Many rigid sail technologies have been developed in the yachting industry over the past few years. Their performance was undoubtedly superior to classic sailing rigs. Used primarily in sailing races, stiff sails are still very difficult for day to day use and made for large sailing boats.
Inflated winged sails: the benefits of new technology
Inflated Wing Sails (IWS) offers a new smooth and balanced way of sailing. The inflated winged sails are stable in all wind conditions. There is no pressure on the boat structure. No more winches, halyards, cables or complicated deck equipment. This technology offers a sense of freedom with balanced armament while minimizing the effort on the boat. This is a revolution for superyachts, cruise yachts and transport ships, as almost all the inherent forces of a monosurface sail disappear and free the deck of all unnecessary equipment.
Aviator Laurent de Calbermatten and yachtsman Edward Kessi created a concept inspired by and based on paragliders and inflatable aircraft that combine simplicity, performance and usability. A double layer forming a symmetrical wing profile, fans are positioned inside the leading edge to stabilize the sail shape for different wind conditions and a free-standing, retractable mast hidden inside the wing.
This type of sail can be easily launched using an automatic system. The wing flies vertically and does not create local stress inside the membrane, light sails used for both the frame and fairing. Small upwind angle and lighter keel and yacht reinforcements, and fewer controls required. Inflated Wing Sails control the sail area by the height of the mast. The sails are lowered by lowering the wing and retracting the mast.
Inflated wing sails are ideal for cruising yachts, as they free up deck space from equipment and simplify the entire structure, which affects the yacht's weight, and improves performance. This type of rig offers a completely new philosophy of yachting.
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