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Skipping

Boatless water transportation
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One of the costlier aspects to water transport is the need for a large boat that by necessity has to operate on a fixed schedule, instead of purely on demand. It doesn't even wholly satisfy the needs of the passengers, who might have a different destination than the boat terminal. Furthermore, most ordinary watercraft are comparatively slow, compared to alternative means of transit.

The answer: skipping.

Individual passengers are put into a heavily padded one-man capsule, with a rigid shape carefully designed by naval architects for optimal skipping. The loaded capsule is weighed, a computer makes the proper adjustments for the capsule and environmental conditions, then fires it out of a pneumatic cannon at high velocity.

The capsule sails across the water at low altitudes and high speeds, although in restricted channels to avoid navigational hazards. (trajectories could be modified slightly to accomodate traffic as needed) As speed is lost, the capsule will periodically skip along the water, finally coming to rest in a shallow receiving pool at the destination. Passengers disembark, and the pods are prepared for the next trip.

cpt kangarooski, Feb 21 2002

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       You first, 'roo. I'll watch.
bristolz, Feb 21 2002
  

       I doubt the human body could withstand the initial acceleration of being fired from anything capable of going any considerable distance.   

       Ya better stick to applying the thrust energy continuously throughout the entire trip like all other forms of transportation unless you want to clean red goo out of the back of your capsule.
seal, Feb 21 2002
  

       Make the cannon long enough, and the acceleration gentle enough . . .   

       How long?   

       Long enough to reach the destination.
neelandan, Feb 21 2002
  

       Very Jules Verne. No thanks, I'd rather have a rowing boat.
pottedstu, Feb 21 2002
  

       I like the concept, but the energy absorbed by each skip would make your cannon very ineffecient compared to, say, a giant catapult <nudge, nudge>.
DrBob, Feb 21 2002
  

       The pitty-pats at the end would make everyone seasick.
rbl, Feb 21 2002
  

       Have no fear, Seal -- this is not really intended to be a serious idea.
cpt kangarooski, Feb 21 2002
  

       I'm not sure ease of baking is much of an issue here.
bristolz, Feb 21 2002
  

       Being an experienced rock skipper, I must caution that one tall wave will cause an abrupt stop to your pod. So, at best, this is a fair-weather mode of travel.
quarterbaker, Feb 21 2002
  

       At worst, this mode of "travel" is a delightful way of serving smushed human, in slightly inconvenient packaging, to sea creatures.
quarterbaker, Feb 21 2002
  

       qb, is rock skipping where you throw a flattish stone and it bounces up and down on the water or is it far more exotic? (as I have come to expect of yourself)
po, Feb 21 2002
  

       Forget practical transportation- consider the skill and sense of balance needed to actually stand on a skipping object without sinking it. This could be a really neat sport.
Madcat, Jul 24 2003
  

       In my limited experience with things that can skip (frisbees and rocks) I come to the conclusion that objects that skip on surfaces must have rapid spin. Can anyone prove or disprove that? If so proven, it sounds like the barfmobile.
Zimmy, Jul 24 2003
  

       I suspect you will have various problems with this device. To ensure a more gentle, and prolonged acceleration, and to increase the coolness of your idea, I reccomend firing these pods from a sling-like device. This device might also be capable of ensuring a certain amount of spin, which is probably helpful in skipping.   

       To help avoid causing total nausea in some of your patrons (most of them will likely take the ride for the nausia...) I also recommend building these capsules with a double hull construction. The outer hall and inner hull will be attached via complicated gyros and gimballs, to ensure that the passenger is not spun into oblivion, and that the outer shell can be aligned for maximum skip efficiency.   

       This might up the cost a bit, but with mass marketing that shouldn't be much of a problem. After all, the machinery of any ship is far more expensive, and since most of the equippment to operate the device will remain safely on shore, "shipwrecks" will be cheap,and easy to cover up.
ye_river_xiv, Feb 02 2007
  
      
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