Kite Sails for Boats
By Steve Gillman
Like the other money making ideas in this section, the concept
of kite sails for boats is now really new. In fact a spinnaker
sail is sometimes referred to as a "kite." Ideas are
rarely as new or original as people think they are when they
conceive of them. It seems likely that almost every idea for
simple inventions is thought of independently by hundreds of
people before someone finally makes it into something more than
a thought or a few drawings.
My own idea for kite sails for boats came from playing with
kites many years ago. I was sometimes surprised by how strongly
the string was pulled as I held onto it. In imagined having one
of my larger kites (I made several of them) pull me down the
road on my bicycle. Then, when I was in the row boat being blown
along by the wind one day, I realized that I could really make
time--even without rowing--if I had a large kite flying out front.
I would still have some ability to steer; perhaps as much as
30 degrees to either side of the wind.
What are the advantages of a kite versus traditional sails?
To start with, a spinnaker sail is attached to the boat more
directly, limiting its use somewhat. It requires a mast, and
it can't help out much when it is calm down low but windier up
higher. So even a sail boat might keep a large kite on board
for emergencies involving a broken mast or calm weather.
But the real market for kite sails would be for people with
boats which currently don't have sails. When a motorboat engine
dies far from shore it would be nice to have a means of propulsion
other than a wooden paddle. For adventurers it would be great
to have a kite sail to pull a canoe or kayak for hundreds of
miles along a great lake or an ocean coast.
I have experience with delta-wing kites, and these would work.
But I suspect that the best design would be one that required
no supports. Something like a para-sail that could be flown fairly
low--to catch the wind more directly--or higher when necessary
to catch breezes on calm days. Even a small one that could be
rolled up and fit into a bread bag would pull a canoe at a good
clip. A larger one would get a big motor boat to shore in time.
How Much Can You Make?
This question remains largely unanswered, as it does in all
of these "money ideas" pages, because there isn't much
to base any guesses on when an idea is mostly untried. But we
still try to include a few "money notes" here.
There is little to go wrong with such a simple design, and
it wouldn't be carrying a person like a traditional para-sail,
so there would be few liability issues. It also would be relatively
easy to manufacture. A small one could be sold profitably for
So one more person has thought of this idea. And someone may
even be selling these somewhere (but not as far as I know). Now
someone has to start making them and making money with them.