PROJECT WINDVINDER PART 2:



Since years underway on the Pacific Ocean, Windvinder shows that more is possible with wind than most people think. He invites his finders – the Windfinders – to climb on board and improve the construction. A growing family of Windfinders is spreading across the ocean since then - and these are the important Windfinders: built on the islands, from local ideas and local material.




Now – after seven years of development - we join the islanders with windship-people from the other end of the scale. And go on building, now together… The expedition On the Track of the Windvinder is a traveling wind-workshop at sea, bringing artists, future wind engineers and naval architects from “western” industrial nations together with people of remote Pacific islands. A voyage of discovery to the other end of the world for both sides… The only common language we speak are the things we make: a new generation of Windfinders, crossing borders in both directions. They tell us stories from beyond the horizon, and show us how to get there.

Welcome on board!




We set sail from the North Sea and head out to wherever the swarm was last seen – a growing family of unmanned and mysterious vessels underway to the origin of the wind. Most sightings are reported from somewhere between Oceania and Alaska…

With a traditional sailing ship rebuilt into a traveling wind laboratory, we follow a sparkling trail of ideas that known and unknown Windfinders leave behind on the islands. We are NOT trying to retrieve the original Windvinder – the Winged Canoe is underway in the unknown and that’s exactly what it is built for. (It is light as a feather, by the way, don’t worry about meeting it at sea. You can push it away with one hand. Sailcloth filled with wind…) 




Following reports of sightings, we sail from island to island, visit construction sites and finders, gather stories, rumors, songs and sketches... fragments of encounters of the growing swarm of Windfinders with the makers of their life journey. . This will become the film, and the Great Book of Wind and Finders.






Documentation and reconstruction is one task of our expedition, repairing and improving wrecked members of the swarm another one. Above all we do what most people do who ever meet a Windfinder: take this inspiration and make something of it. Turn headwind into propulsion, that’s the challenge! We build new, life-size and seaworthy Windfinders wherever we find the opportunity - together with the people of the islands and the material of their shores and legends.



The newer generations of Windfinders need no more wind turbines and ship's propellers, no gear box, metal or machines: no shipyards. Just some driftwood and a free horizon… They do sail straight into the wind; just wings and fins, grazing on an ocean of ideas. More and more the windships learn from birds, fishes and marine mammals - and become creatures of the sea themselves. 



We make this voyage to connect finders, findings and ideas, and work out new ways of how to sail to where the wind comes from. You can learn a lot here, if you want – just as the original Windvinder is underway to evolve from a mechanical vessel with gearbox and propeller to a creature that’s perfectly adapted to the ocean and the wind. Driven by headwind means: every wreckage is just the next step in the evolution, giving hints on what should be changed, inviting to try out new solutions.

Together with the islanders, we develop new means of wind propulsion, and an experimental way of building boats from what we find on the islands, derived from the traditional boats of where we sail – mainly the canoes of Oceania and kayaks of Alaska – but pointing into the future: where the wind comes from. Fast and flexible constructions, able to learn. A tuna, an albatross, a sea lion… – how do THEY that? Move so easily. We study wings and fins and flexing bodies, in the ocean as well as in the library on board; build boat hulls that move like a fish, wings in the air, changing form all the time. You can build a strong boat like an icebreaker – or like a sea bird…
Welcome in this flying laboratory, traveling where wind and water meet…





Wind is the material of the future. Even industrial countries see this now. But what is the material alone? We need PEOPLE! People who can make something of it. Who are at home in the wind as a fish in the water. Worldwide shipping has to be reinvented. Not just some fishing vessels - ferries, cargo ships and tankers need an alternative for fossil fuel. A few great projects already exist; ships with Flettner rotors, kites and modern tall ship rigs. But we need more. We need an ocean of ideas. Which ones work out best – the wind will tell us. But only if we present him the ideas! Things have to be built, no matter how imperfect, how absurd they may seem in the beginning - and develop in wind and waves before they gather dust on the desk of theoreticians.

