As part of VPLP’s commitment to a sustainable future and the decarbonization of the shipping industry, the firm has developed a wingsail which is compatible with the constraints of shipping. Much of the design is based on its experience acquired in the America’s Cup, notably on USA 17 which won the 2010 edition. The starting point was a very simple observation that, while this type of rig had already proved itself in terms of performance, it was missing two decisive functions if it was to satisfy this particular market: the capacity to reduce or increase its surface area, and a fully automated control system.
An initial 8 m prototype was designed and installed on Gwalaz, a 7 m bio-composite Tricat developed by Roland Jourdain’s company Kaïros, to study the feasibility of a 360° rotating rig and to test all its associated systems.
In 2019 two Oceanwings were installed on Energy Observer as demonstrators and to provide useful feedback for the development of the technology and its associated software.
With the principle largely validated (performance equal to a conventional sail plan with a surface area reduced more or less by half), VPLP’s goal is now to make wingsails available for all types of sailing, from yachting to fishing vessels and the shipping industry.
The first commercial application of these wingsails will be the cargo ship Canopée, designed by VPLP to transport parts of the Ariane 6 rocket. Powered by four 363 m² wingsails set on 36 m masts, Canopée is scheduled for launch in late 2022.
In recent years VPLP has designed numerous “wing yachts” (Komorebi, the studio-boat, Evidence, EMC…) that leverage this patented technology to drastically reduce fuel consumption when combined with a diesel or diesel-electric propulsion system. Oceanwings are particularly suited to superyachts because they can harness the power of the wind in a fully automated way, as part of a hybrid propulsion system or on their own, depending obviously on the type of vessel and the strength of the wind.
Oceanwings are developed, produced and sold exclusively by AYRO.