Here are some models I made earlier today which might fit the bill. They are 500mm long and the masts are 600mm so they are more than just ‘toy’ sized. A fairly simple kit of parts can be used in a variety of different combinations so that different structural designs are possible - more than just the one shown. There are lots of different configurations for the masts and possible choice of materials for the sails so overall this would be an ideal technical challenge because there are so many variables. My tests were very encouraging and the yachts easily sailed with the wind on a run, across the wind and could manage upwind too. I’ve developed a way in which groups can also model the amazing ‘wing sail’ so that could be very exciting from the point of view of ‘innovation’ and cutting edge design - a fabulous opportunity for the pupils to simulate the actual wing design - and even modify it!
With the correct fans we could achieve some great speeds so it could be an attractive spectacle!
Outdoors the yacht works very well even in a light breeze - that’s the worry because a gust can make them go very fast and then they’re impossible to catch - this is lots of fun for youngsters of course and really makes the point about the power of the wind and the ability of a sail to tap the energy.
Will work on a plan for delivery to a group and keep you posted.
Perhaps each pupil team could adopt a country and use their colours on the sails?
Let me know what you think.