Ponant Tests Solid Sail Prototype
French cruise line Ponant is testing the Solid Sail® concept on its vessel Le Ponant.
Tests are being conducted with maritime construction company Chantiers de l’Atlantique as part of the sailing cruise-vessel project Silenseas, launched two years ago. Two patents have been filed for the new type of sail which is made of fiberglass, carbon and epoxy resin panels in a carbon-slat frame.
Sails of over 300 square meters (3,200 square feet) were installed on Le Ponant in October before the three-masted ship set sail for Cape Verde and then across the Atlantic to Cuba.
The 89-meter (292-foot) vessel is a three-masted yacht that can carry 67 passengers in 32 cabins. The prototype technology will be tested on her for a year. A smaller-scale test has already been conducted on a vessel owned by French yachtsman Jean Le Cam.
Earlier this year, French shipbuilder STX France unveiled a new sailing cruise ship concept as part of the Silenseas project, which is supported by the French Agency for the Environment and Energy Management. The 190-meter (620-foot), 150-cabin concept vessel would feature Solid Sails and hybrid-electric propulsion with the aim of reducing fuel consumption by 25 percent, saving more than 2,500 tons of fuel per year and 7,500 tons of CO2 emissions per year.