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Land yacht rails

Travel the country by wind-power
  [vote for,

A nationwide network of wind-powered vessels, aerodynamically designed for minimal friction and drag. Land clippers will provide slow but environmentally-friendly transport for people and freight.

Sand yachts and other forms of land-yacht are common, and some can attain high speeds. However, to be used inland they require a flat surface, and ideally as little friction as possible against the ground. In order to sail into the wind, it is necessary for a vessel to tack, which is possible by using a sail held at an angle to the wind (the rails act similarly to the keel of a yacht).

A network of rail lines in equilateral triangles should allow you either to take the direct route if the wind is behind you, or to tack along the other two sides if the wind is against you. Sail-powered vehicles have occasionally been used on railway lines in the past, but building a network of this sort would extend their usefulness enormously.

(I think this is physically possible, but if not, please tell me -- you could always use trackside baffles to redirect the wind, but this would make the design much more expensive.)

pottedstu, Mar 31 2003

Sail Car http://www.halfbakery.com/idea/SailCar
[galukalock]'s idea is the closest thing I could find on the halfbakery. [pottedstu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The physics of sailing http://ffden-2.phys...h_palmer/basic.html
With semi-informative diagrams. [pottedstu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

The rudiments of wisdom: sails http://www.rudiment...com/pages/sails.htm
[pottedstu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

Land Yachting http://www.halfbake...dea/Land_20Yachting
Not the same thing at all. [phoenix, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

"Tracks" - 2002 http://www.cinema.c...etail.phtml?ID=7241
[Shz, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

A *Real* Land Yacht http://www.windjet.co.uk/land/vehicle.php
120 MPH! [roby, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]


       Instead of triangles, a single track between two cities could be laid in a sinus or zigzag pattern, so the distance is always the same, and the land yacht is always tacking, even with a tail wind. Any tack against the wind would be accomplished with momentum from the earlier tack.
FarmerJohn, Mar 31 2003

       Warning: Tunnel ahead.
Warning: Mountain ahead
Warning: Low bridge ahead
phoenix, Mar 31 2003

       So this is now a wind trolley, not a land yacht.
DrCurry, Mar 31 2003

       Having awarded this one its first bun, I'm now struck by the thought of who manages the points to allow yachters to switch tracks?
PeterSilly, Mar 31 2003

       Peter Madigan of course. <link>
Shz, Mar 31 2003

       Someone had my dad do this with one of his quadracycles. Modified frame width, special wheels, and a sail.
RayfordSteele, Mar 31 2003

       It's comforting to know that once all of our fuel-based technologies implode we'll still be able to get around.

See link for 120 MPH land yacht

I wouldn't bother with the rails and clipper vessels. You'd need huge sails, all those burly sailors, and then what do you do when the wind dies down? What do you when you're becalmed in Iowa with a smelly crew of land sailors?
roby, Mar 31 2003

       //What do you when you're becalmed in Iowa with a smelly crew of land sailors?// Presumably slightly more than you could do when you're becalmed in Iowa without a crew of land sailors.
PeterSilly, Apr 01 2003

       Well, to each his own, I suppose.

While you play pinochle with the sailors, I'll be on the lookout for pirates.
roby, Apr 01 2003

       The sail doesn't have to be attached to the yacht. You could build a track lined by windmills, pulling a steel line. Wind powered cable cars!
Madcat, Apr 01 2003

       Well, in that case, so that things keep moving when the wind dies down, attach electrical generators to the windmills, and send the current to augment power supply for the quaint wind-powered electric trolley line!
roby, Apr 01 2003


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