French shipyard Chantiers de l’Atlantique is planning to construct cruise ships topped by striking 80 meter “eco-friendly” paneled sails, made of fiberglass and carbon.
The Solid Sail/AeolDrive concept would reduce cruise emissions by up to 50%, according to the shipyard.
Chantiers de l’Atlantique — behind top vessels including MSC Grandiosa and Celebrity Apex — talked through the concept at an event this week, streamed live from the MSC Virtuosa, a still-to-be-inaugurated cruise ship also built at the yard.
Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l’Atlantique said that the team had long pinpointed sails as an eco-friendly cruising solution. However, cruise ships need large sails, which the team found tricky to construct with existing technology and fabrics.
So the shipyard decided something new and different was required.
The resulting design resembles, as the shipyard puts it, “an accordion,” with folding panels that make up a sailing rig to be used in tandem with an engine and propellers — so it’s not totally reliant on strong winds.
The sail’s mast can also rotate and tilt, which the shipyard says will allow cruise ships to sail under bridges — including those lining the Panama Canal.
The Solid Sail/AeolDrive has been over a decade in the making — and testing is still ongoing, so it’ll be some time before these sails could top operating passenger ships.
There have been various testing stages, from the first step, trialing out a smaller sail on a J80 racing sailboat, to the current one — installing