SkySails launches kite drive for yachts

The zero-emission hybrid catamaran Race for Water has reached the island of Madeira

By doing so she completes the first leg on her journey across the Atlantic.

The solar powered yacht has been utilising the innovative kite propulsion system developed by SkySails Germany throughout the voyage.

Renowned for its innovative towing kite wind propulsion system for cargo vessels, SkySails is the first company to develop kite patented technology as an industrial application with kites as large as 400m² delivering up to 2,000kW of propulsion power

The kite system was installed on Race for Water at the start of April prior to its departure from Lorient in France making her the first kite-powered wind/solar hybrid yacht in history.

The SkySails drive demonstrated remarkably impressive performance on its maiden voyage.

Under ideal conditions the kite measuring only 40m² accelerates the 35m 100 tons yacht to a speed of up to 10 knots using only the power of wind. Captain Jean-Marc Normant: “We are extremely happy with the performance and easy handling of the automated system.”

Race for Water, built in 2010 and was formerly known as Planet Solar became famous for circumnavigating the globe powered exclusively by a solar electric drive.

The catamaran now forms the heart of the Race for Water foundation which is dedicated to raising the public’s awareness of plastics pollution and educating it on preventing further environmental damage and pollution.

The kite system ideally supplements the self-sufficient propulsion system on board the vessel and supports the Race for Water Odyssey of circumnavigating the earth in the most eco-friendly and sustainable way possible. The yacht is driven by solar, hydrogen and now by wind power as well.

The yachts next stopover on its 5-year circumnavigation odyssey will be Bermuda at the end of May where it will be a guest at the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup.

The kite drive will be showcased during “open ship“ days and will demonstrate how critically important it is to reimagine propulsion systems not only in commercial shipping but also in the superyacht business in order to save fuel, reduce emissions and highlight the owners’ concern for the environment.

The system designed to reduce fuel consumption, extend yacht’s range, provide stable cruising comfort, enhance reliability and deliver environmentally compatible performance.

Motoryachts of between 30 and 40 metres with a limited range will now be able to cross the oceans using kite power instead of being deck loaded onto a freighter.