When will new ideas be adopted?

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Windmaster, Jul 24, 2022.

  1. Windmaster
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    As a whole sailing using the wind is based upon long established ideas and technologies. Whilst it is nice to enjoy the knowledge gained from hundreds of years of tradition there is a need to embrace new technologies which are emerging and to no longer ignore the future. For example in the search for zero emissions shipping is starting to adopt new and radical solutions. These include Flettner rotors, suction towers, wingsails both electronically controlled and tail controlled. These new technologies are starting to appear on big ships in the search conserve fossil fuel. Many traditional style yachts people do not understand or have never heard of these systems. Who knows what a suction tower is? (invented by Jacques Cousteau) A quick check on Google would no doubt educate them. Can anyone imagine a cruising yacht that incorporated Flettner rotors or any of the other new technologies? and yet many large ships are equipped with them including a cruise ship (Viking Grace) Who would be the first to have the courage to arrive at a Marina with one fitted to power their boat? There is no reason why sailors could not use the new technologies as a viable and a more convenient means of wind propulsion, however, a great fear of change and distrust of anything new, and lack of open minds will no doubt hold back this progress.
  2. liki
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    liki Senior Member

    Just a note from Finland that the rotor was removed from m/s Viking Grace. Ofcourse it is known and shown to work but on Grace it was too small to offer much real benefit.
  3. BlueBell
    Joined: May 2017
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    BlueBell . . . . .

    "When will new ideas be adopted?"

    When society dictates it.
    I predict Jan 27, 2039.
    But where is the resulting question...

    So, lots and lots of new ideas are adopter all the time.
    Perhaps you haven't noticed over the years.
  4. Windmaster
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    Thanks for the information - it did look rather small. Norsepower are the leading installers of Flettner rotors.
  5. TANSL
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    TANSL Senior Member

    I would not call "new technology" something that was first used on ships in the early 20th century.
  6. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Let's see, rigid wingsails have proven unmanageable for the average sailor and kites are not far behind. Powered sails are only usable by displacement motorsailors and their owners don't feel the fuel reduction is worth the complications. Soft wing sails remain fringe apparitions, no system found widespread acceptance, mainly because nobody has yet solved all it's problems.

    Next problem is that no system is mass produced, if I design something needing control electronics or dedicated hardware I need to develop and build them myself.
    Will Gilmore likes this.
  7. Kayakmarathon
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    Kayakmarathon Senior Member

    Here are the obstacles that come to mind immediately.
    1.) Existing fleets have a lot of service life left in them.
    2.) Cargo and Cruise liners are on time schedules. Wind is not. Using wind as a primary source of power is unpredictable.
    3.) Winds predominantly blow in a dominant direction. Ships typically operate in an out and back route. The use of wind power needs to be considered over the entire shipping route.
    4.) Tacking back and forth upwind will take more time than sailing downwind. To offset the delays in tacking with the delivery schedule rate, more ships will have to be built. this is costly and inefficient.
    5.) To get enough wind power to match that of engines, the ship will heel. Passengers do not want to walk a sloped floor. Cargo can get damaged from too much rolling.
    6.) To counter the heeling from sails, a deep heavy keel will need to be added. This would force ports to dredge deep channels. Every place globally would have to dredge for these keels. A cargo ship with a catamaran hull configuration would still require major changes to port configurations.

    But don't let these obstacles stop you from dreaming up new technologies. There will be many ideas that are impractical. Such is the nature of engineering and problem solving in general.
    Will Gilmore, Barry and bajansailor like this.
  8. clmanges
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    clmanges Senior Member

    Sorry, I tried and couldn't find it. Care to enlighten?
  9. Rumars
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    Rumars Senior Member

    Will Gilmore and clmanges like this.
  10. rnlock
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    rnlock Senior Member

    Sounds like a turbosail is just a new name for boundary layer control or powered lift, which airplanes have been messing with for years. You can greatly increase the available lift from a wing with these tricks. OTOH, the fan is something else to fail, and it has to be efficient, or it may use more power than it saves. It's not clear to me that such systems actually have a better L/D than a plain old wing. If they did, airplanes would use these tricks in cruise, rather than just when they are trying to fly slowly.

    I'm guessing that Flettner rotors don't have a better L/D than plain old wings, plus, again, there's something else to fail. Again, if they were better than wings, airplanes would probably use them in cruise. Maybe only slow airplanes, though. I suspect Flettner rotors would be awful at trans-sonic airspeeds!

    If a ship has engines, it doesn't have to tack when it needs to go upwind. Any time the ship is more than, I dunno, 40 degrees off the wind, the wingsail can help. It might not help dead downwind all that much, though. So, wingsails can probably help half the time, saving fuel without slowing the ship down.

