Originally Posted by opc11
Paulo, glad to see you starting to warm up to the idea of the wing sail. When I first brought it up, you weren't as impressed! Might be better for solo sailing as well!
Regarding being better for solo racing, maybe, but it will take more time. It has to do with the huge sail areas used and with the need to reef easily and have a very reliable mechanism. The sails have to be more complex and that means (at least on a development phase that can take many years) less reliable.ī
Some experiences have being done on the mini racers, a true laboratory were much of the design, rigging and sail technology have been initially developed before passing to bigger racers, but till know without much sucess in what regards overall performance.
Curiously this time probably the system will be developed first in cruising than in offshore racing since Beneteau is taking it very seriously: They have equipped a Sense 46 with one and have one of the inventors and developers of the system working for them in a very serious way so serious that the boat was already been provided to the press for testing.
I have been following and reading those tests on the French press and the good new is that the system works in what regards not only sailing but superior easiness in handling and reefing is easy. Things go so well that Beneteau says that intends to put on the market the first mass produced boat with a wing sail in two years.
The negative point is that, at least at this stage is not a performance contribution but one regarding easiness that is of main importance in what regards cruising. Yes the sail works well but the sail area is inferior and the overall performance of the Sense 46 with wing sail is worse than the one with conventional sails, not much but clearly worse.
I have no doubts that in the future it will be possible to have a superior performance and use the system also in what regards performance and racing boats...but I think it will take more time.
That's why on that post that you quoted I give a great importance to that testing with two Seascape 18 regarding the One sails solution, this one:
Aile souple : la voile du futur ?
That is the first time I see a a performance cruiser with a reefable wing sail beating an identical boat with conventional but top quality sails.
But you are right, this development is of great importance and thanks to the involvement of Beneteau is happening more faster than what I thought and you were right about that
Beneteau is taking a comfortable and smart way regarding the soft wing sail mixing two technologies, the aerorig, tested in many boats including racing ones and the soft wing sail technology.
regarding aerorig, have a look:
This is the system that Beneteau uses:
In fact it makes all the sense, as it is usual on Beneteau:
the big problem of the aerorig is cost. The one developed by Beneteau is should also cost more than a traditional system but much less than a traditional aerorig because the dimensions and charges are much less important, being the sail more efficient for square meter and being almost central regarding the mast. This way the aerorig is much smaller in horizontal length, regarding its arms, much cheaper and with less charges involved.
That is not by accident that they are testing the system on their top and more expensive cruising range, the Sense, where the extra cost of this system will not be so relevant to the cost of the boat than on the other series. Very clever and probably the way to go in what regards cruising boats.
Also very cleaver from Beneteau that have being many times cutting edge regarding cruising sail boats (in what regards design) and having a less good phase some years ago (in what regards innovation) is again at the top, not only with the wing development but with the Sense series.