That's quite an inspirational story you posted.
Functional Fixedness: That probably explains why the automobile engine has not changed much in the last hundred years, and why every single airplane out there uses all exactly the same controls (ailerons, rudder, elevators, etc), and sailboats and sailing haven't changed much in the last 2000 yrs or so (until recently).
On the second part your exactly right I should-a made my foils bigger in order to be able to work in the typical conditions we have in this area, 5-7 mph winds 10 months out of the year, with the boat I have (Hobie Tandem Island).
I haven't given up though, I'm still working on my goal, and have been busy the last couple years since building those foils to come up with designs that do work (mostly wing sails, and exploiting the tri-power capability of my TI (sails, pedal power, and hybrid gas or solar electric) so I can generate enough power to propel my boat on the foils at 2.5 x wind speed in low winds (<10mph) regardless of wind direction. I'll get there eventually, it's just a lot of learning and development to get there.
Once completed I plan to compete in the Watertribe 300 mile EC challenge race in the experimental electric class IV (http://www.watertribe.org
). Being in my 60's knowing I don't have the physical capabilities to complete this race conventionally. My plan is to use my brain power and cheat as much as possible to complete the race within my own physical capabilities.
Basically my boat is a perpetual motion device, by pedaling with the assistance of a small solar/electric or small hybrid gas motor this creates your forward motion. The forward motion creates apparent wind. The wing sails amplify that apparent wind and amplify the energy into forward power. It simply doesn't matter which direction the wind is coming from since the boat generates it's own apparent wind. Even in almost no wind at all it all works since your generating your own wind. I've had the boat working for a while now and am able to sail almost directly into the wind and propel the boat to 6-8 mph. Since I can't physically provide enough power just by pedaling alone, I need to add some supplemental power with the hybrid gas motor or solar electric, the small gas motor I'm currently using is only running at 1/4 throttle providing just enough power to make everything work ( I get around 100 miles per gallon), it costs me about a buck in gas to go out sailing for the day every weekend currently. By pedaling alone (no sails) the boat goes around 3mph. The motor itself (without pedaling or sails) propels the boat to around 3-3.5 mph). by utilizing the tri-power capabilities (sail, pedal, hybrid gas or solar/electric) all together I am able to propel the boat currently to 6-8 mph regardless of wind direction, and even in almost no wind at all. Currently only my jib is a wing sail (33 sq ft), the 100 sq ft wing main sail is designed but not completed yet (I'm saving up the $300 bucks to make it), I'm using the stock Hobie 90 sq ft mainsail with the wing jib feeding air over the main to force it to work. Once I get the wing main completed performance will increase even more.
This all works fine currently, once I complete and perfect the wing main my next step will be to introduce my hydrofoils to reduce the drag and wetted area. I am hoping that once on the foils with reduced drag the speed will keep increasing using the apparent wind generated by the wing sails, and am hoping the supplemental power generated by the motor and pedal power can be turned down (or off). My goal is 2.5 times wind speed in very low winds, of course if you have more natural wind then the system requires less supplemental power.
Yea it's a little outside the box, but hey I'm having fun. I'm out there pedaling between 20 and 50 miles per week trying to build up my legs and endurance, at the very least it's a good exercise program.
So I haven't given up