CoolIP index           


Integrated Kite-Sailing Fleets (Cloud Sailing)

Kite sailing is ancient and the modern instances have mostly been classic in concept. The idea of two boats, as buddies, working a net or kite between them is old. Similarly, boat towing, singly or in trains, is ancient and still very common. What next? Emerging Kite Energy concepts involve the use of many cross-linked kites, to overcome the operational scaling barrier to individual kites. Kite trains, arches, and even cloud-like 3D kite lattices can be scaled far beyond any energy technology ever to take to sea. Its advantageous to spread out kite arch and cloud multilines across the surface for control, and to spread crosswind sail area. An entire fleet can be pulled as a flock by such a cloud of sail in the sky. In lulls, the fleet could tow the eased (depowered) cloud along. Special deadheading tugs might ferry clouds into place along trade routes. Tug force could be tensiometrically metered as a commodity that would directly offset bunker diesel. Bulk barge traffic is an early opportunity, as the slower the boat, the lower the usable windrange. With time and steady performance improvements, a new golden age of high-speed sailing might ensue. Entire floating cites could sail under a cloud.

Amateur yachts-folk are the ideal developers and early adopters of Cloud Sailing. We understand how to kite sail, and how to find endless practical solutions from out of our grand sea traditions. We have all the needed sub-elements available as mature components. Supervised helm automation, radio-talk, and GPS make this a practical sailing class. Far out to sea, fleet spacing could easily be a comfortable kilometer or more, with the kite cloud towering even higher. A cloud "tall rig" could have a nice station aloft; the best vantage, with no sea-motion. Sailors aloft would do pretty much what they have always loved to do, sail, but through the sky. "Drop us a line" would take on a literal meaning as boats joined such a fleet. A winged pod would reel down from above, to connect to. A cascade of pulleys in a whipple-tree of line can passively equalize a fleet's multi-tethers. The sea-motion of all boats would improve. Existing boats would serve; all that would normally be needed would be a "Y" or tri- line bridle attached to hull tie-off points. Long-tether towing could draw along any boat unsuited to a direct cloud connection. Anyone able to round up a suitable hulk or tub could load up the family and sail off in the security of the kite fleet.

"KiteLab Ilwaco" tried a session of shared-kite sailing between my kayak and a rubber raft, with two friends on the Lower Columbia River, in 2009. We flew one forty square foot sled kite on about 200 ft of line each, in a stiff breeze, making about 2 knots about 45 degrees off downwind, using our paddles as leeboards and rudders. It worked just as envisioned and was good fun. Flying real clouds someday is going to be a total gas.

Basic Kite Fleet and Cloud Sailing experiments are easy to set up. Even with just two boats, advantages emerge. Its easier and more reliable to launch a large pilot kite at sea long-lined, with one boat acting as the upwind anchor and the other acting as a launching platform. This avoids the awkwardness of launching and landing from one boat, with short-line harmonics causing strong kite instability. Buddy-boats can also pay-out out a kite arch between them, for similar operational advantage. The kite/boat count spectrum extends from a single kites, to multi-kite trains, kite arches flown from two boats, and finally fleets driven by a 3D kite cloud assembled from multiple crosslinked arches and trains.

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos                 26Nov2011     AWE4886        AYRS2493

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
All, send notes, drawings, and photographs!

Terms and aspects:   


Related links:


Commentary is welcome:

  • v