Wind powered ships

Wind powered ships


It is estimated that the skysail pictured here can reduce the fuel use by 10-35% per ship  or about $1600 per day.

The surface area of the kite determines the power that can be replaced: a kite area of 160 m2 equals 600 kW under standard conditions, where a kite area of 5,000 m2 represents 19,200 kW. The minimum ship length to apply kites is 30 metres. Tankers and bulk carriers are most suitable for kites, because their average speed is not higher than 16 knots.

Direction of wind

Some sails are a parafoil shape, other look more like loosely tethered spinnakers.

From speed sailing records to remote logging and stone-moving - from elevated yacht-racing sails to practical Mars exploration - ifmulti-megawatt tractive power from virtual skyhooks can solve your problem, KiteShip is there to help.

Polynesian Drua

Island governments are spending an average of more than 20 per cent of their GDP on fuel imports.

It’s often remembered that the Pacific nations were initially populated by intrepid ocean voyagers, but rarely are the extent of their skills recognised.

Take, for instance, these craft – known in Fiji as “Drua” or “Vaqa”, but which had similar versions from other nations. Their performance was so outstanding that voyagers from Captain Cook through to the end of the 19th century marveled at what they conceded  were the “fastest sailing boat” in existence.

Not only were they capable of sailing nearer the wind than any European vessel, and could also carry large numbers of people and freight – doing 15-20 knots with up to 300 hundred people on board. They were about the same length as Cook’s Endeavour, could carry more people and loads, and were three times faster. They were, said Alden, “a product of barbarian genius”.

Crowd funding and leading architect. Google GreenHeart for crowd funding link. The Greenheart design tema has been overseen by Professor Takeshi Kinoshita of Tokoyo and, Peter Schenzle, Hamburg Institute for Experimental Shipbuilding (HSVA)

He has begun discussions with the designers and promoters of a vessel such as the Tokyo-based Greenheart organisation, which has developed a 220 tonne prototype freighter with virtually unlimited range based around sails, but with solar PV for battery boosting and auxiliary power. Its shallow draft makes it suitable for beach landings, and its mast doubles as a crane.

Sailing for Sustainability and FIVS have teamed up with WWF and IUCN to seek funding for a project that could see these ships trialled in Fiji. Such a vessel could operate the “milk run” between the capital Suva and three transport modes in the Lau and Kadavu groups of islands. This could be augmented by three or four 10-tonne catamarans that draw on the Drua designs that could operate as village trading vessels


Greenheart project

It is a simple idea, centered around a sailing cargo ship. Not the traditional, square-rigged tall ship of the nineteenth century, but a completely modern, efficient, cooperative trading vessel, powered by the sun and the wind alone. The first specially-designed ship, named the Sailing Vessel (S/V) Greenheart, will serve many functions. It will be a transport vessel, the international headquarters for the enterprise, and a training vessel for young people from around the world. The unique ship will also serve as a promotional platform, to publicize international cooperation, clean energy, Fair Trade and sustainable industry.

The mast acts as a crane and can be lowered for passing under bridges.

Maltese Falcon

The world's largest sailing vessel.

The Maltese Falcon’s DynaRig system can be sailed by one man from a computerised control console on the bridge that moves the yards and sails according to the wind and current.

Maximum speed under sail is 25 knots. Under power 15-19 knots.

 It is available for charter for only € 400,000 per week.

"A privileged few will be fortunate enough to experience the Maltese Falcon under sail. The 88 meter clipper Maltese Falcon is the largest sailing yacht in the world and in a breeze her immense DynaRig powers her to record shattering speeds.

Falcon’s interior is luxurious with a rich contemporary décor. Falcon is the ideal choice for large scale entertaining while meandering between smart anchorages, or for that once in a lifetime blue water ocean passage. Atlantic crossings in ten days are on offer from this extraordinary yacht. A masterpiece of technology and design, the Maltese Falcon is without equal."



Dyna​Rig sails

The DynaRig is effectively a square rig, the mast is freestanding and the yards are connected rigidly to the mast, in this case each mast supports six yards. The yards, unlike a conventional square rigger, have built in camber of 12%. The sails set between the yards in such a way that when deployed there are no gaps to the sail plan enabling each spar's sail plan to work as a single sail. The sails, when not deployed, furl into the mast. Each sail runs along tracks top and bottom set in the spars. The sail is trimmed to the wind direction by rotating the mast. As there is no rigging the yards have no restriction on rotation and this taken together with the curved (shaped) yards, low windage and effective single piece sail combine to give the rig improved aerodynamic efficiency compared to a traditional square rigger.

More detail




Sailing Yacht SOLAR project

Only a few details are available about this impressive superyacht project at present, revealed by Nuvolari Lenard on their Facebook Page. The impressive Oceanco built vessel will feature a steel hull and was designed with a beam of 15 metres in addition to the already mentioned 106 metres in length. Oceanco SOLAR superyacht project will be within the 3,000 gross-tons regulations. Source


The old clippers and windjammers could cruise at 15 knots with cargo and reach speeds of 20-21 Knots.

Wave power

The Suntory Mermaid is designed to have the under-hull flippers powered by the waves. More...

Further read​ing


Other pages on ship power:

Oil power  -

Wind power

Solar Power

Fuel Cell  


sail maltese falcon.JPG48.41 KB