I am crafting a hybrid power/sailing airship that needs an exterior scene similar to swashbuckling on the main decks among the sails. Putting a mast on an airship with a big round envelope just isn’t making the visuals I need, so I imagined catamaran airship as opposed to a single envelope airship. This leaves a deck space between and beneath the pontoons with rigging, masts, and spars for my scene, all at dizzying heights. I have been considering that catamaran airships offer better stability and increased weight carrying capacity as a plus, but I am not how large (or small) the pontoons need to be to make usable masts and sails down the centerline. I assume each pontoon should be ½ the size of the equivalent standard airship envelope. This gives a lower and wider profile to the wind as well, for better or worse I don’t know. The goal is to have a good working main deck for a dozen or so pirates to parlay.
Note, this is obviously not earth. The lifting gas will be nitrogen, the air pressure is about 1,500 kPa. The climate has a constant West-to-East wind that the ship leverages for half of its journey. People/pirates work outside in environmental suits.
This is a luxury liner for 250 passengers with all the basic amenities you may find on a 19th century steamer. Assume material weight requirements are about 1.5x of that required to build an equivalent zeppelin airliner. The ship lowers its boom or possibly even the whole mast when traveling under power to reduce drag. If you’re curious, [sailboats can use a drogue in place of a rudder] in emergencies. An airship drogue would be steerable itself when the ship is at a wind shear boundary and would serve as a rudder.
A bad idea, but would it work?
It’s OK if this design is ultimately a bad idea, humans have built many bad ideas. This ship is unique in my universe but plays a crucial role in the story. Right or wrong, certain people are zealots for the unique design and swear by it. Bottom line; for better of worse they built it, and here we are. It just needs to fly.