Zeppy 3 - Across the Med by Wind Powered Airship
Preparations are underway for a 150 mile journey from southern France to Corsica in a sail balloon. High flyer Stéphane Rousson is planning to pilot Zeppy 3 across a stretch of Mediterranean waters using only the power of the wind and a curved carbon foil based on the chien de mer by Didier Costes.
The 65.6 feet long and 16.4 feet wide Zeppy 3 recently on display at Le Bourget in Paris is filled with 200 cubic meters of helium. An adjustable cable (from just over 65 feet in length to 164 feet) will run from the pilot’s cradle to the curved carbon foil skimming the surface of the water. The airship itself will then act like a huge sail, stabilized in the water by the chien de mer so that it can fly head to wind, traveling at up to twice the wind speed.~Gizmag
I first heard about the idea of a sailing airship in Bernard Smith’s Sailloons and Fliptackers. Like every sailboat, the sailing blimp operates by exploiting two moving fluids in shear, though it turns the sailing paradigm upside down: the weight of the cargo is born by a lighter-than-air “hull”, and the only element remaining in the water is the keel, or in this case, a tethered hydrofoil called a “chien de mer” (dog of the sea). It’s a wonderfully ‘Jules Verne’ kind of idea, and it has incredible potential. Thanks to Soothtapu for the heads up.
Note: This story is from 2010 and I haven’t heard anything since. Anyone hear anything more recent?