Maybe your next sailboat… will have an inflatable wing sail!

The prototype of this inflatable wing sail is designed by Edouard Kessi and his friend Laurent de Kalbermattenusing.

How does this French invention could make sailboats simpler? Because it does not deform in the wind the way a normal sail does, it offers an huge aerodynamic advantage, and leaves the captain with only navigation to focus on.  It has a telescoping mast that deploys along with the sail.

Inflated Wing Sails (IWS)

IWS is stable in every wind conditions. There is no pressure on the boat‘s structure. This inflatable wing sail offers a smooth balanced new way of sailing. No more winches, halyards, shrouds or complex deck equipments.

A concept based on paragliders

IWS is made of:

  • A double skin forming a symetrical airfoil
  • Fans placed inside the leading edge, stabilizing the sail’s shape for every wind conditions
  • Free-standing and retractable mast located at the airfoil’s aerodynamic center

The advantages of the inflatable wing sail

  • The sail flies vertically
  • The NACA airfoil has been studied to develop a high driving force for a low righting moment
  • Using a symetric airfoil allows to tack from one side to another without having to trim the sail shape
  • The symetric airfoil is balanced and place itself in the best position to maximise the driving force
  • The aerodynamic center stays stable in every wind condition
  • This kind of sail could easily be driven by an automatic system

This example is just a prototype; the goal is to scale the design to be used on much larger ships. But what do you think about it?

One Comment

  1. Brilliant idea even for adaptation to a motoryacht that occasionally wants to sail under ideal conditions. Is this idea open source so others can build working models? Are there design drawings? What are the wind limitations?

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