Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Phinisi a Wooden Sailing Boat from Indonesia

180px-Taopere.jpgIndonesia is the largest archipelago in the World. It has more than 17,000 islands scattered between the continents of Asia and Australia. As a maritime nation, Indonesian people have a long tradition of building boats both for transporting goods and people. One of the famous types is the Phinisi. It is a wooden sailing boat from South Sulawesi. The people there make Phinisi boat using traditional equipments and methods. In the past boats were only powered by sails. Now most of the boats have diesel engines. Here in Indonesia people call such boats as KLM (Kapal Layar Motor literally translated as Ship Sail Motor). Because of this hybrid system, Phinisi can be considered as an environmentally friendly boat.
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In recent years, Western Naval Architects have given their serious attention to Phinisi. They try to modify the sailing boat from cargo oriented to pleasure one. Now Phinisi has been modified to function as yacht. Its construction system has also been adapted to conform with the standard classification rules set by BKI (Biro Klasifikasi Indonesia) or GL (Germanisher Lloyd). In addition,boatbuilders of Phinisi also install internal combustion engine (or diesel engine) to power the boat. For instance, a 36-meter Phinisi which has been powered with a 650 hp Yanmar diesel can have a service speed of 10 knots. This speed is considered fast compared to similar other Phinisi boats. The use of computer ship design software such as Maxsurf in optimizing the propulsion efficiency and hull-form does not change the construction method.
With the improvement of design, speed and quality of interior material of the Phinisi boats, we will see that yacht owners from around the world will be interested in ordering such sailing boats to travel the waters of not only Indonesia but also the Carribean, the Mediteranean and the Pacific. by Charles Roring

Monday, December 28, 2009

Naval Architecture Schools in Indonesia

180px-Ship-IMG_3429.JPGSuppose that you are interested in studying Naval Architecture and you are looking for schools that provide such study program in Indonesia. Indonesia is a maritime country but it has less than ten naval architecture schools which are located in several islands. For state owned universities I will recommend Pattimura University in Ambon city of Maluku islands, Institut Teknologi Surabaya (ITS) in Surabaya city of East Java and Hasanuddin University in Makassar city of the Province of South Sulawesi.

These universities have cooperation which they call Segitiga Biru or Blue Triangle. Experts or lecturers from the respective department of naval architecture and marine engineering meet regularly to discuss the latest development in the national shipbuilding industry.

Sometimes these universities conduct researches that are related to ship design and propulsion using the towing tank of Pattimura University or the hydrodynamic laboratory that is located in ITS. A new naval architecture study program has just been opened in the University of Diponegoro. But I don't know how far they have built their cooperation and relation with the three campuses. Pattimura University is the only department of naval architecture and marine engineering that has its own slipway that repairs boats up to thirty meters in length. This facility allows the students to experience direct dockyard works before entering bigger shipyard.

Other private universities that also offer naval architecture and marine engineering study programs are Universitas Dharma Persada in Jakarta and Hang Tuah University in Surabaya. I don't have any information about them, so, I cannot give you any explanation about them.

If you are not an Indonesian, you need to contact the deans of the universities to get more information whether you are allowed to study naval architecture there or not. Although most of the textbooks in these campus are written in English, you might need to master bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian language) before being able to join the classooms. by Charles Roring

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Beautiful Flowers from Tomohon

My sister ordered some bunches of flowers from Tomohon for decorating our Catholic church during the Christmas mass. The flowers arrived 12 hours late and they could not be used during the Christmas eve celebration. The distance the flowers had to travel was very far. From Tomohon in the Minahasa regency, her friend who bought the flowers had to bring them to Sam Ratulangie airport and handed them over to cabin crew of Batavia air. After that the flowers would be flown to Hasanuddin airport in Makassar city where it would then be transferred from the airplane to another one that would be flying to Rendani airport of Manokwari in the Province of West Papua. So, the flowers need around 8 hours flying not including the time they needed on land from the airport to the church before they could be used for decorating the altar.
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Because of the late arrival of these flowers, my sister decided to use them for the New Year's eve celebration. To keep the freshness of the flowers, she put them in a number of baskets that have been filled with water. Also she put them near our bathroom to keep the temperature lower.
Flower farmers in Tomohon have exported their products to customers as far as Jakarta and Balikpapan. Although on the map the distance between Manokwari and Tomohon is not too far, there is no direct flight between these towns. Flowers have to be transported by car or Datsun trucks from Tomohon to Manado and be flown to Makassar before taking another flight to Manokwari.
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Selling Flowers can be a good business especially during the economic downturn like what many people experience right now. Growing flowers can be done at backyards where unused lawns have been converted into flower patch. The favorite and expensive flowers that customers like to buy in this town are cut flowers such as red roses, orchid and possibly Adenium (mostly sold as live plants) Less expensive flowers such as Canna is also good for home interior.
When buying flowers, customers must know that beautiful flowers from high land areas may not grow well in lowland areas. So it is better to ask the vendors about the kind of flowers which are suitable for lowland. by Charles Roring
Also read: Barringtonia Asiatica beautiful but poisonous flower

Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas Lunch

Today is Christmas day. I am spending all day at home watching television and talking with my parents, sisters and my wife. I think that we need some time to talk with our family sharing some interesting stories which we don't do during workdays. Now I am about to eat my lunch and I am happy to show you how Christmas at my home has been a great day for my family.

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Perhaps some of you don't celebrate Christmas. It's okay. I hope that God will bless you all with healthy life and happiness.
Next year will be a challenging year with many opportunities that we can take to improve our living condition. We may plant a tree in front of our house as a simple resolution in fighting global warming. Or We may have planned to take a long holiday aboard a sailing yacht that will bring us to remote islands in the Pacific or the Carribean. Or you might have considered of giving up smoking as your resolution.
For me, I will try to update this blog more frequently and improve the content so that more of you will enjoy reading the posts. Happy Christmas

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Watercolor Painting of Two Girls Fishing At A Wooden Jetty

I made this painting to create awareness among us all about the importance of keeping our beach clean. In the painting you can see how dissappointed the girls were when they found out that it was not a fish that they caught but a worn shoe. They were sitting on a wooden jetty accompanied by a small teddy bear doll in a bright day. The background of the scenery shows a container ship sailing out of the bay to the open sea. There were three other boats in the bay. At a far distance, we could see the green hills and a light house standing at the end of the cape.
fishing-shoe.jpgWhen we go to a beach we may not find such beautiful and clean water. The sea areas around coastal big cities and towns are now covered with industrial and domestic wastes. Many of them contain chemicals that are harmful to the marine environment. While we may now work hard to fight global warming, it seems that we are not aware of the continuous destruction of coral reefs caused by the dumping of wastes to the sea. I hope that this watercolor painting can be seen as my way of presenting how beautiful the sea is and how important for us to not throwing plastics and other domestic garbages to the sea.
Title: Painting of Sisters Fishing at a Wooden Jetty; Artist: Charles Roring; Year: 2004; Media: Watercolor on cold press acid free Canson paper

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Largest Submarine in The World, Sentoku

During World War II, Japan built Sentoku the largest submarine in the world. This class of submarine, which was also named I-400, had hangar constructed on the upper main deck to accommodate three floatplane bombers, Aichi M6A Seiran. The submarine was reported to be 60% larger than the largest American submarine. The Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) ordered the construction of the I-400 submarine class as their secret weapons to destroy major US cities and the Panama Canal - the main route for the US to logistically supply their troops fighting against the Japanese in the Pacific. The Japanese had suffered great loss during the marine battles in Guadalcanal, and Midway as well as land battles in the Netherlands New Guinea island. It had been planned that the launching of surprised attacks on the Panama Cannal and US big cities would stop the US from immediately supplying their troops in that region thus providing enough time for the Japanese to consolidate and strengthen their troops.

Unfortunately for the Japan, the I-400 submarines could not fulfil their mission because the US had bombed Hiroshima and Nagasaki with nuclear weapon forcing the Japanese government to surrender without any condition. Sentoku and her sisters submarines could carry aerial torpedoes, three 800 kg bombs and twelve 240 kg bombs to arm their Seiran aircrafts. The propulsion of this submarine was powered by four 3,000 hp engines with enough fuel to travel around the world 1.5 times.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Bark Bag from Manokwari of West Papua

