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sailboats

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Sep. 18th, 2002 | 10:41 pm

I was wondering if anyone knew how fast the current state-of-the-art sailboats can go?

Most analyses that I have access to suggest that in the "near future" (within 5 to 20 years) we will start to experience chronic energy shortages. Electricity can be generated by renewable means, but aircraft are rather dependent on oil, so I predict that the current age of global air travel will decline. So visiting other continents will eventually return to sail.

So that leads me to wonder how fast such journeys could if we designed a sailing vessel using current technology.

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Freya

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from: moonglade
date: Sep. 19th, 2002 03:38 am (UTC)
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My brother once told me there was a victorian boat that used to win competitions for it's speed but it was eventually banned for being too fast and erm, difficult to steer. I think he might have said it was a kind of hydroplane but I don't remember. Some kind of special hull design anyway. The victorians had some preety amazing things. I think it was steam powered tho.

I'm not sure any long haul boats would be wind powered, they could use solar panels to supplement the wind power after all? I think boats would use a combination of technology, some cargo boats for long hauls might be unmanned perhaps but then you risk piracy a lot more.

Apparently the trip from Europe to Asia might be a lot faster due to the formation of a new ocean. The US navy are quite worried about this as the ocean was already navigable by regular vessls for 10 days last year apparently and it's only likely to get worse. Presently they don't have any resources allocated to police it.

Oh yes and both Canada and Alaska or something are laying claim to it, so that should be fun.

A shame my brother doesn't do e-mail much because he is really into all this kind of stuff! :)

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Sep. 20th, 2002 12:02 am (UTC)
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Solar is a pretty expensive way to generate electricity, and then the losses of conversion to mechanical energy decrease your efficiency even further.

I remember seeing a reference that claimed that england received shipments of grain from australia via sailing ship.

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the Edward

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from: thedward
date: Sep. 19th, 2002 02:29 pm (UTC)
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Well someone is working on a battery powered airplane. That'd be cool. I'm not sure about sail boat speeds, but I'm pretty sure even the top speeds are well under 100mph.

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Sep. 20th, 2002 12:05 am (UTC)
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If they can pull off the fuel cell thing they probably could build a plane capable of flying some reasonable distance. Unfortunatly generating the hydrogen to fuel the plane will still be expensive.

It's likely that we can still even have things like fighter jets in a world without oil, it's just that the alternatives are more expensive and so fewer people will have access to them.

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the Edward

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from: thedward
date: Sep. 20th, 2002 07:49 am (UTC)
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Well another alternative would be making more diesel powered airplanes. Diesel engines can run off of vegetable oil. Perhaps there will be a market for hybrid diesel/electric cars too. Generate the electricity with the diesel engine which is powered by vegetable oil. I wonder if we could produce enough vegetable oil yearly to make this feasible?

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Diane Trout

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from: alienghic
date: Sep. 24th, 2002 01:29 am (UTC)
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I tried looking for some of the statistics but the best I could come up with was the quote about the veggie van getting 1300 miles per acre. I think this report says that we drive about 2.7 * 10^12 miles/year (assuming I'm reading it right.). this usda report suggests that our peak farm land usage was 351 million acres. Doing the math suggests that we'd need 6 times our current farm output to provide enough biodiesel to allow people to drive as much as we do now.

Though I'm really uncertain about the 1300 miles/acre number.

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