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A­A­If you have ever looked at the end of a crane, or if you have ever used an engine hoist or a come-along, or if you have ever looked at the rigging on a sailboat, then you have seen a block and tackle at work. Imagine that you have the arrangement of a 100 pound (45.4 kilogram) weight suspended from a rope, as shown here. In this figure, if you are going to suspend the weight in the air then you have to apply an upward force of 100 pounds to the rope. In this diagram, the pulley attached to the weight actually consists of two separate pulleys on the same shaft, as shown on the right.
A block and tackle can contain as many pulleys as you like, although at some point the amount of friction in the pulley shaA­fts begins to become a significant source of resistance. Note: If you are reading this it means you have come via a direct link ( particularly Wikipedia). Volitan may look more like an X-wing fighter than a boat, but the four-wing structure keeps it stable while maximizing maneuverability.
The sails are covered on both sides by flexible photovoltaic panels that power the electric motors, electronics and on-board water-treatment system. A desire to make boating clean again inspired Hakan Gursu and Sozum Dogan of the Turkish design firm Designnobis to envision a zero-emission, engine-assisted boat that didn't burn a drop of fuel—and was swank enough for the yachting set. The boat's two electric motors are mounted at the end of two shorter, lower wings, which reach down into the water. A block and tackle is an arrangement of rope and pulleys that allows you to trade force for distance.


If the rope is 100 feet (30.5 meters) long and you want to lift the weight up 100 feet, you have to pull in 100 feet of rope to do it. In addition to the instructions below, you might want to check out the pop pop (putt putt) boat introduction page as well. Now, however, even purists use outboard motors to get their three-sheeters in and out of the harbor. Their solution is Volitan, a 105-foot concept sailboat powered by nothing but sun and wind. In brisk wind, these wings fold up against the boat's body to lower resistance and allow the ship to sail more easily. In this edition of How Stuff Works we will look at how a block and tackle works, and also examine several other force-multiplying devices! The only thing that changes is the direction of the force you have to apply to lift the weight.
That means the weight is split equally between the two pulleys, so each one holds only half the weight, or 50 pounds (22.7 kilograms).
To hold the weight in the air you must apply only 25 pounds of force, but to lift the weight 100 feet higher in the air you must now reel in 400 feet of rope. Including conventional motorized boats, there are more than 10 million hydrocarbon-burning marine engines in the U.S. The ship's strong, lightweight body is made from a composite of carbon fiber and epoxy resin and covered in carbon-foam lamination.


In a storm, the upper sailing wings fold against the boat, leaving the lower wings extended to provide stability.
If it ever does get built, though, we suggest it be used as a hideaway for a James Bond evil mastermind—one who is highly conscientious about his carbon footprint.
You still have to apply 100 pounds of force to keep the weight suspended, and you still have to reel in 100 feet of rope in order to lift the weight 100 feet. That means that if you want to hold the weight suspended in the air, you only have to apply 50 pounds of force (the ceiling exerts the other 50 pounds of force on the other end of the rope).
Its two solid, solar-panel-covered sails, which extend from the ship's body like wings (the boat is named after a flying fish found in the Mediterranean), catch wind when the sailing is good, and deliver electricity to the two 200-horsepower electric motors that propel the ship when the wind won't cooperate.
Additional stabilizing fins can also rotate out from the boat's lower fins, allowing Volitan to operate safely in wind up to 60 knots. If you want to lift the weight 100 feet higher, then you have to reel in twice as much rope 0- 200 feet of rope must be pulled in.
Controlled by an onboard computer, the wings rotate and tilt to track both the sun and wind. The energy they harvest is stored in conventional marine batteries that sit at the bottom of the boat's centerboard and act as ballast.



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