Dave Culp - President of KiteShip. Educated at Stanford, Westlawn and the University of California at Davis in Engineering, Industrial and Sailcraft Design, Mr. Culp worked at a variety of entrepreneurial occupations including professional boat building, commercial fishing, yacht design and logistics, in addition to his avowed life's work, designing and building traction kite-powered yachts, shipping and related marine structures.
Mr. Culp has built a number of plywood, fiberglass and steel boats from 12 to 65 ft, and spent a season fishing for mid-ocean tuna in one of the boats he helped to design and build. He sold his first design effort, a 30' kite-powered world record-seeking speed sailboat to an English kite manufacturer, in 1978. Culp-designed speed sailboats competed at more than a dozen international speed sailing events during the 1970's, 80's and 90's. Mr. Culp designed, built, shipped, financed and performed all crew, site and transportation logistics for 2 personally owned speed sailing attempts in the South of England, and performed all logistics tasks as professional crew chief for a third, during this same period. Mr. Culp's primary focus was the effective design of large kites, hulls and structures suitable to kite power and control systems, and in inexpensive prototyping and manufacturing methods for large mechanical and flying devices with poorly understood capabilities and materials limits.
Mr. Culp and KiteShip were commissioned to invent a new type of spinnaker for America's Cup yacht racing by Larry Ellison's Oracle Racing, Inc. in 2001. The device needed to be a free-flying kite, yet remain completely rule legal for measurement as a conventional spinnaker, while at the same time providing sufficient performance to outperform the world's best sailmaker's efforts over more than 150 years of spinnaker development. He succeeded in all contractual goals within a 5-month time frame. KiteShip has developed this invention into a financially successful commercial product, with offshore manufacture and worldwide distribution via 8 independent distributors in Europe, Australasia and the US. Mr. Culp speaks and consults as a world expert on large-scale traction kite design, controls, tethers and the aero-hydrodynamics of kite powered systems. He has long been a proponent of alternative fluid/fluid "sailcraft" devices, other than wind/water sailboats, for use in high altitude studies and extra-planetary exploration.
Mr. Culp formed the company which became KiteShip Corporation in 1996 for the purpose of investigating and developing large scale kites and control systems, specifically for ship-pulling applications, which were envisaged to become cost-effective and industrially desirable early in the 21st century. KiteShip was incorporated in 2001 with Mr. Culp as its President, Board Chairman and majority stockholder.
KiteShip Corporation currently holds two world records, for largest vehicle ever pulled by kite power and largest kite ever to pull a vehicle of any type. Mr. Culp holds an early kitesurfing patent from 1984 and has patents pending in several fields.
Mr. Culp has authored or co-authored more than a dozen papers, a selection of which include:
* Roeseler, W; Culp, D, "KiteSailing Progress," Sailtech '89, AIAA and SNAME, Stanford, CA, 1989.
* Roeseler, W, Schmidt, T, Beattie, A, Roeseler, C, Culp, D, Long, L, McGeer, T, & Wallace, R, "The Case for Transport Sailcraft," SNAME World Aviation congress, Los Angeles, CA 1996.
* Culp, D; "On KiteTugs," The Amateur Yacht Research Society, 1997
* Culp, D, De Winter, F, Swenson, R, "The KiteShip Project," Millenium Solar Forum, ISES, Mexico City, 2000.
* Culp, D; "Free-Flying Sails for Sailing and Powered Vessels," 5th International Conference, Engineering of Sport, Davis, CA, 2004.
* Culp, D; "Single Fluid Kiting; the TwinFoil Concept," proposal submitted to NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (NIAC), 2005.
* Culp, D; Jordan, D, "Low Drag, Low Cost Suspension Line Technology for Parachutes," Final SBIR report to US Army Airdrop Team, Natick, MA, 2005.