Solid Sail: a new course for Multiplast

Solid Sail

Apr 20, 2021

The Solid Sail project has reached a new stage, since Chantiers de l’Atlantique announced that a 95-meter mast, fitted with a rigid sail built by Multiplast, would be installed in 2022 at the Saint-Nazaire site.

This will be the last technical validation step before the commercialization and application of the Solid Sail solution on large passenger ships with hybrid propulsion, allowing a very significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The Solid Sail project began for Multiplast five years ago with the first tests of a rigid sail with composite panels on a J80, carried out under the aegis of Chantiers de l’Atlantique. At the helm, engineer Nicolas Abiven, former navigator, winner of the Transat Jacques Vabre 2003 with Jean-Pierre Dick.

A second test campaign was then carried out on a larger sail, rigged on Yes We Cam !, the 60-foot Imoca aboard which Jean Le Cam has just taken fourth place in the Vendée Globe, before being tested on a liner which has made two transatlantic with this sail. The project reached a new milestone in 2019: a 1 / 5th scale model with balestron rigging was installed on one of the dikes of the port of Pornichet in order to study its behavior and resistance.

On the strength of all these studies and test campaigns, Chantiers de l’Atlantique announced in April, a new major step: the installation on the Saint-Nazaire site of a scale 1 demonstrator with a mast culminating at 95 meters and tiltable to 70 degrees, which will be visible 55 km offshore! This mast will be fitted with a Solid Sail entirely made of composite, efficient and foldable, with a surface area of ​​1,200 m2.

The installation will be done in two phases: the first with a 38-meter mast and a 550 m2 sail by the end of summer 2021, the second, at scale 1, during the following year. Like the previous prototype tested at Pornichet for two years, the device will be equipped with a 360-degree swivel balestron.

The mast is being built by a consortium of CDK Technologies, Lorima and Multiplast for the sections of the tube, SMM being responsible for the tooling and assembly, Avel Robotics for the sleeves. As for the sails, made of fiberglass and carbon panels, they will be manufactured entirely at Multiplast.

The first application of Solid Sail will be for liners of around 200 meters, which will use both this propulsion and a motorization, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25 to 40%. Other applications, involving both cargo ships and large pleasure craft, are also being considered.

This project, which received the support of the Brittany Region and the Gulf of Morbihan-Vannes Agglomeration intermunicipal association, is a real challenge for Multiplast, as its managing director Yann Penfornis explains: “Solid Sail is part of the process. of diversification begun twenty years ago. This is the result of a research program that began five years ago and of all our offshore racing know-how that we are adapting to the cruising market. The manufacturing processes for the masts are in fact the same as those we use for competition boats and we work with the same design offices as in offshore racing, GSea Design and Méca. “

If Les Chantiers de l’Atlantique manages to market them, the first liners equipped with the Solid Sail solution will sail in 2025.



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