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This would be appropriate for river boats or floating
restaurant/casinos etc that only went up and down river
mile or so.
It would float with the river going downstream, but to
upstream, it would deploy a metal underwater "sail" that
would be attached to a cable looped around a pulley,
other end of the cable being attached to the boat. The
water sail would have a larger surface area than the
resulting in it being pulled downstream while the boat
When the boat was upstream and ready to come back,
sail would be flipped parallel to the water so the boat
would now have the greater resistance of the two
the boat would come back to it's starting position.
My first idea was to have a zig/zag track along the river
bed that the boat would "tack" along to go upstream,
when upstream the boat would just turn directly into the
stream and zig zag back but I think the cable/sail would
a lot easier and cheaper.
You could also make this a straight funicular
arrangement with two boats cabled together around the
pulley and just open flaps on the downstream moving
boat or turn it perpendicular to the water's flow while
the upstream boat was parallel.
Be a nice way to go up and down a river with no noise,
pollution or fuel costs.
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||From 1840 to 1877, a chain-operated tug operated
on the Thames between Tower Bridge and
Blackfriars, with the winch (first horse-powered,
but later driven by a waterwheel in the Thames
itself) at the Blackfriars end. The chain was
made of wrought iron links, each about a yard
long. A barge was permanently attached to the
chain, and other boats could tie themselves to
the barge to be towed up-river, for a fee. It was
operated and controlled, for reasons that are
arcane and obscure, by the Guild of Lorimers.
||After it fell into disuse, the chain itself was left
on the bed of the Thames. It's still there, and is
occasionally snagged by dredgers or by dragging
anchors. A section of it was hauled up in 1973,
and was found to be in virtually pristine condition.
||Or you could just do it Bangkok style-ee where express boats zoom along the river in a zig-zag fashion, to each stopping point, hopefully avoiding each other, the bulk carriers and the really little ferry boats. The little boats have a totally inadequate number of lifebelts, each held into the overhead racks by twisted wire no one could possibly undo in an emergency.
||Each stop must be made at a fixed jetty, or a swinging one which never, ever quite matches the up and down movements of the boats, as the boats themselves shift laterally in a manner to give an instant diet to anyone who falls between the boat and jetty.