Episode 2x: How to Build a Transoceanic Vessel

This episode was recorded on Tuesday October 14th, 2014. John was joined by the intrepid Megan who was in town from York, England where she is a PhD candidate in Archaeology. Randy, was was the producer of the podcast decided to take a turn behind the mike also. Terrell also came along for the ride.

This podcasts discusses the anachronisms involved in creating a transoceanic vessel in the 6th Century BCE. It also explains why it would have been impossible given the supporting tools, technologies and industries that would have had to be employed.

Memorable Quotes:
“So What is [Nephi] going to do to get the seam of iron out of the mountain? Because we already know he doesn’t have any tools. Because he needs tools in order to build the boat. So he goes to find the iron in order to build the tools which he clearly does not have. But without tools he can’t mine the iron out of the fucking mountain!”–John

“Charcoal is not just discovered. In the kind of quantities they would have to have, we are not even there yet. They would have to deforest acres and acres and acres of forest…I’m not kidding here…just to get the charcoal in order to get the furnace hot enough to build the hammer that he needs to go get the iron out of the mountain.” –John

“It’s Gilligan’s Island Level Ridiculousness” –Randy

“He’s going to need a fucking butt-load of nails!” –John

“It’s a sail boat that’s how it gets powered across the ocean. That’s how they get there. They have to have big, big sheets of very sturdy material. They have to loom it. So they have build looms. Once again we are going back. Now they have to go back and build looms. And now we need a whole bunch of sheep. A lot of sheep. Like 100s and 100s and 100s of sheep. And they need sheers. And they need to keep sheering these sheep. And have the wool not rot year after year after year because they need a whole lot of this.” –John

“For every square meter of sail you need at least 2 fleeces from a sheep. So you are talking about 200 sheep just to weave, not the thread or anything else. Keep in mind you can only sheer a sheep once a year.” –John

“If you have 500 sheep you have to feed those sheep. You have to water them. You have to tend to their young. You have to have them fenced in. You have to take them out to pasture.” –John

“If you have ever played Settlers of Katan, you know you have to have resources. But there is not that many golden spots. Think about this wonderful spot that they found. Not only does it have iron ore but it has 100s of miles of forest of timber that is sea faring grade. It has pastoral land. It has water and everything they need. It does talk about leather so they have goats I would assume. So not only do they have sheep but they have goats in quantity. This is this amazing miracle place that has every resource. Because if you go to the ship building capitals like Plymouth, these aren’t the breadbasket places. These are the places that all the materials are being shipped to…all of these materials need to be within 20 or 30 miles otherwise they would have to build transportation networks.” –John

“They need a rudder. The only problem is a rudder wasn’t invented until the 12th century.” –John

“They’ve got the boat built. Now the problems start. You have to navigate this boat across the ocean.” –John

“They say: “we were driven back upon the water for the space of three days.” How the fuck did they know? How in the world, if you are in the middle of the ocean, do you know if you have gone back for 3 days? If you are sailing without any landmarks it can feel like you are going forward but you are ridding a current that is pushing you backwards. Oceans are tricky that way. You can not visually know in the middle of the sea let alone measuring that in terms of days.” –John

“The big problem of Transoceanic sailing is not the nails or the keel, it is water. because water is heavy. And you really don’t want water in a boat. But you can’t drink the ocean. So when you are traveling for a long period of time you need a lot of water. That is the reason the Phoenicians, the Greeks and the Vikings would stay close to the shore. Because they would sail for 2 or 3 days, raid the village, rape the women, grab some water and get back on the boat.” –John

“We are told is this is the land of milk and honey, but what we didn’t talk about is that for years they had to create a whole pickling and food preservation industry because you can’t just load up barrels of honey on to a ship. First of all because there weren’t any barrels! Where are the coopers?” –John

“This is not possible at all.” –John