost ship with cannibal rats (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/24/tech/web/apparently-this-matters-lyubov-orlova-ghost-ship/index.html?iid=article_sidebar)

Have the kids find a ghost ship, battle the rats and whatnot, and go from there. Not as large as this ship, there are ships floating around, in varying states of repair. Depending upon what the effect of wind and current, you can float for a considerable period of time, at least easily more then a year.

Best of luck,

Jim Clark-Dawe

King Neptune
05-18-2014, 10:12 PM
I hope that Shiitake is reading this. I'm looking forward to reading a novel about a group of young people getting drunk on a ghost ship and taking it around the world and surviving on the locally available rats, sea birds, and whatever. There are many possibilities.

frimble3
05-18-2014, 11:40 PM
I'm thinking it would be more 'Lord of the Flies Afloat', once the alcohol kicks in, then runs out, and the idea that they're a bunch of friends becomes a brisk game of 'Who Gets to be Captain', and that captain in Queeg. What they will actually need is Captain Bligh, in his best 'get the lifeboat safely across the ocean to safety' mode.

King Neptune
05-19-2014, 12:10 AM
I'm thinking it would be more 'Lord of the Flies Afloat', once the alcohol kicks in, then runs out, and the idea that they're a bunch of friends becomes a brisk game of 'Who Gets to be Captain', and that captain in Queeg. What they will actually need is Captain Bligh, in his best 'get the lifeboat safely across the ocean to safety' mode.

The captain will be unimportant. The chef will be the one to make friends with, especially after the rats run out, and some source of food will be necessary.

But yes Lord of the Flies it would be, especially where they slaughtering goes on.

BDSEmpire
05-19-2014, 12:52 AM
Thanks, guys! My story can basically be boiled down to the phrase "a group of young broke twenty-somethings decide to escape to the open sea in order to way-lay their student loan debt and gain life experience and make poor choices." Or, "Pirates with 3G". I'll probably be asking lots more boating questions as they come up in the storyline.

I can't wait for them all to drown in the first act.... as they leave port.

A bunch of twenty-somethings on a sailboat? Ahahahahah no. Not unless most of them had been sailing for several years at that point or they were on a motor sail and could putt putt out of port and into the open sea. Where they would likely promptly drown if they didn't have much experience with sailing ships and weather.

On the other hand, a group of them could all sign up for the merchant marine together and happen to be on the same boat. Or they could meet each other on said ship as they learned how to run a modern cargo vessel. It's not glamorous but it's a fairly unusual location for a story to happen so you could have some fun with that.

More likely is that they all cobble together a bunch of scrap and trust fund money and buy a houseboat and go wreck up the boating lanes on one our major rivers. They can play pirate in relative safety because it's just a short swim to shore when their vessels fall apart.

BDSEmpire
05-19-2014, 12:58 AM
Now here's the beginning of what I think would be a cool story: A ghost ship with cannibal rats (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/24/tech/web/apparently-this-matters-lyubov-orlova-ghost-ship/index.html?iid=article_sidebar)


Wow, that is spooky! It's a real life imitation of this classic radio drama "Three Skeleton Key" starring Vincent Price. It's the story of a little lighthouse island where a rat-infested ship comes ashore. Chilling. http://www.relicradio.com/otr/2014/02/three-skeleton-key-by-suspense/