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Ships & Boats : Southern Spars Rises to the Decarbonisation Challenge and Joins IWSA

DynaRig concept, first envisioned by Wilhelm Prolls in the 1960s but now one that has proven itself as an effective alternative to conventional rigs for superyacht owners

As momentum grows to deliver commercial wind propulsion technology solutions both as wind-assist and primary wind propulsion systems, everyone that follows this developing technology segment knows the iconic DynaRig concept, first envisioned by Wilhelm Prolls in the 1960s but now one that has proven itself as an effective alternative to conventional rigs for superyacht owners who have been looking to reduce crew numbers and optimize sailing time.

Today, Southern Spars, a division of North Technology Group and specialist in DynaRig design and manufacture, has announced that it has joined the International Windship Association (IWSA), the member driven not-for-profit organisation that promotes and helps facilitates the uptake of wind propulsion solutions in the commercial fleet. Southern Spars recently

Gavin Allwright

partnered with Magma Structures to further develop the next generation of innovative rig solutions, with the aim of making the efficient, safe, and high-performance rig more accessible to commercial shipping.

“With requirements to cut emissions and increasing fuel prices, there is an ever-growing demand for wind-assisted solutions for commercial shipping. Southern Spars has joined the IWSA as a world leader in the design and manufacture of sailing rig solutions. We are working on several commercial shipping and workboat projects for various wind-assisted solutions and for DynaRig systems similar to the rigs installed on the superyachts Maltese Falcon and Black Pearl.” says Andy Shaw, DynaRig Specialist.

To date, the DynaRig system has been installed on these two large yachts which have produced a huge amount of performance data and validated that the system is very effective for fairly large vessels. The Maltese Falcon, is a 88m long self-standing three-mast square rigger with a sail area of 2,396 m2 (25,790 sq ft) and larger still, the Black

 Pearl is 107m with 2,900 m2 (31,215 sq ft) of sail and has a maximum speed of 30 knots under sail alone.

“It is a great pleasure to welcome such a specialist design team to the International Windship Association family and we are all eager to learn more about the commercial shipping projects that are currently in the pipeline. This is a critical time in the development of commercial wind propulsion and we look forward to working with the Southern Spars team to help deliver a wind propulsion future for the world fleet.” states Gavin Allwright, IWSA Secretary General.

It would seem that as more specialist sailing rig designers are looking to bring their knowledge and experience into the commercial field, that the delivery and optimisation of wind propulsion solutions is in safe hands.  The challenge to decarbonise shipping deeply and swiftly may not have the prestige of lifting the America’s cup, but it is a bold challenge nonetheless.


Southern Spars is a division of the North Technology Group, the world leader in sail-making technology. Southern Spars specialises in the design and construction of carbon fibre spars and components.

Founded over four decades ago, the company now has a worldwide operation, with over 200 staff, and headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand. As the industry pioneer, Southern Spars built its first carbon spar in 1990. Since then, the company has pursued a passion for delivering world class superyacht and racing spars.

Southern Spars has provided rigs to the some of the greatest sailing superyachts ever built, such as the 86m ketch Aquijo and the 66m sloop Aglaia, as well as providing spars to numerous racing programmes from the America’s Cup, to the Volvo Ocean Race and the 52 SuperSeries. It is the only spars manufacturer with a fully integrated design software suite including a CFD tool and non-linear FEA software used in design of all elements of the sailing systems.

Southern Spars operates at the forefront of industrial development and has also provided composite solutions for a wide variety of other applications in industries such as aerospace and cycling. www.southernspars.com

The International Windship Association (IWSA) facilitates and promotes wind propulsion solutions for commercial shipping worldwide and brings together all parties in the development of a wind ship sector to shape industry and government attitudes and policies.

Representing 130 members, IWSA is a member-driven, not-for-profit association made up of wind propulsion technology suppliers and ship development projects, designers, naval architects, engineers, academics, NGO’s and seafarers with five areas of activity:

Network: Grouping and connecting like-minded organisations and individuals sharing ideas, skills, technical and market information for the development of commercial

wind ships

Promote: Highlighting the economic value of wind propulsion to the industry
Educate: Acting as a central information hub for the wind propulsion sector, ship owners and operators, shipyards, ports, governments, equipment producers, the media, NGOs, and the wider public.
Incubate: Securing funding streams, project collaboration, grant applications, research and the pooling of resources.
Facilitate: Establishing common approaches/criteria for all stages of project development, support stakeholders, advise and lobby legislative bodies on policies, activities, funding and incentives required to retrofit existing ships and build new commercial wind ships.


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