RW Chapter 74

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Chapter 74 Shipbuilding Project

“What? Why aren’t we able to afford to buy it?” Roland asked while going through the analysis of his request to obtain a two masted ship, which had been put on the table within his office.

Barov cleared his throat and then he explained, “Your Highness, it’s impossible. A brig costs between 80 to 120 gold royals, but this would only be the manufacturing cost. We also have to take into account the wages of the crew. Taking all additional costs into consideration we would need to pay up to 200 gold royals. “

“Didn’t I say we don’t need sailors or a helmsman? We also don’t need a captain; we just need to buy a boat!” Roland exclaimed while knocking on the table to underline his point. With the help of Wendy, he wouldn’t need so many people to drive the boat. River sailing vessels mostly sailed in only one direction. So, to operate it, only the sails had to be set, which made helmsmen and sailors redundant. However, since we can control the wind, why should I be afraid that we can’t move forward?

“Your Highness, there aren’t any offers of that kind, at least not in Willow Town.” Barov carefully explained, “It seems that you don’t know enough about this industry. In general, the owner of the ship is also its captain. He might be a merchant or he may be part of the nobility. If they belong to the former group, they will travel between all of the major cities or towns that have a marina, to sell or buy goods. If they belong to the latter group, they would typically recruit a deputy captain who was looking for a boat. Employees won’t be paid on a monthly basis. Instead, their salary would be paid for one to three years all at once.”

“Most of the time, the boat and the crew are tied together. You intend to purchase a vessel from a captain, but without the crew he had already hired, so the salary he had already paid will be his loss. Even for a member of the aristocracy, 80 gold royals isn’t a small amount of money. After the trade with Willow Town at the beginning of the month, the town hall now has a balance of 315 gold royals, but if we spend half of it to buy a boat now, we won’t be able to pay the salaries of the militia.” The assistant minister explained without pause, but afterwards, he had to first take a big gulp of ale.

After thinking about what he had heard, Roland asked “You said most of the time …”

“Yes,” Barov nodded, “There are two cases when boats will be sold without their crew. The first would be when the merchant is in an urgent need of money, and they have to sell all of their property. They will start by disbanding their crew, and then they will try to sell the ship as quickly as possible. In the second case, the owner wants to replace their old boat with a new one. Both cases would be a good opportunity, but I have to say that this kind of situations is very rare.”

“Wait,” Roland frowned, “you said to buy a new boat … So in this case, where do these ships come from?”

“Port of Clearwater, Seabreeze District, Farsight Point. Only cities with a seaport that have a dock are able to produce new ships.”

Hearing this Roland kept silent for a moment and thought everything through. So this was the original meaning of, “within Willow Town, it’s impossible to find such a deal.” However, I also can’t afford to travel to any of the port cities; they’re too far away, and if I don’t hire a crew, how would I get the ship back to Border Town?

“Since this is the case, I will have to think about it.”

When the assistant minister saw that the Prince was lost in thought, he quickly left the room.

Within Roland’s plan for the future, ships played an irreplaceable part. If there wasn’t a quick and conventional way to transport the artillery, he wouldn’t be able to use them in battle. Generally, the Duke’s troops were built up from the stronghold’s troops, mercenaries, farmers and knights. So, inevitably their marching speed was slow when they had to move.

But, the artillery would be even slower. Just like Carter had said, as soon as they hit a pothole the artillery couldn’t be moved any further– during this time and age, there weren’t any asphalt roads, there wasn’t even a stone road. During this time, the people would walk more, producing many trails. During sunny days they would be lucky, but when it rained, the path became muddy.

In the end, like always, would he have to rely on himself?

Roland spread out a piece of paper, writing down the needed specifications.

Firstly, the ship has to be able to carry one or two cannons in addition to thirty people, but it wouldn’t be powered mechanically, only with sails.

Secondly, since the ship would be used only in rivers, it would need to have a shallow and stable hull.

Thirdly, it had to be easy to operate so that the members of the Militia could handle it after a short training.

Considering all these points, the only possible answer was a flat-bottomed barge …

The draft in front of Roland was very shallow; it was a ship with a very low center of gravity that could be seen on almost all of the river routes. In the past, he had seen many loaded with piles of sand or gravel, and their railing was almost level with the surface of the water. And as long as there was a tugboat, it would be able to pull a barge.

After determining type of the ship, the next key point was to determine which material should be used when building the ship.

Roland wrote down three different options: Wood, Iron, or conrete.

Boats made of wood belonged to the earliest of the nautical technology tree. From a raft to a masted battleship. From sailing on either the river or the sea, wooden boats could be used everywhere. Unfortunately, Roland didn’t know how to use a log to build a flat-bottomed ship, and neither did he have any skilled craftsmen. If he relied on what he knew and on his craftsmen, he would only be able to make a large raft which could fall apart at any moment.

