Traditional sailing vessels use their keel to counteract the force of the wind. This allows them to move in any direction except directly into the wind.

Imagine a world where there is a material that becomes extremely buoyant when heated. How could a lighter-than-air sailing vessel built around this material steer?

  • $\begingroup$ If it is, then you should be able to "agree" with duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Nov 7 '17 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ @Mołot sorry I am new to this site. How do I go about doing that? $\endgroup$ – Yet another user Nov 7 '17 at 16:29
  • $\begingroup$ Too late now as it already is marked as duplicate. But between 1st and 5th vote there should be a button just for that on the yellow bar above the question. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Nov 7 '17 at 16:30
  • $\begingroup$ Not a duplicate because of the hypothetical material which becomes extremely buoyant when heated. The airship could have vertical wings which provide "forward lift" when the airship ascends. Heat the exotic material, the ship zips upwards and the wings propel it forward. At some point, turn of the heat source, rotate the wings and glide. Technically, that's not sailing, but powered flight. $\endgroup$ – Klaws Oct 24 '18 at 12:41

You cannot, at least not without some kind of anchorage.

Fliers fly in a reference medium (air) and they are displaced with it.

Even modern planes have very different flight times when flying Europe to USA or vice versa, due to prevailing winds at cruise altitude.

Without engines an airship will soon (after inertia has been overcome) travel with the wind and cannot use it for anything, regardless of shape and possible "sails".

Not only you cannot "sail into the wind", but You can't even deflect a few degrees from wind direction.

Current fliers go where they please because engines move them with respect of surrounding air.

To use the force of the wind you need some kind of anchor to ground and some form of "rail" performing essentially the same function of a ship's keel.

Think of a kite: it flies while you provide traction on the rope; if you let it go it will fall like a dead leaf.

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There is no way to construct this HOWEVER

you could perhaps construct your world to support this

You could envision a world with 2 different layers of air

1 layer would be denser while the upper layer is thinner and prone to jet streams. You could create a large bottom sail similar to a dagger board that would offer enough resistance to allow the top sail to be pushed against the wind.

While I say this might be possible I have no idea how to math this one out.

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