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Will this be good or bad for sailing?

Published on February 14th, 2023

While equipment advancements tend to improve sailboat performance or ease of use, most (if not all?) increase the cost to go sailing. This can impact participation, particularly in racing classes with few restrictions. Will this latest tech be good or bad for the sport?

Rondal, the market leaders in superyacht spars and sailing systems, has developed an automated, carbon fibre composite wing sail for yachts.

Developed with project partners Curve Works and Artemis Technologies, the new wing sail concept aims to significantly increase the market share of wind-propelled yachts by creating a highly efficient, automated, composite solid wing sail technology that can be “ready-to-sail” in seconds, maximizing the time vessels rely solely on clean, renewable wind propulsion.

The wing sail created is also the world’s first large structural composite wing produced using a single adaptive mould with integrated heating to manufacture individual curved wing skin panels from pre-preg materials which were then bonded together to assemble the final wing structure.

Rondal and Artemis Technologies employed the latest in simulation technologies to evaluate their wing design before the build of their 9 metre tall sailing prototype. An intensive sailing test program also allowed the project team to validate real-world handling characteristics of the wing versus its predicted performance, and provided key data for the next stage optimization of the wing control systems.

The construction process for the new wing sail also represents a step-change in manufacturing sustainability for such large wing structures, with Curve Works integrating a new mould heating system within their adaptive tooling system.

As the Rondal innovation also offers fully customizable wing planforms that can match both the performance and styling requirements of each unique yacht design, utilizing this single mould tool corresponds to a massive reduction in landfill waste resulting traditional composite tooling.

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