That’s what we do on this expedition: DO. Small - but real, and from beginning to end: idea, experiment, realization. We develop ideas, but even more interesting is the development of the people who work on them. This workshop is not about final answers in aerodynamics or engineering. But about creative thinking and a new way to communicate: how to give wings to your ideas. See the whole thing. And make it happen in a human scale.




European professors explained me (and what’s worse, also their students), that propulsion from headwind is impossible. Against the laws of physics! Said their calculations.
A fisherman on a small island, who could not read and write, examined Windvinder’s windmill wings and ship’s propeller, and stated: “Inhale wind – exhale wind. That’s how it works.”
A few days later he had built his first own Windfinder – without gearbox, from bamboo, fishing line and sailcloth, and sent him on the journey: against the wind across the ocean. He, who preferred to sit on his island with nothing to eat since he couldn’t pay the diesel anymore, instead of setting a sail on his fishing canoe – because he wanted to be a modern man. While the most modern people in the world, what the fisherman doesn’t know, are investing millions to find out how to sail their ships again.

These people have to meet, I think. Not to talk, but to build ships together: expedition vessels to explore the worlds behind their own horizon. And then the fishing vessels and cargo ships.





Of course I don’t want to say that all professors are like this. But I can say that of all the people who insisted that this cannot be, 100% were western academics. Wasn’t it the purpose of education to make people free? To broaden horizons? What is going wrong here???

High tech engineers or fishermen - we need a generation of pioneers. People who dare, who are able to think further than their teachers. It’s not enough to learn existing knowledge by heart. We need something fundamentally new, and that’s only possible with people who are – first of all – able to imagine it, and second, to put it into reality. That’s what we train in this workshop. Turning headwind into propulsion is not a final aim. It’s a wonderful challenge to think wind power to its limits – and beyond: it’s new and unknown for most of us, a neutral territory where islanders and engineers can meet on a same level. Only where you don’t have to defend your familiar territory (“I know what I’m doing, you don’t have to tell me anything”), you feel free to be curious and explore ideas from behind your horizon. 
The parallel world laboratory turns headwind into a brainstorm.




How does a bird fly? How does a fish swim? Accelerate, break, maneuver…?

Electric eels are interesting creatures. They need no crank shafts and no gear box, no propellers and not even a windmill. A wave running through a body. How can we organize this wave? Amplitude increasing toward the tail end… Can we achieve this just with the shape of the sail, a dorsal fin in the wind, some lines and blocks?

Yes, we can. And much more. Every movement that a muscle can make, we can also get out of the wind. Out of nothing. Out of moving air.

If you know how to turn headwind into propulsion - even without a wind turbine... how to build flexible boat hulls that swim – powered by headwind – like a fish through the water… windmills that turn into propellers… propellers that drive us downwind faster than the wind… if you can develop such things – not in the computer, but on the ocean, building with your own hands and the most simple tools - then you know:  WITH WIND YOU CAN GET ANYWHERE.


Working together on experimental windships, we get to know each other. Western students and engineers can see how little is actually necessary to make it happen. And islanders find out that modern people do use wind – and need the help of real-life wind experts to reinvent global shipping.

This workshop is not about making everything from bamboo in the future. But about the ability to translate complicated ideas into a simple technology: to develop realistic solutions from what is there. Reduce ideas to their essence. Shape and material become exchangeable, and what is left - that’s what it is about.

It's nice to see for our engineers that many of the problems we are spending our time and money on, can be solved so much easier. But what matters is not bamboo or steel or carbon fiber, not the thing that disappears beyond the horizon - when you have managed to build something that is able to do this.
What matters is what stays behind: regained, navigable vastness, 360 degrees around. 


In these waters you can build ships. Canoes and freighters.

If you can sail with eight sails against the wind on the open ocean, you can go with one sail from A to B. Also with three sails, or three masts. You know you can do it. You know how. And why.



The network of the Windfinders grows – initially – in the unknown. Exactly this inspires the longing to move. The curiosity: Who are the others? The people behind the ideas, the ideas that I’ve developed further? And who will go on with my ideas?


They know how to sail. That much is sure.    




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