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Plastic Bottle Catamaran Crosses The Pacific Ocean

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the not-your-usual-trash-barge dept.

Australia 56

The Plastiki, a catamaran made with plastic bottles, has completed a 8,000 mile trip between San Francisco and Sydney. Captain David de Rothschild said, "The Plastiki is literally a metaphorical message in a bottle about beating waste and reducing our human fingerprints on our natural environment." The boat will go on display at the Australian National Maritime Museum for the next month.

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How much did it cost to build (3, Interesting)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047590)

assuming the plastic bottles are free, how much does it cost to make a boat out of them?

Re:How much did it cost to build (1)

Major Downtime (1840554) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048032)

I didn't even know Rothschild sold Wine in plastic bottles. Must have been one hell of a party.

Re:How much did it cost to build (1)

Isaac-1 (233099) | more than 4 years ago | (#33051064)

Probably nothing if you do get enough people to donate money to your "cause". I am not saying this is what this guy did, but this sort of thing is a great way for someone that has no money to support their dream to sail across an ocean. The same scheme works for getting a free 50 state U.S. vacation in an electric car, etc..

he's a Rothschild (1)

fantomas (94850) | more than 4 years ago | (#33054850)

I am sure he's not short of a few quid. Maybe he got sponsorship as well (hey, the rich are rich because they are good with making money, right?) but he's hardly an inner city kid raising pennies to live a once in a life time dream. Fair play to the bloke for making a good ecological point, and definitely a good one for using his wealth well, but his dad is a multi-billionaire [wikipedia.org] so I think the cost is irrelevant to him. He's not in it for the free holiday, he could buy any boat he wanted.

Re:How much did it cost to build (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33058900)

Done cheaply, you might replicate the Plastiki for a few million dollars. The original research and development to develop the craft certainly cost tens of millions of dollars.

Nyaargh! (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33047594)

literally a metaphorical message in a bottle

story 1542227, line 2, Error: Parse failure, non-literal use of literally
story 1542227, line 2, Error: literal and metaphorical declarations are incompatible
INTERNAL COMPILER ERROR

Re:Nyaargh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33047790)

What's the problem? It is, literally, a metaphor!

Re:Nyaargh! (1)

Cor-cor (1330671) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047942)

I guess the good captain recycled a bit of intelligence for enthusiasm.

Re:Nyaargh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33048182)

I was hoping someone else noticed this

Re:Nyaargh! (1)

by (1706743) (1706744) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048330)

I was literally beside myself when I read that. It was an out-of-body experience.

Re:Nyaargh! (1)

mooingyak (720677) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048378)

What makes it even worse is that it's neither a literal nor metaphorical message in a bottle.

Re:Nyaargh! (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048418)

Sadly, reading slashdot is more interpretive as opposed to a compiled language, so really that "Nyaaargh" is probably a runtime error.

To people who are replying to me: If you use interpretive and metaphor in your post to make a clever pun on programming, I'll give you my Perl Textbook from College.

Re:Nyaargh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33048652)

This summary was almost perfect. It just needed an incorrect usage of ironic, and a malamanteau

Re:Nyaargh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33049478)

It also should have begged a question.

The Heyerdahl Connection (4, Informative)

Misagon (1135) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047610)

The name "Plastiki" is also a reference to how the craft resembles Norwegian amateur explorer/archeologist Thor Heyerdahl's raft/catamaran Kon-Tiki which had done a similar journey across the Pacific.

Thor Heyerdahl's son is also one of the people behind the project, and on board.

Re:The Heyerdahl Connection (3, Interesting)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047920)

If you've never read it, the account of Thor Heyerdahl's trip [amazon.com] is a fascinating read. How little they knew about the oceans (didn't know about the zooplankton coming to the surface to feed at night [pugetsoundsealife.com] , etc) and how much fortitude was required and how many hardships would be endured to make such a journey.

Sadly, I'm not too sure we know an awful lot more about the oceans now, except that we're killing them.

Re:The Heyerdahl Connection (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048390)

Sadly, I'm not too sure we know an awful lot more about the oceans now, except that we're killing them.

We know a lot more about the oceans than our ancestors did, incredibly so. The real problem is that, during that same period, human beings haven't changed all that much. We're just as avaricious as we were then, only now we have the power to do more damage.

Re:The Heyerdahl Connection (1)

Scrameustache (459504) | more than 4 years ago | (#33050418)

Sadly, I'm not too sure we know an awful lot more about the oceans now, except that we're killing them.

Good news, everyone: There is less and less about the ocean that we don't know!

How Soon (1)

warGod3 (198094) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047708)

Until they start selling "Plastiki" boats to people who will pay lots of money for other people's trash?

Platic Bottle Cartman ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33047732)

hella coo you guys!

