NEW RIG BEING TESTED
Great solutions have been provided by Beneteau over the last few years which have made sailing simpler and more affordable. Among these recent improvements, a new one is in the making. The "Wing Sail" rig has been undergoing prototyping and tests since the summer of 2013 and could mark the beginning of a new era in sailing.
Boat of the Future
Beneteau has committed itself to in-depth research on the development of a sailboat for the new generation of sailors.
The ‘Wing Sail’ currently under study utilizes significant human and technical resources. Without bias, the developers led by Bruno Belmont, BENETEAU Group’s Sailboat Strategy Manager, set out on the task of perfecting an easy to use sail.
Lateen or ‘crab claw’ sail, junk, kite or wing sail rig? The boatyard developers began by observing and analysing existing research on the different forms of wind propulsion. The ingenious work available endeavours to optimize performance as opposed to simplifying use, whereas the goal of the Beneteau's project is to ease propulsion as much as possible while providing similar performance.
A Decisive Meeting
A meeting with Guy Beaup, otherwise known as a clever ‘Gyro Gearloose’, took place in the summer of 2012 and marked a decisive stage in the progress of the project.
When asked where his many inventions come from, he replied, “When I need something – before asking where I can buy it, I look at how I could make it”. Despite being a newcomer to the world of sailing, Guy decided to travel the seas at the age of 25 and set about building his first boat, which included a junk-inspired rig. The absence of a sailing background led him to tackle each and every question without any preconceived notions. The result of his process let to the creation of the wing sail on his Matin Bleu, which stood up to its promise of a simple and strong method of propulsion. When he returned from a 60,000 mile circumnavigation, his invention stood out as one of the major world innovations within the sailing industry.
Beneteau immediately decided to purchase the patent on this wing sail and welcomed Guy Beaup as a partner in all of the stages of its development and prototyping. Incidences Sails joined the wing sail project design team as an additional partner.
Prototype and Tests
The Sense 43 was the natural choice for the initial testing period. The Sense's size was sufficient enough to create significant strain and the boat's design worked well with the rig development in progress. The first outings made in September of 2013 were extremely encouraging, however an innovation of this scale will require long months of testing, performance comparisons and boat plan development before mass production can be considered. The objective is to be able to equip certain ranges of Beneteau sailboats with a "Wing Sail" within 18 to 24 months.
This project was taken on to introduce newcomers to the joys of sailing. Beneteau continues to innovate and bring the sea within reach of a broader public – the vocation that has guided the company's development for 130 years.