AMPHIMAX: AMPHIBIOUS TRACTOR BEACH LAUNCH & RECOVERY
AMPHIBIOUS LAUNCHER - This is a 1/20th scale model of a beach launch and recovery system, designed originally for the SeaVax, but equally useful for other large craft. This is me in the robot lab in the summer holidays. Copyright © picture RD August 2021.
The 'Amphimax' will be the largest amphibious vehicle in the world when (and if) it is built full scale. I am developing the concept in 1:20th scale, and even at this size that represents quite a challenge due to the replication.
The vehicle is designed to launch and recover boats and small ships where there are no convenient dockyards. This gives operators of unusual vehicles absolute flexibility, without mooring fees, or harbour queues. Any beach can be used, meaning that larger vessels used as workboats, such as fishing boats, can be quickly launched and recovered, the parked up (docked) after a day's work - almost anywhere in the world - especially useful for remote locations. The vehicle also functions as a portable dockyard for servicing and repairs of vessels like the SeaVax ocean plastic cleaning drones, that can operate for up to 365 days of the year, 24 hours a day. But even these giant vacuum cleaners need a clean and service occasionally.
HASTINGS - This is some of the fishing fleet on the beach at Hastings in East Sussex. I have visited this beach many times, and enjoyed fish and chips on some of those occasions in the town. Though, the fish caught here almost never finds its way into a local fish and chip shop.
NGAWI BEACH - New Zealand is famous for the ingenuity of their fishermen, some of which descended from fishing folk in Hastings, England. The Amphimax can handle much bigger craft than the boat shown. But could be built smaller for fishermen, if the price could be reduced to make them affordable. These fishing folk operate sustainably, to ensure their local catches do not deplete stocks. Unlike, some commercial concerns that plunder and wreck local ecology with deep trawl nets. These should be banned.
By way of a bit of background, there are many beach launched fishing fleets all over the globe. In the UK, we have the largest in the world, just a few miles along the coast at Hastings, the site of the famous Battle of Hastings (14 October 1066), between the army of William the Duke of Normandy, and the Anglo-Saxon King Harold Godwinson, beginning the Norman conquest of England. King Harold was killed, famously, with an arrow in his eye. Thank heavens we don't need such bloodshed today, every time a monarch expires and a throne is vacant.
The other world famous fleet, more for their ingenuity, is at Ngawi, New Zealand. The Kiwi's took the art of launch and recovery to a new level by using caterpillar tractors to push boats out, then coupled to a submerging trailer on giant wheels, to recover the vessels with a cage lined with old tyres to catch, protect and cushion the incoming vessels. Every boat appears to have its own bespoke trailer design. All use steel girders in their design approach, because it is practical and a quick way of fabricating what is after all, a working solution.
This is what the Amiphimax is designed to carry. It's just a bit bigger than the fishing boats at Hastings and Ngawi beaches. The amphibious tractor drives into the sea and submerges, so that the (plastic) fishing vessel can launch, as in float off. This picture does not show the guides, or the cradles that the SeaVax rests on when being recovered. The driver in the high-up cab at the front gives you an idea of scale. NASA uses an even bigger tracked vehicle to take space rockets to the Kennedy launch site.
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