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.
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.