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Old 12-09-2012, 01:18 PM
Alka Seltzer Alka Seltzer is offline
Join Date: May 2009
Posts: 3,736
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
The maximum possible weight for an ark-sized boat, assuming 18 inch cubits and fresh water, is about 43,000 tons. Even allowing for empty weight and wanting to float a bit higher than right at water level, 17,000 tons doesn't sound absurd.
Seriously? We're taking about a wooden ship with a deadweight tonnage (cargo capacity) almost three and a half times outside known experience, and you don't see a problem? There are fields where order of magnitude estimates are useful, but shipbuilding is not one of them.

Yes, you could probably build a wooden structure of those dimensions, load it that heavily, and expect it to float - on a flat sea. The issue is whether it could survive the stresses of any significant wave action. The answer to that is, very probably not.

Very large wooden ships, such as the Wyoming, suffered badly from hogging and sagging. In the case of the Wyoming, water would leak through the hull as the planks twisted, which had to be pumped out. And this is a ship reinforced with iron struts every 3 feet or so. Bear in mind, any flooding compounds the problem, as the stresses increase.

The study I debunked ignores these problems. The stability analysis itself may be perfectly sound, but is useless if the basic figures are not realistic.