Innovation is the keyword

Luca Bassani Antivari - Presidente di Wally
by Luca Bassani Antivari – founder and president of Wally

At long last over the last few years we have witnessed an explosion of innovation in sailing yachts of all sizes. Planing hulls that deliver on performance even upwind. New appendages that improve righting moment and lessen leeward drift and, of course, the famous foils that dynamically cut a boat’s weight (to put it in the simplest terms) and so make America’s Cup cats and oceangoing racers alike fly. Wings instead of sails that boost performance regardless of the angle of the wind and reduce a boat’s sail plan to a single “sail”. This is a sort of technological renaissance that will soon have very interesting knock-ons for cruising craft, not just because they will be more fun because they faster but also by making them safer (if a boat can make a nippier speed, it can quickly outrun approaching weather).

All of these advances have been made possible by increasingly light, rigid and tough new materials. They are also more affordable too because they are, like carbon, being produced in greater quantities and so that means economies of scale. All of this is exhilarating because it will allow the increasingly conservative nautical industry to take huge strides forward in terms of safety, comfort and fun in the coming years. That will mean more people buying sailing yachts instead of motoryachts too.

No offence to motor craft but if we are to focus on more sustainable, environmentally friendly products, then the move towards sailing will have a hugely beneficial impact on fuel consumption and pollution. We must therefore approach these boats with an open, interested mind because they are not rich men’s follies but exercises in technological patronage that may have a huge impact on our future as sea lovers. So I say thank you to Filippo Tommaso Marinetti for his phenomenal eulogy on speed, as fresh and relevant now as it was 100 years ago.

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