Tropical rainforest of West Papua has been the source of food for the indigenous people for thousands of years. It still plays an important role for the whole earth's inhabitants by converting CO2 emissions into fresh air that we breath everyday together with forests in Brazil, Borneo and other parts of the world.
In recent days, this forest is facing rapid illegal logging. Businessmen come to this island and convert the forest into large palm plantations that only give little benefits to the local people. When an area of the tropical rainforest has been cleared, various species of plants, mammals, birds and insects lose their habitat.
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Last week, I and my friend went to the Table Mountain to take some bark for making traditional bags. We had to climb up several steep hills before we could find the tree that we need for making the bark bag. More than a century ago, tree barks were used by the indigenous Papuan people as textiles. They had not known how to make cotton thread and for making clothes. It was 4 p.m. when we took the bark from a small tree that would regenerate again after its trunk had been cut.
Then we decended from the Table Mountain of Manokwari. While we were in the middle of our way home we found a burnt land in the middle of this protected tropical rainforest which has just been cleared for vegetable patch by a local farmer. The indigenous people usually cut trees and burn them to clear the land of the forest to make it as their farmland. We could not do anything because we were not the forest authority.
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Back to the story of bark bag. Arriving at Paul's house, I was given a seat to watch him pounding the bark to spread its fiber and make it tender. He needs three days to process such raw bark into a traditional bag.
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As I don't have enough time to wait for that process, Paul asked his daughter to take the already made bark bag. Yes, it looks just a simple bag which the locals don't use anymore in their daily activities. Modern leather bags have replaced the existance of this bark bags which frequently are decorated with attractive ornaments related to local culture.
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Writing the profile of Papuan artists who live in Manokwari is one of my ways to promote eco-tourism that is expected to improve their living quality the local people thus discouraging deforestation.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Two Dolphins Swimming in the Blue Sea

Have you ever seen dolphins swimming along side a sailing boat or ship? I have experienced such scenes many times. When I was still a university student studying naval architecture in the University of Pattimura Ambon, I frequently traveled with KM Dobonsolo or KM Sirimahu to my hometown in Manokwari. They were passangers ships operated by PT. PELNI. When the ships were in the middle of the sea with no bad weather at all, usually passengers could see big fish such as dolphins swimming in a close distance. It was a wonderful experience for me and I decided that one day I had to make a drawing or painting of such scene.

Charcoal sketch of Dolphins
Dolphins are smart mammals that live in the sea. They are often considered as guardian angels for sailors who experience accident at sea. I used to hear a story which said that dolphins helped crews of capsized or sunken ship by taking them to a nearest island. I don't know if such case do exist in real life. I only know that there are circus shows about instructors who ask dolphins to give them a ride around the big pond to entertain the spectators. The fish can also do simple mathematical calculation.
For me, the best thing that we can do to the dolphins is by letting them live where they are right now. The less we disturb them the better. This is also true for the whole marine environment. By the way, I made the painting of these swimming dolphins in 2004. The media was Fabercastell watercolor pencils on French made Canson paper.


So, next time when you plan to have a vacation in the Caribbean islands or the Pacific region, don't forget to bring a telelens camera. You might encounter such rare scene.  Take some nice pictures as souvenirs for your family and friends. by Charles Roring

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Remains of Giant Clam on Tropical Rainforest of Manokwari West Papua

Could the Table Mountain of Manokwari of West Papua be a coral reef park several thousand or even million years ago? I and my friend Paul Werere, an indigenous Papuan, made a short trip to a tropical rainforest located some five hundred meters at the back of my house. The locals here call it Table Mountain. There we found remains of giant clam shell (Tridacna gigas) and elkhorn shaped corals scattered around the mountain which are at 50 to 70 meters vertically measured above the sea surface. We also saw crabs swimming in the pond of spring water with physical appearances similar to their brothers that live among the mangrove forest. But we were not at the beach. We were on the mountain that is covered with large trees whose diameters range from 50 centimeters to 1.5 meters.
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There have to be some explanations for why coral reef thrived in an area of a mountain far and high from the sea. The distance to the current beach is around 1 kilometer.
The first explanation will be that the ancestors of Papuan people might have taken the giant clams from the sea and ate them on the mountain. But this might not be true due to the existance of other corals that were not edible. The remains of hard corals and various large and tiny shells can still be found on this mountain.
The second explanation is that the corals and the giant clams had been swept away to the land by a giant wave or tsunami. While this answer might be possible, there has to be a maximum line where the giant wave had reached and stopped. Usually the line could be indicated by a long row of stones, corals, and other earth materials which had been carried into the land by the waves. So far we have not found such row of coral remains.
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Then the third answer is that yes, the region used to be under the sea level. It means today's Manokwari town was under the sea level. Due to tectonic movements, the earth layers along the Table Mountain and the Northern Coastal Region of Papua island has been greatly pressed to emerge from the sea. That was how the mountain range along the northern coast of Papua had been formed. It could happen some several million years ago. Who knows?
Well while we are still guessing why this coral reef park thrived in this Table Mountain, I want to invite you to come to this forest to watch the birds singing and dancing, and to breath in the fresh air it produces while exploring the ancient coral reef without having to wear diving gear. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of West Papua

Monday, December 14, 2009

The earthquake resistant wooden house of Minahasa enter the internet world

The traditional house of Minahasa has been recognized in Indonesia as one of the best earthquake resistant home construction that is suitable for tropical region. It looks beautiful especially when constructed in a village that is still fully decorated with flowers and green plants. In recent days, these wooden houses are increasingly being exported to other regions in the country and even abroad.

