A return to the Age of Sail


If there’s a technology that actually gets my geek on, it’s sail. It’s non-polluting, it’s elegant, and it’s a proven technology, particularly for transport. So I’m rather excited about this news item related to a return to the use of wind with something called a SkySail, a sort of giant kite that tows a ship. For centuries, we used wind to power global trade, and then with access to cheap coal and oil, we just stopped doing it. Back to the future, it seems. Here’s a link from BBC, as well:


When I think about where we’re headed in terms of being energy constrained, I often think of us moving toward supercharged versions of historical technologies, the ones where we were still using a lot of muscle power and a lot of wind, and hadn’t gotten deep into coal and oil, yet. Now with things like computer-aided design and a better understanding of physics we can do things with wind power that we never could have done before. It’s enough to almost make someone feel optimistic.