French design house VPLP is using its experience penning grand prix-racing sailboats, including the America’s Cup winner BMW Oracle Racing 90, to create an expedition-grade trimaran series from 130 to 260 feet. The Komorebi series will have a hybrid propulsion system with electric engines and fully automated wingsails—a first for expedition-level cruising.
Unlike rigid, film-paneled America’s Cup wings, VPLP’s Oceanwings use supporting carbon-fiber spars and (possibly photovoltaic) sailcloth that’s hoisted to create two-element wingsails.
While VPLP says it has several interested customers, to date the Komorebi concept exists only as lines plans and scale models. Marc Van Peteghem, VPLP’s co-founder, points to three main challenges in reaching this point: hoisting and lowering sailcloth, reefing, and wingsail trim, all of which will be tackled by automation.
The wingsail-powered trimaran platform should deliver less roll motion than catamarans and greater comfort and speed than monohull yachts. “A wing can work at every apparent wind angle—it’s one of [its] big strengths,” Van Peteghem says. “With no wind, only the engine will be used; up to a certain wind speed, both engine and wing will play together, and above [this wind speed] it could be only wingsail. It’s very flexible.”
Take the next step: vplp.fr