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The Sky Sailing Yacht
Thursday 20 May 2021
5.00 - 6.30 UK Time
On-line event
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Stephane Rousson works in a mode of transport that demonstrates a new principle of aero-maritime navigation. The Aerosail is the unique combination of a dirigible balloon and a sailboat. This uses the wind as the only means of propulsion, while remaining a few tens of metres above the waves.

Stephane and his team have been developing the navigation system for over ten years based on techniques pioneered in the 1970s by the engineer Didier Costes. A sail (using a dirigible balloon) connected to a stabilised keel on 3 axes (Seaglider) allows the balloon to sail “like a sailboat of the skies”. The Seaglider is the equivalent of the "drift" of the sailboat, the cable connecting the Seaglider balloon serves as a mast and the balloon acts as both the sail and the hull of the ship. The latter being out of the water eliminates drag enabling relatively high speeds - more than two or three times the wind speed. The derivatives of this application are already known in the world of kite surfing and sailing.

In his talk Stephane will look at the history of this technology and the specifics and operation of his own Aerosail. He will discuss potential applications of the craft and the inevitable arguments with the authorities over its use.