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Sailing Zeppelin

Like the name says. Zepplin. Sails.
  (+8, -2)
(+8, -2)
  [vote for,

Build a zepplin, and instead of motors, mount a set of sails. A square rig would be traditional looking, but a marconi rig would allow for greater manuverability. To counteract the torque provided by the sails, either mount an identical set on the top and bottom of the zepplin, or build a keel underneath like sailboats have. In fact, the "keel" could be the cockpit and passenger cabin. The result is an airship that is both smooth and silent. Plus, it looks neat.

Furthermore, it is a massive anachronism. Just think how envious other airship operators will be when they see that you have not only chosen an archaic mode of transportation, but of propulsion as well.

Madcat, Aug 03 2003

sailing balloons, 17-1800's http://www.worldwid...nautics/chap28.html
first three paragraphs [FarmerJohn, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

Sailing Glider? http://www.sciencei...rn/stephenbourn.htm
Like the sea keel conception of this idea (see annos), but using wings. Scroll down for pictures. [Worldgineer, Oct 04 2004, last modified Dec 08 2004]

Cargo ship kite sailing http://www.skysails.info/index.php?L=1
All they're missing is a hydrogen balloon to keep it in the sky. [Worldgineer, Sep 12 2007]


       Oh yeah! Those commie bastards won't know what hit them...
DeathNinja, Aug 03 2003

       Wouldn't that effectively turn a Zepplin or ridgid airship into an overly expensive helium balloon? After all, pretty much the whole thing already is a sail. At least, it's effected by wind forces a great deal, so adding a few dozen extra yards of sail, no matter how well designed wouldn't really effect anything other then the price significantly.
Payback, Aug 03 2003

       More sail = more speed.
snarfyguy, Aug 03 2003

       Every which way the wind blows. And only that way.
RayfordSteele, Aug 03 2003

       sp. Zeppelin (Count Ferdinand von, 1838-1917)
FarmerJohn, Aug 04 2003

       sp. Zeppelin (Led, 1968-1980, '88*)
thumbwax, Aug 04 2003

       The keel on a sailboat works because it allows the boat to play the light but fast winds off against the more stationary and viscous waters beneath. This enables the boat to do strange things like tack into the wind.   

       The sailing zeppelin [admin: spelling corrected in title], not having this viscous base, would need its own methods to use the wind (or have a *very* big keel). I like the idea, though.
st3f, Aug 04 2003

       Vote in favor for the sheer visual impact of the idea. As for the keel: we're using huge amounts of rope already, right? Why not run more rope all the way to the ocean and use a huge sea anchor? Then you have the "more stationary and viscous" you need to tack against.
gardnertoo, Aug 23 2003

       You could stick a plank out of the side door to keep the passengers in line. The guy with the peg leg and the hook would have to be careful around the fuselage. POOOF! HISSSSSSSSSSS!
LabRat, Aug 24 2003

       How would a large wind keel work? This would just act as an extra sail and reduce the ability of the ship to sail to windward. I can imagine a large keel acting to stabilise the ship's orientation, but sails could only ever push the ship at a slight angle away from drifting leeward. Also, remember that the whole ship will eventually end up drifting with the wind just as an unpowered boat will drift with the tide, so you end up with zero knots of wind 'across the deck', to use sailing terminology, which means your sails are useless.   

       I like the idea of a tethered keel though, so much I sat down and drew a little concept sketch. The contrasting imagery of modern aerospace engineering (the hull) and the traditional sailing ship look (square rig), combined with the tethers to the water, really caught my imagination. Looks like something out of a fantasy story.   

       I think though, more practical would be a land-based keel. I am picturing a wheeled cart being used as the tethered 'keel' or anchor. This would be ideal as long as it was stable enough to prevent the airship pulling it over, and heavy enough to prevent the airship dragging it sideways (but not so heavy it would slow the ship down too much). Since there would be no leeward drift at all, such a ship should be able to sail to windward. The huge windage of the hull would make it rather inefficient compared to sailing boats, but it should work. This arrangement could then 'sail' over deserts or other suitable terrain (I was actually imagining a probe for exploring Mars).   