With the availability of internet connection in Woloan village, a major place where the traditional home builders can be found, traders of this earthquake resistant wooden houses try to expand their market by promoting their products on the internet. There are some websites that already offer these wooden houses. Potential buyers can choose the designs that they like based on the ones presented or can request custom designs from the housing company which are more suitable for their needs and climate condition where the houses will be erected.
The science of design and construction of Minahasan traditional wooden house has evolved over hundreds of years through trial and error of experiments that continues to improve the craftsmanship of the designers and builders. As a matter of fact, most of the wooden house design is not created by professional architect who got their expertise from college, not either by the use of Archicad home design software. Instead, the skills in designing and building of the houses have been passed on from generation to generation among the families of the house builders. Although the export of this type of wooden house is rising, there are concerns among the home builders to the availability of the raw materials.
The wooden house of Minahasa is mostly made of Cempaka, Lingua and Jati (tectona grandis) woods. Wood as home materials are getting scarce in the region. Home builders there now order planks and blocks from southern and central region of Celebes island. Some times they order wooden blocks from Kalimantan. This creates sensitive environmental issue such as illegal logging or irresponsible deforestation. This wooden house business can still survive if the local villagers are asked to plant trees that will become the housing materials after 30 years.
Timber frame houses are more resistant to earthquake. But the wood has to be properly treated to protect its fiber from direct contact with water. The application of varnish or paints on its surface will greatly protect the wood from decaying. In addition the standardization of sizes and types of wood used in the manufacture of wooden houses will ensure the safety of the houses. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of Papua

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ventilation System of Tropical House

Tropical houses are different from European houses. In cold region, houses must have good insulation to keep the indoor temperature warm during cold or winter season. Most of the houses in the sub-tropic or polar region have wood or gas stoves installed to keep warm temperature in the rooms. The case is different for tropical houses, ventilation system plays very important role in controlling the temperature of the rooms. In tropical region, sun shines all year long. The humidity is very high. Tropical houses need to have large openings such as windows and holes above doors to let the air circulate freely in and out of the houses.
Besides providing many jalousie windows, some house owners install the roof ventilators which will turn and suck the cool air into roof to cool the houses from above. City dwellers that install Air Conditioning Machines at their houses usually cover the ventilation windows and holes with transparent plastic sheets to keep the inside temperature of their houses cool. But this practice is considered not healthy because  new or fresh air cannot enter the houses.
Many tropical house owners grow trees and flower plants at the front or beside their houses to filter air and harness fresh oxygen produced by the trees to directly enter the houses during the day. This is one of the best natural ventilation systems that integrates trees as air filter and cooler. It can reduce the cost of electricity spent for operating artificial exhaust fan or Air Conditioning (AC) machines.
Although tropical houses need to have large window openings, they also need to be closed at nights to prevent mosquitoes from entering the houses. When the glass windows are closed, the air will still circulate through air holes located above the windows that are covered with mosquito nets. It means the fresh air can enter the house but the mosquitoes can't. by Charles Roring in Manokwari of Papua island.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Naval Architect Who Also Likes Painting and Drawing

Besides running this blog (the diary of a naval architect), I also run a home based bookstore where I sell various titles of books. As a naval architect, I am very fond of art especially drawing. I spend my pasttime drawing or painting. Sometimes I draw boat or ship not in an engineering perspective but art.
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Some friends say that the drawings are very good. They suggest me to open a painting gallery. After considering their advice, this month I decide to put some of my artworks on the wall of my bookstore. So, if those of you ask what actually my profession is then I would say that I am a naval architect, an entrepreneur and an artist and a nature lover.
Dealing with the stability, resistance and propulsion calculations of ships can be stressful especially when the ship is a completely new design with unconventional hull form. So, I need to find a way to reduce my stress. Some naval architects play sports, others travel to foreign countries, and me? Drawing is my choice. It is not expensive, and it can be done at home or outdoor.
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For me naval architect is passion and profession. But this will be more meaningful if it is done in an artistic way. We must remember that naval architecture is an art and science of ship design and ship building. Therefore, all naval architects must consider ships or boats or yachts that they are working on not only as products of engineering but also as artworks. by Charles Roring