Downwind Faster Than the Wind – Video from Record Attempt

In the following video something simple happens. The problem is that it seems so counter-intuitive that most people will deny it is even possible.

So what happens? At the start of the video a car-like vehicle with a large propeller stands still, with a strong wind blowing from directly behind it. The operator of the vehicle releases some sort of brake, the propeller slowly starts to turn, and the car starts to move. The car gradually accelerates until it matches the speed of the wind. (As viewers we know this because we can see a wind vane on a pace car point idly, and hear the wind noise on the videographer’s microphone drop to nothing.) The the “impossible” happens. The car continues to accelerate strongly, until it is going quite obviously faster than wind itself. In fact, according to the instrumentation at the test run, the car went about triple the speed of the wind.

I don’t doubt what I’m seeing, there’s too much supporting evidence. I don’t know how it is possible though. At least not yet, but I do suspect some variation of the mechanism that allows catamarans and ice boats to exceed wind speeds, though they do it on what is termed by sailors as a “broad reach”, not a “run”.

Ride Like the Wind (only faster): Video from Richard Jenkins – World Land Speed Record Holder.

Comments are closed.