Old tech meets high tech in one-man sailing vessel

Edward Willett @ 12-06-2008

Project Green Jet proposed design

Although my primary diet as a young fiction-reader was science fiction (Asimov, Heinlein, Andre Norton) and fantasy (Tolkien, Lewis, Lloyd Alexander), there was one most assuredly non-SF or F series that captured my imagination almost as much: Arthur Ransome‘s series of 12 books about English kids “messing about in boats,” which began with Swallows and Amazons (still in print after eight decades, and soon to be both a musical and a motion picture !).

Which is why this (very long) article from Gizmag on sailing in general and something called the Green Jet Project in particular caught my eye (via :

Green Jet uses automated systems controlling non-conventional sails to offer a glimpse of the future of sail – faster, more efficient, less labour intensive with minimal environmental impact. The vision is a superyacht sailed by one man with a touchscreen.

Several screens of interesting information later:

Hydraulic motors will pull the sail to its 55 metre height (top of the rig is 62m) in around 30 to 40 seconds and each sail can rotate through 160 degrees on a pivot point to best catch the wind. Navigation is touch-screen and simple, though the system that sails the boat is far from that, not to mention monitoring an array of weather information systems.

Designer Erik Sifrer is currently seeking backers for the project, which he expects would require more than 70 million euro and three to six years to bring to fruition.

A vast sailing vessel (57 metres, in this case) under the command of just a single person? There’s only one possible response to that vision, if you’re an Arthur Ransome reader: as Nancy Blackett would surely say, “Jibbooms and bobstays!”

(Image: Mides Design)

[tags]sailing,transportation,boats,automation[/tags]

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3 Responses to “Old tech meets high tech in one-man sailing vessel”

  1. Tom Marcinko says:

    Somewhere, Patrick O’Brian is smiling.

  2. Paul Raven says:

    Patrick O’Brien probably smiles every time his family receive a royalty cheque, Tom – and that’s pretty frequently. 🙂

    I remember devouring Swallows and Amazons at around eight years old – much like Enid Blyton’s stuff, I’d probably be horrified by it if I went back now, but the innocence of youth meant that any book was a good book. Any port in a storm, you might say … 😉

  3. Edward Willett says:

    Enid Blyton (whom I’ve also read) was just a pale shadow of Swallows and Amazons. Arthur Ransome holds up very well to re-reading as an adult (I’ve revisited them several times). Which is why they’re still in print after 80 years and gaining new attention.