Historic Midcoast

Jun 29, 2014
Photo by: Penobscot Marine Museum/Coffin Collection

You can sail straight into the wind with two sets of blades. A windmill or turbine is hooked to a propeller in the water. The turbine spins; gears turn the propeller. Maine schooner captain and boatbuilder Capt. Havilah Hawkins Sr. decided to experiment. Starting with one that could be fitted to a lifeboat like this one, his final boat was funded by a federal research grant. It was a 20-foot launch with 28-foot windmill blades that beat a 27-foot boat to windward in a breeze. Today researchers are again looking at this concept.

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