This New Rig Just Might Replace Old-School Masts and Sails

Aero Sail's new A-frame sail design aims to create a sail plan that is easy to handle.

Aero Sail

Perhaps it’s time for a little innovation in sailing design. Mides Design’s new Aero Sail concept could prove to be a revolutionary new rig for sailing superyachts, replacing traditional masts and sails. The Aero Sail has already proved itself through years of computer modeling and tests, and now it can be found driving an 18-foot prototype as well. Its next test vessel will be a 63-foot sailing yacht, though designer Erik Šifrer says the technology could work all the way up to a 400-foot sailing superyacht.

The Aero Sail is built inside an A-frame on the exterior edges of the yacht and connected to a carbon roll boom that rotates around a central pivot point. Šifrer’s goal was to create a beautiful-looking sail plan for a large yacht that is also easy to handle. “It doesn’t require any deck equipment, and provides a shorthanded sailing solution,” he says. “It could even be completely automated.” Indeed, Šifrer suggests that future Aero Sails can be configured entirely via a mobile app, such as on an iPhone.

The Aero Sail offers benefits like in-boom furling remove any need for winches, tracks, blocks, or deck hardware—all the while reducing weight dramatically (as much as 40 percent, in fact) and transferring forces to the hull more efficiently than traditional designs. Its compact size and lack of traditional rigging hardware clears the deck—so much so that it could even allow for helicopters to land on larger superyachts, something precluded by current mast designs. The lack of a central mast also frees up the interior design of any sailing superyacht, since most general accommodations plans are created around the main mast. If the Aero Sail performs well on the 63-foot sailing yacht, perhaps a superyacht will be next.

Mides Design is a Slovenia-based company that specializes in both land-based and nautical interior and exterior design.

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