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CHANGING THE POWER OF SAILING
30 YEARS OLD
Some 30 years ago Jack Manners-Spencer noting that fuel costs were set to sky rocket, conceived the idea of sailing commercial vessels.
This design seen here was one of their first large cable laying ship designs.
Todays thinking ... Yesterday! Galant Rig as featured on 'Tomorrows World' BBC 1988.
THE MAIN BENEFITS OF THE AUTOSAIL FOR SUPERYACHTS
The Autosail is designed around the concept of an aerofoil shaped wing, with a self-supporting carbon fibre mast located at about 24% chord length of the sail from the luff or leading edge. It is this feature that provides the aerodynamic balance, similar to what we find in a balanced spade rudder familiar to many yachtsmen, and ensures that the forces required to trim the sail are very low.
For a larger yacht, light sail trimming forces are very important. For this reason the Autosail design enables an effective method of automatic sail trimming, by means of a motor to turn the mast and sail together as one, under the control of an autopilot. In the event that there is a system failure, independent battery systems allow full control over the mast.
REEFING AND FURLING
Failsafe features are always important whenever automated systems control the various functions of sail handling, or any other aspect of controlling a vessel at sea for that matter. It is all too easy to ignore such a vital factor in design.
Modern sail systems on yachts generally rely on roller furling of both headsails and mainsail, which are trouble-free most of the time. However when they do malfunction, the problems can result in more than just inconvenience but potentially a serious threat to both yacht and the crew.
On the other hand, the Autosail relies only on the force of gravity to lower the sail both for reefing in stronger winds and for furling the sail once in harbour.
SHORT TACKING THROUGH THE WIND
There are times when it is fun to tack up a narrow creek or river, against wind or tide. If this involves the crew winching in a heavily-loaded genoa many times, the fun element and the energy of the crew diminishes after a while.
It is therefore a great incentive for your crew if tacking does not involve such great exertion. More time to slurp the odd slug of gin-and-tonic or rum punch as you head up to your mooring.
Sailing with a strong wind directly from behind can be a pain in the butt. An inadvertent gybe can be particularly dangerous to the crew. It is something which any sane sailor tries to avoid at all costs.
Therefore we need to tack downwind to prevent such an eventuality. This is when the Autosail comes into the rescue. In the worst case scenario, the Autosail can be gybed across the foredeck to avoid the necessity of heading up into wind.
Assuming we will never have to cope with unexpected emergencies is human nature, but rarely achieved in practice. Knowing that you can always dowse the sail and eliminate any force driving the boat into trouble, can be paramount.
This is when a wingsail comes into its own. Let the sheet fly or the sail-pilot free its grip on the sail, then the Autosail will feather into wind harmlessly. The grisly black rocks can be avoided and you ground on the sandy bottom of your welcoming coral island!
If the nightmare of a person falling overboard occurs, you can quickly feather the rig or even apply reverse with the sail and slow the boat to a standstill. Recovering the person from the water becomes a quick and easy manoeuvre.
COMFORT AND SAFTEY ABOARD
We are all creatures of comfort! Whether it’s carrot cakes or crumpets. Nobody likes their stomach being heaving around in ungainly fashion. The following is helpful for the crew as regards fatigue and overall stress:
Reduced noise from flogging or flapping sails;
Reduced angle of heel, rolling motion, and risk of sea sickness;
Reduced workloads in handling sails or preparing meals below;
Reduced risk of accidents on board, due to lack of flogging sheets or other ropes on the decks, and the likelihood of gybes.
RIG SAFETY AND MAINTENANCE REQUIREMENTS
A self-supporting carbon fibre mast and other components are helpful in reducing the risk of rig failure and regular maintenance requirements:
Minimal rig components that can fail;
Risk of mast failure is minimised, due to simple structure;
Sail cloth is protected by batten system from damage due to flogging or flapping when tacking;
No risk of chafe against standing rigging;
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