That boat don't float

In 1909 the schooner Wyoming was launched from the Percy & Small shipyard in Bath, Maine. She was state-of-the art in wooden hulled shipbuilding. She was a six masted schooner and, at 329 ft., the longest ship with an all wood keel and hull ever built. She was the last of nine wooden hulled, six-masted schooners built between 1900 and 1909, and one of seven built by Percy & Small. All were 300 ft. or more in length. They were all state-of-the art.

The Wyoming had 90 steel crossbraces. Even while she was yet on the drawing boards the marine engineers who designed and built her knew from experience with shorter ships that the length of the Wyoming would exceed the structural limits of wood. For this reason they attempted to defeat, or at least support, the laws of physics and the principles of marine engineering with steel. It was to no avail. Not even the steel bracing could prevent the flexing and twisting that resulted in the separation of the hull planking. The Wyoming required constant pumping, as did her sister ships. The Wyoming leaked from the day she hit the water until the day, 14 years later, when she foundered and broke up off of Monomoy Island while riding out a storm at anchor.

It is said that she could be seen to snake (movement of the bow and stern from side to side in relation to the midship) and hog (movement of the bow and stern up and down in relation to the midship) while underway. The action of the waves, in even calm seas, caused the planking to be sprung beyond the capabilities of any calking that could be devised. The Wyoming and her sisters were used, for the most part, for short, close-in coastal hauls, generally in sight of land. At the first sign if inclement weather, they could run for port. The Wyoming served for several years as a coal hauler, as did several of her sisters.

I have always had a great love for windjammers. I have some very expensive books that deal with the minutia of their construction and for years my hobby was to build full rigged wooden models (current project - H.M.S. Beagle). I spent hours climbing over the decks of the U.S.S. Constitution in Charleston Navy Yard, admiring her construction. The Wyoming must have been a beautiful vessel. But she was a beautiful anachronism. At about 300 ft. the structural capabilities of wood were exceeded beyond the abilities of engineering and design to remedy

Few other ships of this size were built of wood. One exception was the four-masted medium clipper barque, Great Republic built in 1853. She is sometimes reported as the longest wooden ship ever build with a length of 334 feet, but more usually it is claimed that she was 325 feet. The Great Republic also had 90 steel cross braces, 4 inches wide, 1 inch thick, and 36 feet long. Nevertheless, she sprung her hull in a storm off of Bermuda. She was abandoned when the water in the hold reached 15 feet.

And yet, creationists want me to believe that a 450 ft. (minimum) vessel of ALL wood construction was able to withstand a storm of 40 days and then remain at sea for almost a year, manned by only eight people, without the efficient pumps of the turn of the century, calked with nothing more than "pitch inside and out". Not to mention the overwhelming necessity of the limited crew to feed and water thousands of animals and to muck out thousands of pens (and then carry the result of the mucking up two decks in order to throw it overboard). When was there time for pumping (24 hours a day if the above is any indication) and the constant recalking in a futile attempt to stem the flow.

You may perceive this as an argument from incredulity similar to those that are so typical of creationists, but I just can't believe such a fairy tale. Experience with real wooden ships sailing in real oceans indicates that Noah's ark would not have survived many days of the 40 day storm.

My opinion of Noah's ark is that that boat don't float.