He built up a sponsorship proposal, and had a team of very well qualified and experienced people behind him, with a trimaran hull designed by the late Rod MacAlpine-Downie, but he did not get any money to build it.
Anyway, after his attempts at finding sponsorship for this, he found that it was a better idea to write to the suppliers of materials and offer them free publicity in return for free supplies. So, in 1986, he teamed up with Neil Bose from Glasgow University and put a 3-bladed turbine on his Iroquois catamaran.
AYRS 102 (1986) p.23
This boat is now owned by AYRS ex-Chairman Fred Ball, but it no longer has a wind turbine on it. Unfortunately, this is another boat whose photo does not scan very well.
After this, Rob Denney intended to make an attempt at the Sailing Speed record, and did all the calculations and designs, but then had to give up for lack of sponsorship.
Then, around 1984, there was Jim Wilkinson, who also teamed up with Neil Bose to put an 24' diameter wind turbine on his 26' Sirrocco catamaran, REVELATION. They did a lot of tests on this boat - measuring the boat speed in all different wind speeds and directions. It seems to do about the same speed in any wind direction. This was an ideal cruising boat, requiring very little work from the crew, but it did not go very fast - going fast was not really the point - it was meant to be a low-effort fun boat.
By the time I went for a ride on this boat in 1989, he had changed it to three blades, and it did about 6 knots. It had also had a safety guard fitted below the blade path to protect the heads of the passengers - although the blades could not actually have hit the passengers, they imagined that they would get hit, and I think the guard rail was more for their psychological reassurance than for their actual safety. It is a lovely boat, all full of push-button controls and labour-saving devices.
Glasgow University (1983)
He used a 16' diameter 2-bladed rotor fitted to a helicopter tail rotor hub on a 18' Blackwater sloop named FALCON. He tried a variety of different blades - twisted, straight, cambered, at different pitch angles, and tried them both as autogiros and driving propellers. The boat sailed at all directions to the wind, including directly upwind. It did not go very fast, but then that was not the idea - it was meant for fuel saving on commercial shipping. It did about 5 kn in a 15 kn wind. He also found gyroscopic force coupling effects - e.g. if a boat travelling upwind yawed to port, this made the bow pitch downwards.
Neil Bose is now the Professor of Ocean Engineering at the Memorial University of Newfoundland, and can be contacted on email@example.com
Falcon is now in the Scottish Maritime Museum in Irvine.
WindTech 1985, p.340
Next we have one of our Australian members, Josef Dusek - in 1984 he patented a device which looks like a helicopter rotor, where the blades flap up half way round, with the energy created by the flapping being used to work a pump. I don't think that he was intending to drive a boat with it.
AYRS 102 (1986) p.21
This chap also took up some of Hugh Barkla's ideas more recently, as you can see from the article in AYRS 112 in 1993.
I have only found one publication other than AYRS which published details of wind turbine boat research on anything like a regular basis, and that is the American Symposia on the Aero/Hydronautics of Sailing, also known as The Ancient Interface. There have been a number of papers published over the years on theory and model tests on wind turbine boats, which generally seem to be aimed at travelling directly upwind. Our own member Hugh Barkla has published a lot of theory there, also A.B. Bauer and Brad Blackford are frequent contributors.
All the ones that I have seen are seriously underpowered - but what can you do ? To a certain extent, you can increase the length of the axis or increase the tilt, or both but only by quite limited amount. You can scale the whole thing up - but then you still end up with a seriously underpowered boat, which would have to be enormous to get any speed. I believe that the obvious thing to do is to go to a conical turbine. As for going in directions other than upwind - if you run it as an autogiro without a propeller, the whole lot can be made to swivel round.
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