Istanbul and Bodrum, Turkey
Summer 2011

Having seen the results of two generations of archeologists working on  millennia of submerged wrecks, I return to my little vessel imagining that it and the operations I am undertaking are being applied to the much more ambitious project that has remained an illusive but increasingly committed goal. I try to estimate the weight and displacement of my boat and that of an eventual 9-meter tirhandil. This requires calculating the surface area of the hull. I email Don, whose background as a physicist should make this a relatively simple problem.

Don’s diagram of a simplified way to calculate the area under a curve.

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Deciding that this problem will resolve itself without my attempting complex mathematical procedures, I instead meet with Xila. At this point I realize I’m delaying what I know will be a labor-intensive and determining period. We spend the afternoon trading drawings working out how my plan may work for a larger boat. She points out that my concern should be less whether a 9-meter ferrocement hull will be seaworthy and more how it will stay deep enough in the water without added ballast. She explains that frames and stringers* assure that the form does not twist under sail, and provide actual strength. This means that an eventual cement hull may need very few if any frames but will need to be braced longitudinally.

A 9-meter boat may only require two frames: one at midships** and one at midkeel to act as attachment points for two sets of stringers,  and/or a caprail.***   

As we finish our conversation, Xila tells me about a man who lives in a wooden house above Gundogan. His name is Mustafa – Captain Mustafa. Having spent his professional life sailing the Forsa, a large green charter out of Bodrum, he would be able to help me technically, and, most importantly, he knows everybody who has anything to do with boats on the peninsula. The only problem is finding him. As I return to Gundogan I scan the ridge but cannot see a wooden house. The next day I will begin applying the same procedure to the entire boat that I did in the earlier tests. This will take three days.  

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