1778: Captain James Cook discovers Strait of Georgia.
1898: Joshua Slocum completes first single handed world circumnavigation by sailboat.
2015: First Hot Tub Boat crossing of the Strait of Georgia.
Crossing Planned October 10th, 2015...
While contemplating life aboard a houseboat in Shuswap Lake, BC, I realized that spending the day on the water can only be trumped by spending the day on the water in the water. Early plans revolved around home-built flotation and tarps, but were hardly worthy of consideration...
Until my accomplice Piotr, an avid mountaineer/physical chemist/builder-of-all-things-ridiculous obtained a pair of 18 foot pontoons from which to construct a whitewater raft. The opportunity to adapt these for HTB was too great a temptation, and the napkin scribbling began in earnest.
A suitable discarded 8-woman Hot Tub was obtained from Craigslist, a buddy offered us his driveway for 'a month or so' and the multi-year project began.
While in great shape for use in protected waters, the crossing imposes a certain increased degree of responsibility. The required increase to reliability, speed and certification overlap with changes necessary to share the HTB experience with a larger audience.
We plan to have HTB certified by Transport Canada, both for safety of those involved, and to reduce any potential scrutiny from authorities such an endeavor might attract. If we exceed the 9.9hp exemption limit (yes!), this is non-optional. Additional safety equipment and modification ($1000) are required for HTB to become a fully autonomous sea-going vessel.
The 18' pontoons are fantastic, but a dedicated set for the crossing and subsequent HTB use are required as the current pontoons have seen much use and abuse in their other life as whitewater raft pontoons ($1500).
During advanced sea trials in 15 kt breeze and associated chop the trusty 9.9hp outboard at full throttle leapt from HTB, taking the transom mount with it. After 36 hours on the ocean bed our resourceful friends Brad and Pat donned scuba gear and recovered the package using a transit taken at the time of disappearance. After reassembly and some praying (and a heavily reinforced transom mount) HTB had power once again! But the incident's effect is evident and re-powering HTB with a used high thrust outboard ($1500) will provide for a faster and more reliable crossing, and facilitate use of HTB on a more regular basis...
Pot Belly Wood Stove installed in a custom Conversion Van
Risks and challenges
The majority of HTB development is complete and advanced sea trials have been performed. Over a dozen people have (somehow) squeezed into HTB, confirming her robust design.
Sufficiently adverse weather might postpone the crossing attempt, though given the inherently heated nature of the vessel, a later crossing would be scheduled. While HTB is solid, large waves cause the water to slosh out leaving bathers exposed. Should strong winds and waves prohibit a successful in-tub crossing on the Primary and Secondary dates, a weather delay may push back crossing and rewards timeline.
Another risk is from Vandalism and/or Theft. The 1000 pound, bright-red HTB always draws attention and currently lives in a marina or in a friends driveway. While theoretically safe, there is always the potential some evil soul would disrupt the making of history.
There is also the possibility unanticipated technical issues would cut short the crossing. Sea Trials revealed flaws in motor mount, electrical systems attachment, and early participant ratio management. All issues identified have resulted in refinement, but no great deed is without risk.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)