windships


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Modular sailing rigs for larger vessels
(extracts from the text of GB Patent No. 2381515: "Engine powered vessel with removable sail modules"


To see an animated movie of this concept, please click here

folding rig module

transition sail modules

A proposal is made for a new form of modular sailing rig that can be fitted one or severally to ships with relatively clear deck spaces, for example bulk carriers and tankers. The aim is to provide wind assistance in order to reduce fuel consumption rather than to eliminate the need for engine power completely. The benefits of this approach would be both economic and environmental by reducing non-renewable fuel use and pollution.

pod closed

pod open

The rig is distinguished by being capable of being raised when required and folded back to deck level when not in use, and in being removable from the ship when not required or for land-based servicing. Several rig modules may be attached to the same ship to provide the requisite sail area. This provides redundancy, so that if one rig fails the remaining rigs can still be used. In potentially dangerous situations such as storms or equipment malfunction, the rigs can be folded to deck level to reduce windage.
model of Transition Sail Module The modular rig approach could be developed, provided, and serviced by companies other than the ship owners and operators. This would reduce the financial burden on ship owners and operators to a level that might encourage earlier uptake of wind assistance than if they were left to develop wind ships at their own expense. It is proposed that some existing ships would lend themselves to the fitting of modular rigs of the kind described here, with the need for only limited modifications to be made rather than the need to build new, highly-specialised sailing ships.
loading modules in port
ship leaving port
rigs being raised
wind assistance, engines throttled back

Each rig is contained in a module that can be lifted by crane onto the deck of a suitably-modified ship and fixed in place when required for a particular voyage.

The module doors open temporarily to allow the mast and sail to extend upwards and close again around the base of the extended rig. When the ship enters port, or during severe storms when sails might pose a safety risk, each mast and sail can be folded down and the module doors closed to minimise obstruction and wind resistance. When not required, the module can be disconnected and removed in port, becoming available for servicing and use on other ships.


Article:

"A proposal: modular sailing rigs to provide wind assistance for larger vessels", by Richard Dryden, in:
The Naval Architect, September 2004, pp 112-114


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