SkySails launches kite drive for yachts

Published on April 20th, 2017

(April 20, 2017) – The zero-emission catamaran Race for Water has reached Madeira, finishing the first leg on its journey across the Atlantic. The first of its kind yacht has been utilizing the innovative kite propulsion system developed by SkySails Yacht GmbH of Hamburg/Germany throughout the voyage.

The SkySails system was installed on Race for Water at the start of April prior to its departure from Lorient/France, making the vessel the first kite-powered wind/solar hybrid yacht in history.

Under ideal conditions, the kite measuring 40m² accelerates the 35m 100 tons yacht to a speed of up to 10 knots using only the power of wind.

Race for Water, built at the Knieriem shipyards in Kiel/Germany in 2010 and formerly known as Planet Solar, became famous for circumnavigating the globe powered exclusively by a solar electric drive. The catamaran now forms the heart of the Race for Water Foundation which is dedicated to raising the public’s awareness of plastics pollution and educating it on preventing further environmental damage and pollution.

The kite system ideally supplements the self-sufficient propulsion system on board the vessel and supports the Race for Water Odyssey of circumnavigating the earth in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible. The yacht is driven by solar, hydrogen and now by wind power as well.

Race for Water’s first stopover on its 5-year circumnavigation odyssey will be Bermuda at the end of May where it will be a guest at the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup. The kite drive will be showcased during “open ship“ days.

The Race for Water Odyssey is the starting point for SkySails Yacht GmbH to demonstrate how critically important it is to reimagine propulsion systems, not only in commercial shipping but also in the superyacht business in order to save fuel, reduce emissions, and highlight the owners’ concern for the environment.

The SkySails system for yachts originates from the SkySails propulsion system for cargo vessels and has been adapted and refined for use on yachts. It is available for 15m+ yachts and superyachts and is designed to reduce fuel consumption, extend the vessel’s range, provide stable cruising comfort, enhance reliability and deliver environmentally compatible performance.

Motoryachts in the 30 to 40m class with a limited range will now be able to cross the oceans under kite instead of being deckloaded on a freighter.

Source: SkySails Yacht GmbH

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