Thursday, April 21, 2011

Fancy a World Cruise? No Planks!

Sink or Swim? Probably both.

PZ Myers and his rabid raiders have found another target for their favourite pastime of lampooning the uber-crackpot schemes and ideas of Christian fundamentalists. The latest flight of fancy is the brain dump of Dutchman Johan Huibers who, like Ken Ham’s AiG, is building a full size ark, except that unlike Ken Ham Huibers is putting his beliefs (and perhaps his life) on the line. According to the The Dutch Daily News:

When completed, the full-size Noah's Ark will remain in Dordrecht until the middle of 2012, when Huibers then plans to take his ship around the world, beginning with London in time for the Olympic Games.

I’m not an expert in wooden boat construction but, the boat looks very flimsy, a kind of floating garden shed made of spindly pine posts and thin planks. (see this YouTube video). I don’t fancy Huibers’ chances in a heavy swell.
HMS Victory: A Floating Tree Trunk

Looking at the video I compared it with my visit to HMS victory (see above), a wooden boat with sides 2 feet thick which leaves one with the impression of it being made of whole oak tree trunks. In fact once inside the Victory it feels like being inside a tree trunk. However, at around 200 feet in length it is less than half the linear size of the Ark.
Victory Gun Deck.

It is well known that beam strength scales with the square of its thickness but weight scales with the cube of dimension. This means that as linear size increases weight goes up faster than strength. Hence, the bigger a wooden boat is the greater percentage of its interior must be devoted to wooden structure. So, it is not surprising that HMS victory employs such thickness of oak. In comparison the insides of Huibers’ Ark looks like a matchstick cathedral.

Huibers' Garden Shed Technology.

Note: Rumour has it that Huibers' boat actually has a steel substructure. Basically it's a wooden shack on a steel barge; a game of let's pretend, in a land of make believe, aptly symbolising fundamentalism. (What's the betting that  Huibers will be in the iron ship towing his plank box around the  world?)

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