       Any way of putting images up on this site? I want to do a more detailed concept image...
badmonkey, Jan 05 2004

       Any large volume of metal worked into a keel should be of only one alloy, of course....lead.
normzone, Jan 05 2004

       Yes, if you need to go anywhere other that dead down wind you need to be in two mediums, the air and the water for instance.   

       Or you could be in two layers of air.   

       The zeppelin could be floating at normal zeppelin altitude (say, less than 20,000 ft) while the 'sails' could be in the form of kites flying much, much higher in the jet streams. You could sail in the direction of the low level wind, the direction of the jet steam or at some intermediate angle, I think.
KiwiJohn, Jan 06 2004

       //Looks like something out of a fantasy story.\\   

       Yeah, I really want to build one of these.
Madcat, Jan 06 2004

       a simple improvement would be a sail equipped air ship, cable teathered to a bearing that travels along a single rail. Fast, smooth, safe, silent, and since the rail is only single(small monorail) relitivly cheap to lay.Although this would limit the destination options, i would prefere it to sitting behind the wheel on the highway....
x2, Mar 30 2004

       I'm picturing a car with an extravagant propulsion system. Car connected by rope to balloon, with a sail beneath (why not use the sail itself for ballast?), all electronically controlled. Driver must take care to avoid bridges. Or power lines. Or stoplights. Or sky pirates.   

       [badmonkey], if you're still around e-mail me your picture and I'll post it for you. I really want to see a drawing of this.
Worldgineer, Mar 30 2004

       i could be wrong here but surely you could replicate the keel effect using sets of sails more in the style of small triangular sailed yachts than square riggers
engineer1, Mar 31 2004

       I say take the linked boat-kite, add helium, replace the thin metal pole with a rope, and you have a perfect new sailing vessel. The weight of the pole can be removed, and your sail can be raised higher for potentially stronger winds.
Worldgineer, Jul 13 2004

       Theres no need for a keel, or some boat-chain thing. Have two sails, mounted on the bottom of the ship, one in the front, one near the back. Need to tack? Angle one sail, till the ship turns, then angle both of them, the wind will glance off the sail and push you in whatever direction. As long as: The sails are in total bigger then the surface area of the ship at any given moment (taking into acount the angle of sails and wind). With a big enough sail, at a small enough angle, you may even be able to tack into the wind. Definitly cool +
swimr, Jul 13 2004

       I love it, it'd be like riding a big kite.
jaksplat, Dec 14 2004

       Hmmmm, definitely an idea I've been thinking about for a while. As far as I know xeppelins are more fuel efficient than aeroplanes to begin with so I could see them getting more important as fuel becomes more scarce. Sails, if they could be implemented would make them an even more attractive option.   

       Downwind is easy, in fact any lighter than aircraft can, and does, do it without sails. Any point higher than a dead run and you either need a tow or an engine.   

       Some kind of drogue in the sea isn't a bad idea, boats use them to run before the wind in a storm. However apart from being a little hazardous (imagine wrapping yourself around the bridge of a cargo ship during the night) it would make you the highest earthed object for thousands of miles, Ie if theres a lightning storm you're f****d. Heres another idea. If an airship is heading directly into a 6 kt wind at 9 kts through the air it will move over the ground at 3 kts right? It looses the 6 kts of wind as leeway. So an engine on a conventional airship must divide its force between propelling the vessel and negating the leeway.   

       Enter sails, if you have two motors mounted sideways to act as a 'keel' and negate the leeway you are free to sail. Its not completely fuel free and un powered but its still more efficient than standard engines. THe only problem is that you can only come to within 45 degrees or so of the wind before you have to start making a zig zag course to get to where you want. In such a case standard engines are probably more efficient.
theicychameleon, Sep 11 2006

       Um, no.   

       A lighter-than-air craft that has no engine or tie to the ground is always going to find itself in still air, relatively speaking. It will blow or drift free with the moving air, and no amount of any kind of sails is going to do any good. There is no relative wind for them to use.   

       However, as suggested above, air moves in different directions and speeds at different altitudes. Kites and lines to different layers of wind, or as keels to the ocean, or to rollers on the ground, might be useful.   

       An airship can possibly gain energy by bobbing in and out of wind layers, but hot air balloons already ascend and descend to find winds blowing the direction needed.   

       By the way, some fellow once built an airplane/glider with sails. It didn't work.
baconbrain, Sep 11 2006


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