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A Kite Assisted Ship was a ship that used a kite as a sail. It was an advanced version of ancient sailing ships.
Sailing was one of the oldest technologies on the sea. Ancient Egyptian ships traded with other nations along the Nile, the Red Sea, and the Mediterranean. At the end of the Han dynasty, Chinese junk ships had their sails kept flat with bamboo poles. The Viking longboat was a very advanced ship in the late 1st millenium. Not only was it an advanced sailing ship, but it also had advanced navigation. The sunboard was an advanced version of the sundial used for navigation. The sunstone was used on cloudy days. Later ships would use a compass and a map. During the Industrial Revolution, steam power replaced the sail. Steam power, in turn, was replaced with diesel and nuclear power. Modern ships used radar, sonar, and GPS for navigation. However, in the 21st century, the sail would make a comeback on some ships, but it would be different from conventional ships.
Tech Level: 10
With the rise in oil prices, some shipping companies began to look to wind power and sails in the 21st century. But there was a problem. Conventional sails relied on surface winds which were notoriously unreliable. The Sky Sail was computer-controlled kite that operated between 100 and 300 meters above sea level. The winds at that altitude move much more steadily and had more energy. The kite looked like a big paraglider and was made of fabrics that were tear-resistant. It worked in wind speeds up to 40 knots. The kite was also as maneuverable as a conventional sail. The kite attached by tether to a mast that was reinforced. This cut fuel consumption by 20%. The first kite assisted ship, the MS Beluga SkySails, was launched in 2008. The sail did not completely replace other forms of power. It supplemented them.