After an extended sea trial, the Tiki 21 emerged this evening from the Pacific and was disassembled on a brightly sunlit secret beach in Ballard. Mike and Scott left the Shilshole marina from berth G53, adjacent to the captivating 1982 ferrocement pirate ship Black Opal owned by Captain Fred. A gentle northerly took us to the secret beach in about 10 minutes.
After a few final sails on the Sound with the Quorus gang, Rob and the Dougherty-DeNardo clan, and Kevin with Julian and his offspring, we unloaded all the gear in about 1/2 hour, dismantled in about 1/2 hour, float-tested a single empty hull for 1/2 hour, and spent a final hour pumping the hull dry-ish and packing/loading the boat onto the trailer. Thanks to everyone who lent hands to do the heavy lifting! Mike did a heroic job of backing the boat into his driveway where it now sits awaiting freshwater cleaning and a long list of improvements.
The float test was quite illuminating. It’s now clear that if voyaging on the Tiki21 in the open ocean, you DEFINITELY do not want to be left after a storm with only one hull. Although a single hull floated nicely on either side — even with two people in the cabin– the freeboard was only 10-20 cm — easily overwashed by small waves. And once the cabin began filling with water, followed shortly thereafter by the forward compartment filling, the whole hull became completely unstable with almost no preference for which side remained above water. Even with careful attention to balance on the slightly more stable situation of having one side of the hull in air, there was no way to relax (e.g. sleep) and no way to keep body parts out of the water reliably (away from sharks). Most importantly, there was no place to take shelter from waves or weather; most of the cabin was flooded (maybe 1/2-1/3 of the volume retained air). With a survival suit, perhaps the best place in a storm would be in a hull breathing from an air pocket or with head above water in the main cabin, but rolling and big waves could make this far from comfortable. The situation worsened when we removed the access hatches and flooded the fore and aft watertight compartments. With all 2-liter bottles removed from the bow there was only 25cm freeboard at the highest point above the water (implying very little space inside for a head).
Thus, imagining a worst case scenario (worse than a full capsize) in which a collision, rogue wave, lashing failures, and/or breaching whale cause the beams to fail and the two hulls to separate, it is imperative to retain both hulls throughout the catastrophe. Survival would be probably be greatly enhanced by lashing the hulls together during or after the storm. Ideally, the beams could also be retained and relashed to regain normal stability and sailing capabilities. With a suite of buckets and a manual bilge pump, it would be easy to get the hulls dry again in calm water once they were lashed in an upright stable arrangement.