Submitted to Yachting World magazine by the author:

"I was fascinated by your special feature, 'Greed for Speed', in the May, 2002 edition of Yachting World, but I was left with a nagging question in my mind - if a land-yacht can hit 100-knots+, why can't a water-yacht? What's the difference? Well, 'wheels'. This got me thinking: if maintaining the vessel/water contact via a hydrofoil or a fixed-float/'skid' has hit its natural limit, what about fitting a wheel or two instead?

To take this further I came up with the following design concept: picture a body very much like a glider; attach a mast; replace the tail-section with a buoyant wheel; and adjust the weight distribution such that, at speed, the tail is subject to a moderate, downward force - say, the equivalent of a 20 to 30-kg mass - in order to keep it in constant contact with the water. At speed, only the tail will 'drag' in the water and this single point of contact will rotate instead of being fixed. You can see a picture of this concept (and get a bit more detail) at [link to this page].

The idea can be optimized to provide an asymmetric platform by lengthening the leeward wing (and/or shortening the windward wing) in order to provide more lift on the leeward side of the vessel. To steer it, any/all of the following could be used: an aileron-type rudder on the nose (i.e. works by the action of air, not water); a pivoting rear wheel; a mast-canting system (c.f. Unlimited Speedsailer).

Has anyone tried this concept already? Wouldn't Yellow Pages be faster if it replaced its fixed-floats with rotating ones?"

Here's a picture of what I was endeavoring to describe (not to scale), followed by a little more design concept detail...

Vessel in motion

Further Ideas On This Theme...

A more 'mainstream' application of the water-bourne wheel would be a dinghy whose body resembles a giant in-line skate (rollerblade) stabilized by a pair of small outrigger wheel-floats. People will only laugh at you until you burn past them at 65-knots, after all.