Sky Sails, Traction Kites, and World Record Holder

By Paul Gipe

Ron Swenson, an old hand at solar and electric vehicles reached out to me after I mentioned Sky Sails when I railed against a thoughtless article in the Guardian about a bladeless wind turbine. Turns out Swenson is also an old hand at competitive sailing too.

“If SkySails has such a glorious product, I wonder how come they still haven’t beat our world record? They’ve had 17 years as of December . . . but we still hold that record for a traction kite.” What he’s saying is that that record was from 2004 and it still stands.

Swenson points out that there have been larger kites since, but not at sea.

The same team that developed the record-holding kite also built a kite for the America’s cup but it was never used in competition.