Windmill or Wind Turbine- powered boats: how many are out there, and are they viable?

Discussion in 'Projects & Proposals' started by Duma Tau, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. Lin Olen
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    Lin Olen Junior Member

    Hello rwatson.

    1. Jim Bates was selected to accompany the late Sir Edmond Hillary on a polar expedition. Jim was to keep the mechanized sleds operational. That was when he concluded that there was a lot of energy just waiting to be tapped from the wind. As an engineer he would have accessed many trade publications.
    Jim probably read about my Provisional Patent and took little notice, but like most engineers filed the information away in his capable mind until he decided to build his '"wind turbine". The point is that I disclosed a basic method of proving the patent.

    My disclosure described a differential fitted with a single hollow shaft mounted on top of a length of bore casing that was rotatable, mounted on a boat like a mast, to carry a large three blade variable pitch propeller which was mechanically turning an oversize propeller.

    Jim chose a "Diamond yacht hull that was available, but when launched it capsized. Jim's answer, typical of Aussies and Kiwis, was to fix the blighter the quickest and easiest way. To do this he cut the hull in half lengthwise and insert an additional two feet of beam. This was enough to make the ballasted hull seaworthy.

    2. Te Whaka began to receive excellent publicity ( see Cruising World, August 1981. Page 107.) and Jim demonstrated his craft to two officials. The demonstration was televised and this was when Jim made the statement that guaranteed attacks. "If there is going to be an alternative for power for shipping, this has got to be a viable alternative."

    The two "Authorities" managed to persuade Jim to part with his three blade rotor 'for research' but after they got control of it the rotor was stored in a room in the Aukland (?) University and forgotten. Now the fun began in earnest. Jims foundry, which employed highly skilled metal workers to produce bronze boat and brass household fittings, was normally taxed at a low rate. Sales tax was increased from, I believe, 11% to 33%. His product unsaleable.

    Rather than lose valuable tradesmen Jim took his boat long-lining to earn extra cash, but his engine failed on a lee shore and the boat was wrecked. He almost drowned and had to survive three days of exposure before he was rescued. Only the engine and some fittings were salvaged. (From my own experience I strongly suspect that Jim's boat was sabotaged.)

    Being financially embarrassed Jim put his home on the marked, but his faithful wife sold her business to save their home. Jim intended building a catamaran version, as he had given details to an owner (Atkinson?) in the UK who fitted his cat with standard propellers, with good results. I spoke to Jim on a few occasions trying to advise what I considered neccessary, but Jim brushed off my advice. He did not believe that I was the inventor. Cheers, Lin
     
  2. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member


    I am not surprised he didnt recognise your creativity from this description of your invention. I have a copy an an article from a french popular magazine describing and illustrating the same type of device from the 1930's.
    These things have been around for a long time, and the only reason that new patents can be registered I am sure, is that older patents have expired, and the patent office is happy to take your money without spending too much time researching 100+ years of mechanical invention.
    You are certainly going to have to have added some real extra features so as not to have the patent overturned by the first capable attorney paid by someone with a financial motive.
     
  3. Lin Olen
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    Lin Olen Junior Member

    Yes, rwatson, this is why I no longer patent anything, like Havillah Hawkins, all of my ideas and inventions are public domain as quickly as soon as I can show them. The bigger the corporation, the bigger the crooks running them.

    Some genius said: "Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely"
     
  4. Lin Olen
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    Lin Olen Junior Member

    I am a lone experimenter with little exposure, until now, to the academic world of boat and plane designers. I did learn, though, that the human brain when properly motivated can outperform the multiple brain of multi-national research organizations. My prototypes work better than most. Honestly Ive been amazed and delighted at the amount of experimenting with Rotary Sails that is going on around the world since I joine Boat Design.net

    I used hydraulic coupling on Thrippence and it worked as calculated. I wanted to buy an eight foot rotor but the supplier made me buy the whole damn mill and it was beyond my meager finances, it could just as easily have been be electrical or mechanical coupling. The hydraulics could use water, readily available, with no cooling or pollution problems! Cheers...
     
  5. Windmaster
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    That's just an optical illusion caused by the filming - they are not really going any faster than the windspeed. - the rotor diameter was 2ft. Are you a "doubter" maybe you believe that it is not possible for a boat to sail directly into the wind!
     
  6. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    What I was actually referring to is a quote from you

    "So a blow from one of these could easily be less that that of a swinging boom. On a fullsize design of mine, a person actually walked into the turning blades without injury! ."

    The reason you said that was because I expressed concern about safety factors of spinning blades on an open deck.

