A California-based startup called Outsail is headed to the Düsseldorf boat show in late January for the European debut of its approach to building yachts with a carbon fiber airfoil wing.
The wing, which is 98 feet aboard the Outsail 60 catamaran, is concealed within a box through tape spring technology. This metallic-strip technology is also used in satellites because of its low mass, low cost and general simplicity.
According to the company, the OutSail 60 is a CE Class yacht that can cruise using only the energy of the sun and wind. Unlike a conventional sailing yacht, it can travel at any angle relative to the wind and computes its own optimal route. But like a conventional catamaran, it offers many of the conveniences of powerboating—without the noise and fuel burn that come with diesel engines.
With all of that in mind, it’s no surprise that Outsail’s founder and CEO, Arpan Rau, is a robotics engineer who has designed flight hardware for NASA and SpaceX. He is a self-described addict when it comes to the force of wind, with his interests ranging from paragliding to sailing.
The company’s chief technical officer, Joseph Oorebeek, has a Ph.D. in aerodynamics from the University of Cambridge, and helped design components used in Tesla’s Model 3.
Outsail’s chief engineer, Bailey Da Costa, previously worked at AEye, which works on autonomous applications, and Impossible Aerospace, which specializes in electric aircraft technology.
Outsail recently closed a seed round of funding from Silicon Valley investors including Y Combinator, which has helped to launch more than 4,000 companies since it was founded in 2005. Those companies include Airbnb, Doordash, Instacart, Dropbox and Reddit.
Additional investors in the recent seed round of funding for Outsail include Climate Capital, which focuses its investments on emissions reduction and climate adaptation; Venture Hacks Fund, which was an investor in Twitter; and Collab Fund, whose previous investments have included Beyond Meat, Daily Harvest, Kickstarter, Lyft, The Farmer’s Dog and TaskRabbit.
Outsail says its goal is to apply technology in the maritime industry—not just yachts, but also the container-shipping and defense industries—to reduce the amount of diesel fuel that’s being burned. Outsail says it’s currently working with shipyards such as Conrad and Alva on custom-build projects.
“Burning diesel fuel is expensive and it destroys the ocean,” Rau stated in the company’s press materials. “The wind is the largest source of energy available at sea.”
For more information about Outsail, click over to outsail.com.