|Brian Small's Autonomous Ocean-Crossing Square Boat|
Seaweirdy: A Case Study
I'm often asked if Square Boats are seaworthy. I answer that I dunno, but don't see why not, given solid build, good equipment and handling.
On the whole, I defer to the expert opinion of others more experienced than myself.
So, when I hear about a North Atlantic crossing - Newfoundland in Canada to County Mayo in Ireland - by a square boat that's a kissin' cousin to TriloBoats, I get excited!
That's no placid pond... Greenland and Iceland enliven that route. Burgs and floes! Legendary N Atlantic storms!!
What might the crew tell us of their experiences? How was the ride? Did the boat take care of you? Did it test your mettle and push you to your limits? Or did you arrive wondering what all the fuss was about?
Umm. Well. Turns out I set the don't-see-why-not-if-only bar a skosh high.
The build was solid enough, it turns out, and arrived in "relatively good shape". From some of the pics after it's been damaged, I can see substantial framing and structure. If well fastened, it's not surprising that it held up. Foam in the walls provides (reserve) positive buoyancy that was apparently never called upon (the boat was not awash on arrival). Good. Good.
But the gear consisted only of solar panels and electric drive. Inadequate power (reportedly, it could barely move at full throttle). High tech and no redundancy. Anchor gear, if any, was neither visible nor mentioned.
And it was handled... ahh... there was no one aboard!!!
Brian Small - an Ontarian solar mobilist of considerable fame - reportedly built her with the intent to prove that a solar powered Atlantic crossing was possible. He (wisely) decided against the trip, however, and left the boat tied to a dock, gifted to the Canadian Homeless for shelter (via a note left aboard).
The boat apparently broke loose, drifted across the ocean, and fetched up on the shores of the Old World. Only then, in the surf, did it suffer significant damage!
Oddly enough, the relevant Canadian authorities are out of Halifax, home of the HALIFAX ART BOAT... wait for it... a T24x8 TriloBoat!!!.
Not sure what the moral is... I think this story confirms that a Square Boat can be seaworthy. But it sure qualifies as seawierdy!
The story, that is; not the boat!
News reports search results here. Worth poking through a few, if you're interested, as story and pics are spread around.
Here is a follow up article from 2019, confirming Rick Small as the original owner/builder. It has since been refurbished and is now a part of a 'sensory garden' in Binghamstown, Ireland.