Literally metaphorical (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33047750)

>>The Plastiki is literally a metaphorical message in a bottle ...

*head asplodes*

That's impressive (3, Insightful)

Niris (1443675) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047882)

Sailing out of the San Francisco bay in and of itself is a feat. Add crossing the pacific and it's utterly amazing. Great job to him.

Re:That's impressive (1)

sv_libertarian (1317837) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048046)

Not really. Sailing out of San Francisco Bay isn't all that impressive. And crossing the Pacific... that's a feat, but is commonly done. If it hadn't been that the boat was made out of unusual materials.... people have crossed oceans in rowboats. I've ran the entire West Coast from Seattle to San Diego, and given the choice again, I'd rather cross an ocean. It's safer.

Re:That's impressive (2, Funny)

IANAAC (692242) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048446)

Sailing out of San Francisco Bay isn't all that impressive.

When I lived in the bay area, I used to take a 17 ft Bayliner up the delta on weekends. After finishing a 12 pack a beer with a friend, we decided that, instead of heading up to Sacramento, we would just take the boat out on the bay.

It happened to be a very windy day, albeit warm.

I thought we were gonna die. By the time we got back to the marina in Suisun, the boat had well over a foot of water inside.

Re:That's impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33051382)

Bayliner. That's all you had to say. Bayliner. *Chuckle* They are called that because the bottoms of bays everywhere are lined with the nasty little thing.

Re:That's impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33052070)

I thought we were gonna die. By the time we got back to the marina in Suisun, the boat had well over a foot of water inside.

You know, the next time you drink that much, you should probably try peeing over the side.

Re:That's impressive (4, Funny)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048560)

Clearly you've never been attacked by one of the Giant Squids that swallow ocean liners. The Pacific is not as safe as it seems. Why do you think people are dumping all their trash in there? Too lazy to get to China? No! They're too scared to stay on the ocean any longer! And it's a new attack technique to polute their habitat to kill them off!

Re:That's impressive (1)

Calinous (985536) | more than 4 years ago | (#33054116)

Giant squids that swallow ocean liners?
      Some people with mod points need a whoosh. Ocean liners are some of the biggest ships that cruise the oceans (and due to the very importance of their cargo, tend to be some of the toughest). Also, they are very seaworthy, as their draft don't vary much depending on their load levels (unlike a tanker, cargo ship and so on).

Re:That's impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33049242)

"That's not that MUCH cheese."

Re:That's impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33049496)

I have sailed up and down the western coast all the way down to Ixtapa Mexico. Some places is like driving in the wrong side of the freeway specially in the US coast. Best route is Ixtapa to hawaii then US mainland. Sailing out of San Francisco bay easy specially if you do it during the right time of day.

Re:That's impressive (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33050266)

i wouldn't congratulate him on anything. he's not a philanthropist he's a propagandist. multinational corps(ie old money) buy the local water companies, etc. bottle the water, mark it up then tell you how you're killing gaia, and brainwash you into accepting taxes/rationing, etc. on the air and/or water you need to live, and use the revenues to further solidify their stranglehold. all while we applaud their benevolence.

Re:That's impressive (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33067138)

I'm in Sydney on business and just visited the Plastiki today. It's at the in the Sydney Maritime Museum between a submarine and a replica of Cook's HMS Endeavour.

Gotta love Google Ads... (2, Funny)

dos4who (564592) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047900)

Perfect ad placement for this story... http://imgur.com/hTSpc.gif [imgur.com]

Re:Gotta love Google Ads... (1)

Haplo-- (64291) | more than 4 years ago | (#33053472)

Is that Eddie Murphy?

Convenient (1)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33047972)

Must be really convenient to have all those empty plastic bottles for a long trip. No need for frequent delays at the rest stops.

Looks great from my dock... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33048006)

This will look great docked at my ocean front property on Trash Island (http://news.slashdot.org/story/10/07/15/0033244/Pacific-Trash-Vortex-To-Become-Habitable-Island).

Dangerous reuse of plastic (3, Interesting)

bluefoxlucid (723572) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048086)

This type of plastic photodegrades-- it breaks down physically, not chemically, into plastic dust. Very dangerous to leave sailing around; chemical recycling is better.

Re:Dangerous reuse of plastic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33051276)

They should head to Vegas right away.

I honestly was expecting some sort of engineered modern boat made from recycled plastic, not a bunch of bottles held together with bailing wire and bubblegum.

Look at that thing, it's barely seaworthy let alone ocean-worthy. Any little squall or heavy seas would have taken that floating trash heap out in a heartbeat.

Lucky, very, very lucky... or they cheated.

Better Recycling (1)

ctchristmas (1821682) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048098)

Good job, but still not as good as chainmail made out of coke tabs! [instructables.com] Its a wonderful gift and a great way to let other warriors on the battlefield know, "Hey, I might kill you, but I won't kill the environment."