Ships made out of iron were built similarly to houses, always taking two beams which were arranged in a crisscross pattern, constituting a keel. The keel formed would then be coated with sheets of iron. Since Anna could do the welding; the overall stiffness was guaranteed. However, this approach would deplete the already small iron reserves. So this could only be the last resort, as building steam engines and cannons was a much more appropriate choice.

Then building boats out of concrete would be the last option – since the city wall construction was already finished, there was now a surplus of raw materials. As long as Anna had the time to calcinate, they would have enough concrete for one or two ships. The construction process would also be much easier than that of iron-boats. As long as they were able to produce a wooden template which could be reinforced with iron bars, they could quickly fill it with concrete. Even in this rural area, they could easily create several fishing boats out of concrete. Compared to iron ships, they wouldn’t rust. With this, the ship wouldn’t even need much maintenance. Even though a concrete ship could be built at a low cost, it would still be strong and durable. Even if he had never learned how to make big ocean-crossing ships, a river sailing ship didn’t need a high level of technological knowledge. So, building it shouldn’t be a problem, right?

Picturing all the details in his mind, Roland picked up the quill and rapidly began to draw sketches of the barge.


An area with a shed near the Shinshui River was hidden by walls.

In order to facilitate the launching process, Roland located the shipbuilding area as close to the river as possible.

The shed offered shelter against wind and snow and contained two basins for burning charcoal to keep the temperature from falling too far and destroying the hardening effect.

The carpenters had already pieced together the wooden template of the hull – the bow was formed in a circular design in order to reduce forward resistance, the aft instead had a square design meant to increase the load area. The boat had a length to width ratio of 3:1 and was built with a width of 8m. Compared to the traditional ratio of 8:1, it was simply a fat boat. In the center, they had set up two masts. The masts were inserted into the deck and connected to the iron beams of the ship. At the deck, they had placed a reserve rudder. Everywhere, the hull was strengthened with crisscrossing iron bars.

Even though they didn’t have any iron wire, it didn’t matter since Anna had welded all the iron crosses firmly, to form an iron structure which was connected throughout the whole bridge.

When the template and the reinforcements were ready, Roland ordered the workers to start filling it up.

The concrete was poured into a basin-like template. The middle was flat, but the surrounding walls were five meters higher, forming the cabin walls. At first glance, it just looked like a uniquely shaped bathtub.

All people who were involved in the construction, including Anna, had never thought that this strange material, which was used to build the walls, could actually also be used to build ships.



Information to Concrete Ships

This information I wanted to give to you for a long time. Why is it realistic that the MC can invent concrete? When you click on the link, you will discover that concrete was a lost technology during the middle age.

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  • Xegqu

    Thanks for the chapter.

  • ambi

    Thanks for the chapter Roxerer, Dark, Jatz, PyViet, Ho-Ming Chow from Canada, and Erik W. from Germany! Whoa a concrete ship eh? First I’m hearing about it.

  • Psychronia

    Ha! And now they have a concrete ship. I bet everyone’s reactions were hilarious.

    I’m not sure how easily I can swallow yhe idea that MC just happens to know ship construction though. That’s gotta be a specialized field.

    • Kreld

      Mechanical engineering has laws of buoyancy that everyone has to study and after that its just some calculations regarding the volume of the water the ship displaces and the weight of the ship. So I think its very believable that he can make a simple ship frame.

  • natsume142

    Isn’t a lot of books and library were burned down in the Middle Age due to the Crusade War?

    • Nnelg

      Um, no… They mostly got burnt during the collapse of the Roman Empire.

      The Crusades weren’t even fought in Europe; in fact, they were originally suggested as a way to *stop* fighting in Europe via uniting against a common foe.

  • Lysavilis Gyi

    I had no idea a ship could be made of concrete… A part of me thinks intuitively that it must have a weight limit, but then I remember of cruise ships, it seems like it will float as long as it has a good structure, and a impermeable material in the outside.

  • Dragrath

    Ahh yeah it is shocking to see how much knowledge was lost during the “dark ages” it is part of the reason people go “oh it must be aliens” when advanced old technology is found.(i.e. we lost the knowledge by destroying it go humans)

    From what I have read it wasn’t until the dawn of the industrial revolution that we really started to recover to a knowledge base similar to what was around before everything was lost… (And that was in thanks to the Renaissance and Enlightenment movements that basically tried to study the works of ancient peoples (that were more technologically advanced than them)…

    It is a bit unusual for one person to have all this knowledge unless he was an engineer, working with some or training to become one…

    • Nnelg

      He was a Mechanical Engineer back on Earth.

