DanD wrote: Soupspoon wrote:
morriswalters wrote:A computer controls the kite and flies it in a rough figure eight. The attachment point is low enough so it doesn't cause the ship to heel, which is at least one problem with a mast of any type.
Whilst safely in flight (though even simple and uncomplicated flight needs some complexity of sense/control), that might work.
During deployment and retrieval (and retrieval after unforseen de-flighting) people will clearly need to supervise the process, at the bare minimum, to deal with all the various failure modes that can happen, like ropes trailing in the water, catching on superstructure, catching on another vessel
, tangling with another kite's lines (other vessel/same vessel), an 'antigust'/lull dropping the kite completely out of the sky, unseen damage to the kite body giving way, etc...
Just like Spirit and Opportunity needed human intervention?
I'm not saying it won't ever need maintenance or human intervention, but the "in transit" intervention can be kept well within the duties of the normal on-board maintenance crew. In case you missed it, there are fully automated pleasure sailing vessels that can be operated by a single human at the helm.
Yes, sailing pleasure vessels, not ships that need to get from one place to another as quickly as possible. Singlehanding sailboats isn't a new thing, but it's well-known to sacrifice a lot of speed.
I don't think the vagaries of the winds are something you can automate. Sailing is one thing where if you want full efficiency, you have to be constantly trimming and re-trimming sails, and take it from someone who races boats: The instruments are absolute ass at telling you what to do with the sails, and autopilots cannot come close to human drivers when it comes to going as fast as possible. Plus you'd be surprised at how often you have to MacGyver some shit together to keep the boat going. Sails are not things you can just turn on and turn off - dropping a spinnaker, for example, is absolutely fraught with peril in heavy winds. Automation in most areas of industry increases efficiency. Automation in sailing decreases it.
For what it's worth, we stopped using sails because wages for the crew of a sailing ship cost more than coal for a steamship. That doesn't necessarily apply any more; now we could automate most of the work.
We stopped using sails so that ships didn't have to travel hundreds of extra miles to get favorable winds, or sit in the middle of the ocean for days waiting for the wind to come up. Had little to do with wages vs. coal. In fact, ships weren't really much less manned than before, and coal costs more than sails. But predictability and reduced delivery times was well worth it.
A computer controls the kite and flies it in a rough figure eight. The attachment point is low enough so it doesn't cause the ship to heel, which is at least one problem with a mast of any type.
Actually, a certain amount of heel is usually desirable, although not as much when going downwind as you would with a kite.
But you don't have evidence beyond "it's new".
I would suggest that that's the main problem with your own argument. "It exists, therefore it can be automated" is what I see it boiling down to.