Re:Better Recycling (2, Funny)

SnarfQuest (469614) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048648)

Why do these guys always make me think of "this is my brother Darryl, and this is my other brother Darryl".

Re:Better Recycling (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 4 years ago | (#33050102)

What it makes me think is "whoa, that guy drinks way too much soda!"

Re:Better Recycling (1)

kramulous (977841) | more than 4 years ago | (#33050882)

Trying to stay on topic, what about the beer can regatta at Darwin, Australia

Regatta [beercanregatta.org.au]

Becoming quite famous here.

Detailed construction plans... (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048122)

or it didn't happen.

Sure one plastic bottle boat floating across the Pacific is kinda newsworthy, but if they published the plans perhaps they could make this more grassroots and less publicity stunt.

Re:Detailed construction plans... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33048346)

This reeks of publicity stunt. They would like to push using this type of plastic for construction.
It appears to have some major structural issues. Notice how the hulls are not inhabitable?
Or a fiberglass vessel of this size, those hulls are fully usable as living quarters.
I've tried to find structural plans too and only found some photos of the build.
They use large pieces of plastic apparently made from the bottles, and then leave all kinds of
room for the show bottles strapped to the side, leaving a tiny dome on top for living quarters,
which requires almost no real structural strength to keep itself up. It's almost like the the plastic
has the structural strength of cardboard and duct-tape.
I would have loved to done the trip with them. Quite cool, but lets see some design plans guys.
Have thoroughly looked into alternative recycled plastic construction methods, maybe the closest
option having the kind of strength needed and low price point is Marine plywood and a heated spray
on plastic coating from shredded milk jugs. Some work has been done in the same field using spray
coating recycled plastic on the underside of concrete bridges.

Re:Detailed construction plans... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048814)

Publicity stunt, yes. Environmental statement, absolutely. Specifically espousing recycling bottles into building materials for oceangoing use, doubtful. They did highlight a lot of "green" technologies (solar power, wind, towed turbines, and bicycle generators) for their internal power. But the actual ship design was pretty impractical.

Thor Heyerdahl died in 2002. Maybe it took Olav eight years to help put this all together as a fitting second tribute to gramps. The name is certainly a tribute to Kon-Tiki.

His first tribute was pretty cool - he recreated and finally successfully completed Thor's failed "Kon-Tiki" voyage in the "Tangaroa" in 2006.

Polynesia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33048272)

Thus proving Thor Heyerdahls theory that the pacific islands were colonized by people who drank Coca Cola products (non diet) (they could sail 24/7 because of the caffeine)

Re:Polynesia (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048640)

But of course. They used glass bottles back then. See the important documentary "The Gods Must Be Crazy" for further details.

In the immortal words of Manny Calavera... (2, Funny)

wiggles (30088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048328)

Hola, trust funder!

Re:In the immortal words of Manny Calavera... (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048562)

"Hello. It's me. Death. I'll be seeing you real soon, OK? Listen, I know you can't hear me, but try to feel what I'm saying, deep down in your soul. Don't. Eat. The Gazpacho.

Re:In the immortal words of Manny Calavera... (1)

wiggles (30088) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048916)

I've got a turkey baster full of dirty hookah water!

In a related story... (1)

Just_Say_Duhhh (1318603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33048470)

The government of Cuba has banned the import, use and possession of plastic bottles.

Funny mental image (1)

burningcpu (1234256) | more than 4 years ago | (#33049470)

Did anyone else picture Cartmanland built on a plastic bottle raft and floating across the Ocean?

Direct image links (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33050170)

To save work for anybody else who hates the stupid formatting on the website, here are direct links to the images:
http://www.upi.com/story/image/fs/12801716709263
http://www.upi.com/story/image/fs/12801765546116

Sure beats the teen round-the-world-sailor story! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33052576)

So, an Aussie newspaper recently featured a teenage girl who sailed around the planet... of course, on a well-fitted-out, sleek, commercial sail boat...

Now, let's see her make the trip on her own home-made Plastiki! :-/

Spare parts a-plenty (1)

Mad-Bassist (944409) | more than 4 years ago | (#33054876)

It seems to me if they lose a few bottles during a storm, there will be plenty of spares as they cross the Pacific Trash Vortex.

Garth Sundem (1)

garthsundem (1702946) | more than 4 years ago | (#33055310)

Wow, did you see the picture of that thing (http://www.upi.com/story/image/fs/12801765546116)? Plastic bottles maybe, but looks like just for flotation--the mast and sails look built from stronger stuff, eh? I like the "oh sh*t" igloo for the cockpit. Bet that thing's watertight. Still, trust fund or no trust fund, it takes guts and probably a whole lotta patience to ride that sucka across the Pacific. Wonder what the support was like?
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