Cruise Ships Powered by Sails?
French shipyard Chantiers de l'Atlantique has a plan to build cruise ships powered by 80 meter "eco-friendly" paneled sails, made of fiberglass and carbon.
They are calling the concept the Solid Sail/AeolDrive.
They say it would reduce cruise emissions by up to 50%. They did not say it would also look very cool, and now cruisers would be able to cross the Atlantic feeling like Columbus except with balconies and butlers.
Laurent Castaing, General Manager of Chantiers de l'Atlantique told reporters that the team looking at this idea had long pinpointed sails as an eco-friendly cruising solution during a recent presentation. One obstacle they faced was that cruise ships would need large sails, and the team found it tricky to construct those with existing technology and fabrics.
A solution was discovered by the use of a new design similar to "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 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.
Designers at Chantiers de l'Atlantique also feel that even though the Solid Sail/AeolDrive was developed with cruise ships in mind, it could also work for the superyacht market.