Building on the successful launch of Oceanwings, VPLP design today reveals its brand new concept: the wing-yacht Evidence. Interview with Marc Van Peteghem.
How did Evidence come about?
Well, our inspiration came from what we’ve known for a long time, that the yachting world is divided into two schools with motor enthusiasts on one side and sail lovers on the other. Both sides of the argument have their pros and cons. One derives propulsion from consuming carbon-based fuel which – despite the uncomfortable question of greenhouse-gas emissions – amounts to a very simple solution, while the other deploys a complex and fragile rig which is often restrictive. Oceanwings bridges this propulsion divide through innovation, and finds its natural expression in the first ever wing-yacht, Evidence, a 156-foot catamaran powered by a 400-square-metre sail.
Does a wingsail mean you can have your cake and eat it?
Yes! Not only does it produce twice the power of a conventional sail, the wing is reefable, furlable and fully automated. When integrated into a hybrid propulsion system, it can reduce the fuel consumption of the main engines and, consequently, the harmful greenhouse gases they emit. Evidence offers the stability, space and performance of a catamaran with the bonus of a simple yet pioneering rig – so you and your crew can enjoy the peace and pleasure of sailing under wind power. And for us at VPLP design, it’s a novel way of bringing the benefits of sail to a section of the sea-going world whose members prefer the simplicity engine propulsion offers. You could say it’s a new take on the old-school motor-sailer!
Is this type of rig suitable for large yachts?
It is, and even more so for super-yachts! Wingsails work best on boats of a certain size, not on a modest family cruiser. Usually, when you double the length of a boat, you multiply the size of the sail plan by four and the mechanical stresses by eight. But not with Oceanwings. Given that it is twice as powerful as a traditional rig, you get the same level of performance for half the surface area, which is a particularly attractive idea for yachts that rarely put up the sails because of the immense physical forces involved… And beyond super-yacht size, we believe our sailing innovation to be eminently suitable for cargo ships and fishing vessels.
So, what can we expect from Evidence?
She’s a cruising multihull with enough space aboard for twelve guests and ten crew. She was designed for crossing the Atlantic and exploring wherever your fancy takes you. The combination of her automated wingsail and mechanical propulsion – which can be electric – gives her an incredible range. Evidence was made for passage-making!