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OceanWings® 3.2 – Energy Observer 100'

The first hydrogen boat around the world ... powered by Oceanwings®

After an outstanding racing career under the names of Formule TAG, Tag Heuer, Enza New Zealand, Royal & SunAlliance, Team Legato, or Daedalus, this legendary boat has a new life today under the name of Energy Observer. Built in Canada back in 1983 by naval architect Nigel Irens, under the supervision of Mike Birch as the future skipper, he is by excellence the catamaran that had a decisive impact on the future evolutions of multihulls. Originally being 24.38 meters long, it has been lengthen four times and today is 30.5 meters long and 12.80 meters wide .
A true experimental laboratory with a goal of energy autonomy, Energy Observer is the first vessel in the world, able to produce its hydrogen from seawater, thanks to renewable energies.
Since the very beginning of its new life, VPLP has been involved in the architectural modifications of the boat, that work culminating by the installation of the wind propulsor Oceanwings® first trimester of 2019. The work undertaken by VPLP have had two phases, one beginning of 2016, the other, mid-2018.
The first intervention consisted in assisiting the yard for the main works. The installation of such many equipements resulted in increasing the displacement so that we had to boost floatability by fitting externally on the hulls foam formers and to evaluate the impact of such modifications on hydrodynamic drag and hence consumption of the boat. Additionnally, to optimize solar panel surface, VPLP designed and dimensionned the cantilever beams supporting the solar panels aft of the wheelhouse.
The second consiste dis dimensionning and detail design of specific Oceanwings® to fit the boat’s architecture and the energy available onboard. Eventually itw as opted for two Oceainwgs® with a projected surface of 31.5m² each fitted on one of the float of the catamaran. Controlled by a specific software realized by VPLP and control algorithm based on a pre-calculated database of trim settings, these wind propulsors will be connected to the energy network onboard.
Featuring a reduced energy demand, the two Oceanwings® will on the opposite, depending on wind conditions, allow :
⦁ Increased boat speed, together with the electric motors
⦁ Reduced energy spending, when they reduce loading on the lectric motors
⦁ Increased energy production while at sea though hydrogeneration (using electric motors as hydrogenerators)
⦁ Production of hydrogen while at sea using electrolysis thanks to the energy saved or even indirectly produced by their use
If Energy Observer is a true precursor, the use of the Oceanwings® onboard prefigures the way VPLP sees their use : as an auxiliary wind propulsor used in a diversified mix of energy sources onboard ships.
Last but not least, it is the project in which we co-designed, fabricated and assembled hand in hands with our industrial partner CNIM.