The fully-automated wingsail on the ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran

Many boat manufacturers of various types have begun to bet on the introduction of electrical mechanics in recent years, which has resulted in a shift in how these modes of transportation are understood. ZEN Yachts – short for “Zero Emission Nautic Ltd.” – is one of the companies that has benefited the most from electrification. The ZEN50, the world’s first series-production catamaran with a fully-automated wingsail, has now been unveiled by the fledgling electric boat manufacturer. This zero-emission sailing yacht is currently under construction in Europe and will set sail in early 2023 once completed.

The ZEN50, designed by award-winning naval architect Julien Mélot, combines the speed of a performance catamaran with the comfort of a large motor yacht and the ease of use of an electric car. It proposes a new approach to clean sailing: one that is completely sustainable and uses no fossil fuels on board. For minimal drag, this luxury superyacht has carbon fiber and Corecell composite hulls inspired by performance catamarans. As a range and speed extender, Ayro’s revolutionary, fully automated wingsail can be added.

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The ZEN50 has a total length of 15.7 meters (51.5 feet) and a beam of 8.4 meters (27.5 feet), and can accommodate up to 12 guests in six cabins. The ZEN50 has an entire rooftop covered in solar panels with a peak power of 16 kW, allowing it to cruise at 4.5-5 knots (5-5.7 mph) using only the power of the sun. Two 40kW brushless DC motors propelled the vehicle, which is powered by a 160 kWh lithium battery pack.

ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail.
ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail. Credit: ZEN Yachts

Even with the solar backup, traveling at sea on electric propulsion alone may be difficult. This is where the semi-rigid Oceanwings OWS 3.2 wingsail comes in, which, when combined with the e-motor, allows the ZEN50 to reach a top speed of 14 knots (16 mph). The wingsail and solar panels work together to provide 6-10 knots of speed for continuous cruising (7-11.5 mph). Over a 24-hour period, the ZEN50 yacht has a range of more than 180 nautical miles (207 miles).

ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail.
ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail. Credit: ZEN Yachts

The interior layout of the ZEN50 is customizable and includes numerous amenities such as two large day beds, three dining areas for more than ten people, one professional galley and two wet kitchens, five heads, up to four double ensuite cabins, and plenty of lounges. It also has an electric tender, dive compressor, Starlink internet, two helm stations, and an electric tender, electric water scooter, e-jet boards, and e-foils.

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ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail.
ZEN50 solar-electric catamaran features fully-automated wingsail. Credit: ZEN Yachts

In 2023, the first ZEN50 catamaran will be ready for zero-emissions sailing. The ZEN50 is available with or without wingsail and is available in three main versions: Racer, Cruiser, and Explorer, with prices starting at $1.6 million.

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