      • Reald Dormond

        And that’s why it’s decently realistic. He was actually a engineer. He still hasn’t done anything out of the realm of possibility, even with Gunpowder (which is outside his field) he didn’t just do it, but worked with it for a bit using what he knew was flashy gunpowder until he found the ratios. He has yet to do something out of his job description really, aside from seeming to have a interest in law / economics with them contracts.

        • bad2me

          Author just need to state that MC has been reading about his invention because statement “he is mechanical engineer” can’t cover all he know and doing.

          • Grey Human

            It was also mentioned in earlier chapter when he teached anna and nana for the first time that, his primary school teacher experiment make him science enthusiast. So, no wonder he could know so much about scientific inventions.

  • Wazzurai

    Thanks for the chapter

  • Neruz

    Yeah after Rome fell the techniques for making the concrete that was so important for Roman construction were lost. That’s one of the reasons why Rome gets venerated so much; imagine living in the 11th century with all these old Roman buildings lying around made out of some miracle rock that no-one knows about.

    • Lysavilis Gyi

      Just like today, must people do know that theirs houses are made of concrete, but have no idea what concrete is made off.
      Without a cellphone and internet, a common citizen of the modern age knows about the same as a citizen of the middle-age, depending of the place we go today there are still places where people practice witchcraft and believe diseases are caused by demons.

  • Jed Hipple

    I have been on a old concrete victory ship that was beached on the cost of Malibu CA. After WW2 it had a restaurant on it for several years.
    So this method of shipbuilding has been used for making a lot of ships before. But the author seems to imply that it’s still in use in China.
    Now he’s got the technology to make a bathtub of any size as well, and if this was a LN harem he would of already done that.

    • D Evans

      It should head that way as hes building power and alliances and one if the beast ways to do that is through marriage

  • Diukes

    Thanks for this chapter 😉 Sailing fortress i guess xD At least for them

  • meow

    Cement ship required more power to move and much more difficult to manipulate then steel or wood. Its heavy as ffff. They can be a good transportation ships, but definitely not a war ship because when get damage they sink, as fast as you can blink.

    • Nnelg

      Yeah, but what can damage them? …Maybe a *VERY* lucky shot with a catapult, but they probably don’t have ballistics so aiming’s impossible.

  • hakra
  • Oak

    Thanks for the chapter,
    So he goes the concrete mania route

  • agila0212

    Thank you for the chapter 🙂

  • Roy Dumam-ag

    Hmmm…. I think I saw a floating cement box somewhere…… OOOHHH… Its the building of the tunnel where the box was prefabricated off-site… and it floats…. sinking them down by pumping in water…

  • lazygeko

    He should invent duct tape, then all his problems would be solved

  • kirindas

    Thanks for the new chapter!

  • Donald Trump

    I am still getting used to disqus on volare…thanks for the release!

    • Donald Trump

      also, this the first time I have heard about ships built of cement….I like this stuff.

      • Ragef33

        Yeah, first I heard of them, so I had to look up “cement ships”, but more accurately they should be called “Concrete Ships” (Seeing as cement is used more like a glue, and concrete is the mixture of cement+other materials)

        • tahuti

          It is more of ferrocement, you need to have metal bars. Process is pretty much as described, make metal skeleton and mold, walls are at bottom 5 inch and sides 4 inch thick, pour cement. Notice in old videos these ships are put in water sideways.

          They are usually slower then steel hull ships due to weight.

      • bladestorm91

        From the information I google’d about concrete ships, the reason why they aren’t that widespread is because they are heavier than steel ships.

        I wonder how concrete ships made of lightweight concrete would perform, it would be interesting to see.

        • Donald Trump

          well it is obvious..I think they are more like permanent floating things for statues and such things

          • Neruz

            The only real reason to use concrete ships over steel ships is if you are short on steel. Concrete ships are cheaper, but steel ships displace less water and last longer while also being stronger and more resistant to external shocks. The trade-off isn’t worth it unless steel is scarce.

            These days the only concrete ships you will see are small private boats used for recreation, as the disadvantages don’t really matter for those. There might also be a few for permanent floating things, as concrete boats don’t really need much in the way of maintenance as long as you don’t mind them getting covered in algae.

            It’s also worth noting that most of the disadvantages of concrete ships are totally irrelevant to Roland, as his enemies don’t have cannons. In his case concrete is probably actually the best material to make ships out of, as the current ship to ship combat tactics are probably largely based around fire and boarding operations. Concrete does not burn well and will resist being rammed better than wood.

            • Donald Trump

              I wonder if a boat in a shallow river can withstand the recoil of a canon…especially with crew who is not very used to it.

              • Neruz

                Depends, at the moment he’s just planning on using the boats to transport the cannons so it’s a non-issue, but with proper brakes set up it should be doable.

                The ships being made out of concrete will help a bit there thanks to increased mass too, though there may be some issues with fracturing from the shock.