    Seeing the model in action brought back to me the vision of a full scale boat with a persons head in the way. Say the blades are turning at only the windspeed (15mph) - that will create serious injury, and the person would not walk away with just a bump. They certainly would not avoid serious iinjury.
     
  7. Windmaster
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    My point was that regular sailors take a risk with a swinging boom, you just have to keep your head down. Same as this - the blow would not be anything anything worse. All activity has risk - how about walking into a plane's propeller! (In my design the rotors do not pass near the driver anyway and he can remain seated at all times.) - I know, I've sailed this boat! I will not discuss this "risk" factor again.
     
  8. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    How you can equate a once every ten minute low velocity swinging boom, (usually accompanied with a loud verbal warning) with nearly invisible, suddenly swinging, high velocity, sharp object amazes me.
    And then the astounding comparison with a pilot inside an aircraft. He and the passengers dont walk around the wing at all while the plane is operational!
    Yeah , I bet you wont discuss this risk again. I wouldnt if I were you either.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2008
  9. Windmaster
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    So apart from argument - what is your opinion on this? Are you trying to say its too dangerous, or what? Are you a member of the Health and Safety Executive? ;) How would you do this project? - be great to hear your take on this.
     
  10. rwatson
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    rwatson Senior Member

    Oh no! You asked me for my opinion - I should be able to resist the tempatation to say what I really think - unnngh, struggle - no its no use - the Inner professor has taken over the keyboard - oh no - I cant stop aaaaaahhhhhhhh.

    "With unknown innovations, and no practical examples to test and assess, often it requires small tests to find out high reliable the assertions of the innovator are.

    When very basic, but important issues are raised, and get the brush off or are argued vehemently by the innovator, it sets off alarm bells.

    Consider the following statements together :-
    1) "the rotors do not pass near the driver anyway and he can remain seated at all times"
    2) " a person actually walked into the turning blades "
    Contradictory to say the least.

    I am no doctor, but I know how much damage a sharp edged object (perhaps all three blades within seconds) moving at "windspeed" say 10-15 mph will do. As it is, with traditional boats, something like 70% of deaths are caused by accidents with equipment, not sinkings or men overboard.

    Then when you say
    " I know, I've sailed this boat! I will not discuss this "risk" factor again."

    I will try desperately not to get too preachy here, but I have followed the story of many engineering innovations, sailing etc over the last 40 years. I was reading about turbine propelled boats 20 years ago, along with a half dozen other designs that actually made it into production boats. The reasons that designs get dont get used, become popular and dont make any money dont always hinge on the efficiency or originality, but come down to "little" things. An inventor who dismisses "little" things (perhaps like safety aspects) is probably dismissing other "gotchas" that have prevented the commercial usage of wind turbine propulsion over the last nearly 100 years.

    But you know what? It would be great to be proved wrong! I hope you make a million and all the new Farrs and Benetaus come out with bright shiny turbines and the upwind beat becomes a thing of the past. Go for it!

    There - that will teach you to ask for my opinion!!!! :)
     
  11. CNCAddict
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    CNCAddict New Member

    OK, I hate to make my first post one that is critical, but I couldn't help myself. It is a fact that wind turbine blade speed is MUCH higher than the apparent wind speed. So yes, a wind turbine on a boat is not safe if it is within striking distance of it's passengers. So maybe the solution is to mount it out of the way?! So no more arguing this obvious and silly point...OK??

    http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/T/AE_tip_speed_ratio.html
     
  12. Lin Olen
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    Lin Olen Junior Member

    Right on, Rotary Sail don't seem to care what type of transmission is used. It is not critical and has power to spare! Cheers, Lin
     
  13. Lin Olen
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    Lin Olen Junior Member

    I do not mind valid criticism, but if you have a look at the Rotary Sail Trailer-Tri "Thrippence" you will see two obvious design details:

    1. The automatic steering vane hangs below the wind-shadow of the rotor and points true in any breeze. This fin has a symmetrical airfoil shape.

    2. The handle on the bottom of the fin is used to aim the rotor in still air, ready for the first expected breeze. It is just within reach when I am standing in the cockpit. I am over 6 feet.

    Another point: I rounded and smoothed all the tips of this windmill rotor to avoid serious consequences. An aircraft engineer has safety drilled into him.

    Satisfied? No?

    Cheers, anyway! Lin
     
  14. yipster
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    yipster designer

    any thoughts on counter rotating props?
     

  15. Windmaster
    Joined: Nov 2006
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    Windmaster Senior Member

    By "props" do we mean the propeller in the water, or the wind-turbine in the air? is there a reason why would you need them?
     
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