Yves Parlier came up with the idea of a Kitesurf kite towing after being dismasted during his 3rd participation in the Vendée Globe in 2000. An experienced navigator, he owed his survival to his ingenuity and knowledge of composites: he was able, using the resources at hand, to build a makeshift mast and navigate over halfway around the globe and reach the final destination of the race, six weeks after the other participants. He arrived with a single thought on his mind: “if only I had had a kite on board, that would have been a much better way to return to France".
This nature lover who is constantly looking for ways to reduce marine pollution, and in particular that of cargo freighters, believes that a kite could be the ideal solution for towing sailors stranded at sea. In addition, it would provide cargo freighters with an additional means of propulsion that would also help them to save close to 50% of their fuel.
A kite to tow boats…
This idea led to the creation of the “Beyond the Sea” consortium which groups Yves Parlier’s company Océa with, among others, the CMA CGM maritime group, Porcher Industrie, a leader in technical textiles, and Cousin Trestec, a leader in the manufacture of synthetic cables and ropes. After years spent in research and development, its first product, a kite for towing pleasure boats, the LIBERTYKITE®, was put on the market in June 2017. Intended for boats measuring between 4 and 18 metres, this emergency propulsion system is made from high-tenacity polyester. It is currently available in two versions: 10-metre and 20-metres.
… and save on fuel
The next step, which is scheduled to be achieved by 2020, will involve adapting the system to a merchant navy vessel, designing it with a surface of 400 to 1,600 square metres. According to the former skipper, uptake of this system would reduce merchant ships’ fuel consumption by 20%, and reduce their greenhouse gas emissions at the same time. "If we consider that 90 % of world trade is conducted by sea, and that there are 100,000 merchant ships and one million fishing boats, this new technology can have a major positive impact on the environment”, explained Mr. Parlier.