My wife Susanne and I, and our four children Victor, Jack, Lucky, and Rose, are building sailing fishing boats that will help small fishermen make a good living for their families by eliminating the cost of fuel. These boats will also make fish affordable for you, wherever you live!
Fish is healthy, fish tastes great, and everyone we know likes fresh ocean fish. But none of us can afford it because it’s so expensive.
We checked Costco’s prices the other day: $3.59 per pound for organic ground beef; $9.99 per pound for frozen farmed salmon; $17.99 for fresh wild-caught salmon; and $16.99 per pound for fresh mahi-mahi, ono, and yellowfin tuna.
Our favorite is mahi-burgers, but they cost 4-1/2 times as much as organic hamburger! We have them for birthdays and anniversaries, kind of like some people buy caviar or champagne. We like eating ocean fish; we just can’t afford to. And this bothers us.
So we’re doing something about it, not just for our family, but for everyone on the planet. We’re building boats that take the cost of fuel out of the “what does ocean fish cost” equation. No longer will the small fisherman have to devote one-half of his total income just to paying his fuel costs.
This is a huge advantage to the fisherman too! With one of our boats, he can catch half as much fish and make the same amount of “take-home pay”. A fisherman in one of our boats also makes a huge impact on conservation of ocean resources when he only needs to catch half as much to still take care of his family!
They say it takes a village to raise a child; well, in Polynesia where we live, it takes a village to build a boat. Everyone's involved, from the smallest child who fetches coconut fronds to shade the canoe from the sun, to the master canoe builder who prays among the trees in the forest for days before selecting the one to make the canoe.
We're the same. We may be experienced boat builders and blue water sailors, but we still need our village. Especially for this project; because it's the most ambitious one we've ever undertaken. It's truly the start of a blue-green revolution in the way we do things on the ocean! We're not just making a pretty picture or a new iPhone app; we're building a BOAT! That's why we need your help.
The boat we’re using is perfect for “artisanal fisheries”. These are non-mechanized fisheries involving small boats with small crews, which produce maximum benefits for their local communities while taking a minimum amount of resources out of the ocean. We’ll compare other benefits sailing artisanal fisheries have over "normal" corporate factory fishing, but for now, take a look at one of these boats:
We're starting with a boat design like this one by master sailor and marine designer Russell Brown (son of Jim Brown, the renowned multihull designer and builder):
This boat of Russell's design is set up for cruising: extended voyaging across the ocean, with stops at islands and countries along the way. With our experience in commercial fishing in tropical waters, we've adapted this type of design specifically for those fisheries; our first boat has a 2,000-pound capacity refrigerated fish hold, basic crew bunks and cooking area, fishing areas, and live bait wells. It will look similar to the one in the following video:
High-Speed Proa Sailing Video:
Let me tell you a story about sailboats, fishing, and the sea: My wife Susanne and I, and our four children Victor, Jack, Lucky, and Rose are building the sailing work boats that will take Hawaii’s commercial fishermen to sea, safely and profitably, when gas becomes too expensive. These boats will help them make a good living for their families, even if gas is rationed or prices hit historical highs again (as in the past).
Because they are sailboats, they will allow the fisherman to catch half as much fish, yet still make the same amount of money because he doesn't have to spend half his income supporting the big oil companies!
Because of this, sailing fishing boats are the most sustainable, ecologically green way to harvest the ocean. Although sailing fish boats are a big part of the solution; we also need to implement intelligent fisheries management solutions such as EBS (Ecosystem-Based Management) as part of our strategy for sustainably harvesting the oceans into the future.
This type of boat is faster than most motorboats but doesn't use any gas; doesn't pound in a choppy sea, and the motion is far, far less than that of a motorboat at the same speed. This translates into less crew fatigue and more energy for fishing when you get to the fishing grounds, a better-rested crew when they hit the dock back at their home port to unload fish, and a boat that’s safer for the crew during the whole fishing trip.
It is perfect for any areas with small artisanal fisheries; it will make these fisheries more profitable for the fisherman while conserving the fishing stocks at the same time. These boats are also perfect for small cargo and passenger carriers in lengths up to 150 feet or so. That sounds like a tall order, so let me explain why we know we'll pull it off:
I've been there before.I saw this situation coming a long time before it hit: I designed, built and launched my 56-foot sailing fishing vessel “Tropic Bird” in Hawaii in 1978 as a solution to the fuel rationing and crazy gas price hikes I’d experienced while living on the mainland in 1974, after the Arab oil embargo doubled gas prices at the pump.
I figured the time would come when I couldn’t afford fuel for a conventional motor-powered fishing boat, so I built a sailing fish boat instead, and fished her successfully for 17 years in the open ocean off Hawaii.
The wind is free; diesel isn't.The concept of the 56-foot Tropic Bird was a fishing vessel that “lived off the wind”, and it worked. An important factor in her financial success was that Tropic Bird had her own refrigeration system, which meant I never had to purchase or haul ice. I never had to watch helpelssly while my ice melted during those times it took me longer than expected to find the fish (you see, if it was guaranteed, they’d call it “catching” instead of “fishing”!). When I found the fish and boated the first ones, I just turned on the Big Fridge to keep them cold.
(Below) My 56-foot sailing work boat Tropic Bird, at the dock in Kawaihae, Hawaii, sometime in 1980. Sailing fish boats were profitable then, and even more so now.The operating cost of a sailing work boat such as Tropic Bird, or the new ones we’re building, is one-quarter what the operating cost of an equivalent motor-powered vessel using ice is. As a result, if the Hawaiian fisherman using this boat brings in even half as much fish, he still makes the same amount of money after expenses as if he was doing it with a motorboat. Ask any fisherman if this would be a good idea, and he'll say "of course!".
Another way to look at this is the amount of fish such a boat can conserve. If our Hawaiian fisherman makes the same amount of money catching half as much fish, he can leave the other half in the ocean and still fund a decent lifestle for his family. This is completely in line with the ancient Hawaiian values of conservation and sustainable management of our ocean resources.
(Below) My 56-foot sailing work boat Tropic Bird, trolling on the way to the fishing grounds off the Hilo Coast of the Big Island in 1984. 39 years ago, I thought the world would see the obvious desirability of energy-efficient work boats such as his 56-foot Tropic Bird, and I’d design and build more. But the embargo and the rationing ended, and gas prices went down.
Although I made a good living fishing Tropic Bird because she was so inexpensive to operate, everyone else just gassed up their motorboats and kept on doing it the old way. That was 39 years ago. Now, we feel the world is not only ready for, but also in desperate need of this energy-efficient work boat technology. Click on the blue text below to find out more about our "Splash" project: