Is this the future of cruising? Matthew Sheahan finds out why the French boat building giants think so

Over the last 50 years there have been numerous attempts to simplify cruising sail plans and provide more efficient rigs for racers. From the junk rigs of Blondie Haslar’s ‘Jester’ and Bill King’s ‘Galway Blazer’, through the giant windsurfer type Freedom rigs and CarboSpars’ AeroRig, to the Omer Wingsail, there have been short bursts of success in this field yet nothing has really stuck.

But while the sailing world has been debating and experimenting with unstayed rotating rigs, a small group of blue water sailors have been busy clocking up the miles around the world aboard their own innovatively rigged boats. After years away and thousands of miles under their keels, they have come home wondering what all the fuss is about.

For several years Beneteau followed one particular family’s progress and when they returned, asked them if they could work together to create a wingsail system for the mainstream.

Here’s my short video on what the prototype looks like from on board.

For the full report on this innovative new rig see the June issue.

To view the video on YouTube :