Can a human swimmer use small sail for propulsion?

Discussion in 'Sailboats' started by kvsgkvng, Jul 1, 2012.

  1. kvsgkvng
    Joined: Jan 2012
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    kvsgkvng Senior Member

    The title sais it all pretty much... The idea is "a pure recreational warm water swimming by using whatever wind is available in order to propell a person with a sail."

    Can it be done with minimal rigging and gear? ( suggestion of using arms, legs noses and other bodily parts are not welcome :)

  2. mydauphin
    Joined: Apr 2007
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    Have you heard of kite sailing, apart from that where do you put pole, mouth, belly button or .... @@@ .
  3. gonzo
    Joined: Aug 2002
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    gonzo Senior Member

    Yes, it could be done. The system was described by Jules Vernes.
  4. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    if you bought some vi#gra you would have a mast.
    1 person likes this.
  5. masalai
    Joined: Oct 2007
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    masalai masalai

    But what if the swimmer got all-to-excited and as a consequence, the mast collapsed?
  6. whitepointer23

    whitepointer23 Previous Member

    Never thought about that. Probably have to drift around for a while then try again.
  7. CDK
    Joined: Aug 2007
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    CDK retired engineer

    Body parts are not what he wants guys!

    But the human body does have a socket for a mast. A 1 inch broomstick, rounded for comfort and a pair of suspenders to keep it upright, that's all you need.
  8. mydauphin
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    mydauphin Senior Member

    I would suggest a surfboard a critical first step, a mast a second, and a sail a third. Otherwise consider kitesailing.
  9. JosephT
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    JosephT Senior Member

    The human body doesn't make a good hull. Rigging to human flesh will kill you as well. Suggest wind surfing, kit sailing or perhaps building a small sailboat. The smaller they get, the goofier they look.

  10. masalai
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    masalai masalai

    Hi JosephT,
    I see that "April Fool" is making progress (backwards judging by the bubble lines in the water)... I wonder that a coracle has not been suggested - being non directional circular in plan view?
  11. Stumble
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    Stumble Senior Member

    Just out of curiosity, how can you tell which way is the front?
  12. P Flados
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    P Flados Senior Member

    In response to the original proposal (contrary to post 2, 4-10), floating on your back and travelling downwind would work with a simple "fabric between 2 poles" sail.

    I am not sure of the potential for navigation, but the variance off of dead down wind would probably be small without additional items. Some "fins", one on the back (daggerboard function) and one on a foot, might aid in navigation ability, but the whole idea begs a "Why?" before any further consideration.
  13. Luc Vernet
    Joined: May 2004
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    Luc Vernet Senior N.A.

    I shall not post the picture here as the puritans here will get a heart attack and the just as puritan moderators delete the post, but us, Frenchies, all had a big laugh when famous magazine "Charlie Hebdo" published this drawing on cover page after Tabarly double dismasting in the Withbread round the world race, and continuing under jury rig !

    THAT is a human swimmer using small sail for propulsion!:D
  14. Petros
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    Petros Senior Member

    I have used a kayak paddle to propel me forward while swimming, I have also done it floating on an inner tube. I do not see why a small sail will not work, but it would only be good for downwind movement at best.

    There was a rather inventive fellow that joined within the last year that had a cleaver idea for a kind of half sailboard that you lay on top off, with your legs and feet hanging off the back, using swim fins to steer with. It seems that would be a better approach than just a sail with the swimmer floating on his back. With a short board at least you could rest, and you would have more ablity to tack into the wind.

  15. bntii
    Joined: Jun 2006
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    bntii Senior Member

    "Can a human swimmer use small sail for propulsion?"

    Of course they can.
    This is the function of the Bicorn hat as developed by the royal navy and used for a century to aid swimming sailors.

    Shown here as worn by Nelson:

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