    People who sail for fun may nor may not have more fun by using hi tech gadgetry. So performance cannot be the only measure. If they just wanted to go fast, they could use a motorboat, at least until they ran into something. I would find it fun to mess around with a wingsail, but probably not a commercially available one that cost an arm and a leg.

    I fail to see why it would require courage to show up at a marina with some new gadget. Unless that marina was full of judgmental, rude people. That's just their way of telling you they're not worth bothering with. I suppose one issue is that, if someone comes up with something new, it will be banned in racing. For instance, they closed the "loophole" that Jerry Milgram used. I had the impression that the rules were meant to encourage safer, more reasonable yachts, and that's why his boat had the lower rating. So the rules may have worked as intended, but people who had piles of dough invested in sailboats that required deck apes didn't like it. Or, at least, that's the impression I got from the various reports of what happened. Bolger liked to whine about this problem too*. And I saw it in the model airplane world too.

    *I think that's why he designed the Insolent 60, which was intended to provide very high performance without costing anything like as much as other high performance sailboats. Not under any racing rule other than beating the other boat encountered when out sailing.
    Insolent 60 in 3D https://futabachan.livejournal.com/146688.html
    BTW, futabachan's boatbuilding is of very high quality. I hope she builds it someday. Or at least someone does.... (I can't remember her real name anymore.)
    From Bolger's account, the Folding Schooner was competitive in a local race with boats that cost MANY times as much.
    And the captain of the original Red Zinger told me people didn't like it when he was beating them in races with a simpler, less expensive boat. This isn't HIS Red Zinger, unless someone was nuts enough to sail it to Australia, but it's the same design. You might want to turn the music down.
  11. rangebowdrie
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    rangebowdrie Senior Member

    That's a pretty arrogant statement.
    My observations over ~50 years of working on boats and sailing is that the great preponderance of sailors do it for "FUN",
    They have a boat and sail to relax, to have some enjoyment with friends/family, to get away from the crap that's onshore and that's constantly bombarding you with doom and gloom and the-sky-is-falling diatribes of the dreamers who haven't a clue about reality.
    Zero emission commercial shipping?
    With 100,000+ tonnage ships?
    That sounds like the guy on another forum who suggested covering the containers with flexible solar panels to drive the ship.
    Me thinks he watched too many "Star Trek" episodes.
  12. fallguy
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    fallguy Senior Member

    I am anxious for foiling improvements.

    I have this idea that foils will be more universal, like adding an outboard kicker or a second sail, etc.

    But probably full of it...
  13. comfisherman
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    comfisherman Senior Member

    There is always this belief of a grand conspiracy keeping all the cool new stuff at bay. It's just not the case.

    My boats make my living, and the living of my crews families we adopt what consistently works and keeps me safe, without skyrocketing cost of operation. This is the reality for most professional mariners. If new tech lives up to its advertised capacity it's almost universally. No one delayed in dropping Loran like a bad habit in exchange for gps. But not everything is actually better, or it's cost doesn't warrant the adoption.

    I'll use agm batteries for example, they are objectively better than lead acid. Except for half the local fleet was built prior to the mid 80s. On my last three older boats my house bank batteries were located where they are on the hundreds of boats like mine in a wet damp spot under the cabin. In ten years it was on its third set of 8ds, all killed by things other than normal charge cycles. Locally agm is 900, lead acid pennies over 200. It would be nice to go agm, but they wouldn't have survived any better but would have cost much more to replace.

    New prop designs, alternative fuels, renewables, space age materials.... all of it is cool but it has to make $$$$$.
  14. sharpii2
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    sharpii2 Senior Member

    A major likely reason is that they do not provide enough effective sail area to compete with traditional soft sails.

    The two reasons for this are weight and windage. A rotating cylinder has to have considerable strength and stiffness to work. And this strength and stiffness usually means weight. And a lot of this weight is high up.

    A solution to this problem is to have multiple units, so the height can be kept down. But with each added unit, the efficiency goes down. This is why we don't see a lot of four-masted sailboats.

    But even after you conquer the weight aloft problem, you still have the windage problem. You can stop the cylinder from rotating, but it's bulk remains. And if there is enough of it to be as really effective as conventional sails, there will be a lot of bulk. A squall can grab that bulk and do its will with it. With a conventional sail, the sail can come down, leaving the relatively thin mast and supporting rigging up. Its bulk is tiny compared to what cylinders would present.

    Wing-sails, unless they are collapsible, get around this problem by feathering into the wind. But such feathering could present real problems at a marina.

    So, in short, these systems are best used a supplemental propulsion, due to these short comings.

    As supplemental propulsion, their weight and bulk are far less of a handicap.
    TANSL likes this.

  15. Windmaster
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    Have rigid wingsails been tried by average sailors? Can't think when.
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