OK, Mike... and everybody else who may have an opinion on this.
Located in the Files section is a folder titled End Plate Sail
where I have put a collection of renderings of a concept device for
preventing turtling, principally for multihulls. The idea here is
pretty straight forward.
I'd been seeing a bunch of folks talking about adding foam
panels up high on the sail to assist the sealed mast when capsized. It
occurred to me that you could go all the way with this idea and just
make the foam a specific shape to take advantage of an end plate effect
at the head of the sail. If it were slotted to fit the sail chord up
high on the head, it would help to contain the airflow that gets lost
up there and contribute additional drive to the sail. I was going for
the same, wingtip thing that you see on most modern airliners to
enhance wing lift.
A matching form would be fit to the mast head as well so that
the flow would be smooth and not abrupt. This piece, too, could be made
to provide buoyancy at the far end of the mast righting lever if tipped
over. The two pieces would not be attached, so the sail can be hoisted
and/or reefed like normal and the endplate float would move with the
I haven't done any aerodynamic calcs, so I don't know if the
design would make more drag than it could save. It will, hopefully,
provide two tasks at once and might be worth it. I know for sure that
other floaty stuff up on the mast like Hobie Bob's are not making any
additional power for their drag, so it might be a cool idea, especially
for cruising boats that don't have big worries about total performance
like a racer would. They cold pick-up some lost power from their sails
and gain some peace of mind at the same time.
If anyone is an aeronautical engineer and can contribute to the
design of the product, I'd be interested in hearing from you. There's
bunch of prior art established and I have dropped the dime on the USPTO
for the provisional patent thing, so I'd like to see where this could
go... if anywhere.
So, have at it. Would it work?