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This would be a giant balloon that is housed in the mast of a
yacht, below deck there would be several tanks of helium,
when the yacht capsizes the same motor/rope that is used
pull the mainsail up can be swiched so it pulls the baloon up
to the top of the mast, once there it can be inflated
desired size, this should right the boat and then make it
lighter for the crew to right once it is parralell to the water
line. For people trapped inside the boat it will make escape
easier and for people on the outside there would be a tap
the outside of the hull/keel/stern to turn on the helium
start pumping up the baloon.
This is an interesting expansion of the principle behind a "paddle float", an inflatable bag that one sticks over one's paddle as a makeshift "third leg" when stabilizing a capsized kayak. [jutta, Sep 06 2002]
||Once righted the baloon floats off by itself carrying with
it some sort of gps thingy that maps its progress once it
has left the yacht, the information can be picked up by a
signal and the course of the balloon can then be used to
find the possible location of the distressed yacht.
||Would be kinda handy in righting dad's catamaran. When sailing without someone beefier than I to right the thing, it gets a little tricky sometimes.
||Not so much a prevention balloon as a 'make it better after'...
||Yachts have keels that weigh tons, in some cases. I don't know how much use this would be...