Take part in the development of a new generation of 100% eco-innovative sailboats – the ambassadors of maritime sustainable development!


The project





The innovations allowing recreational crafts to be energy self-sufficient, made out of recyclable materials and to treat wastewater on board, to explore the sea and the coastline, to take part in the knowledge of the oceans…are well under way to becoming a reality. Promising projects already exist. The Eco-Sailboat demonstrator will boost and bring to light the solutions which cannot emerge due to lack of funding.


As a laboratory bringing together fifteen businesses and five research centres along the French Atlantic coast, Eco-Sailboat also carries a message: the solutions which will allow us to live in harmony with the planet are also generators of employment and the key to ecological transition.




In 2010, a team bringing together researchers, industrialists, an architect and a navigator, developed the first craft made out of fully-biosourced composite materials. The NavEcoMat project resulting from the work of Université de Bretagne Sud gave birth to a canoe made of flax fibre and corn resin or potato resin.


The objective was to explore composite materials which could eventually replace the composite fibreglass – polyester resin, a composite used to make 80% of recreational crafts and for which no satisfactory end-of-life solutions exist.





When they imagined the project Eco-Sailboat, Catherine Chabaud (involved in the NavEcoMat project, in the Oceans Initiative/Grenelle de la Mer, and today a member of the Economic, Social and Environmental Council) and Julian Stone ( co-founder of the EcoNav network, expert in nautical sustainable development), they combined a dream and an industrial approach.


The dream is to create this eco-designed, eco-navigating, eco-exploring laboratory-boat, and to one day see it sail on the sea, proud to boost the dynamics of the nautical sector in developing eco-innovations.


The industrial approach is an innovative, collaborative project bringing together about twenty businesses and research centres, labelled by two Competitiveness Clusters, winner of the Investments for the Future.



The Dream Team of Eco-Sailboat! – For a full list of the consortium members, please see at the bottom of the page.





For six years, Eco-Sailboat will bring together a consortium of 17 SMEs and 5 research centres, working to develop innovations belonging to seven groups of eco-technologies:


1. An eco-designed sailboat

- end-of-life is planned from the inception,

- end-of-life analysis of each innovation, but also of the boat as a whole

- developing an eco-design tool for recreational crafts

- intuitive and ergonomic design to facilitate and make sailing and walking around the boat safer, especially for persons with reduced mobility.


2. Renewable energies

- a hydrogenerator integrated to the hull to increase the production of energy under sail,

- intelligent system of management and control of onboard energy to maximize consumption depending on the real needs, and to encourage responsible choices,

- cruise- specific battery system to increase storage capacity,

- routing software to maximize sail performance and the energy dedicated to propulsion,

- low-consumption autopilot.


3. Sailboat propulsion

- high-efficiency electric propulsion system,

- innovative wing sail derived from the wings in the America’s Cup, to increase sail efficiency,

- a traction kite adapted to recreational crafts to increase sail performance.


4. Materials

- materials are selected depending on their recyclability (biocomposites, aluminium),

- development of high-performance biocomposites adapted to a sea environment for the deck and interior design, and bio-compostable at end-of-life,

- biocomposite fittings (furlers, pulleys),

- biosourced riggings, recyclable at end-of-life


5. Waste and effluents

- 100% biodegradable antifouling paint,

- onboard package compactor,

- onboard wastewater treatment system.


6. Onboard safety

- man over board detection and geolocation system,

- life jacket of the future, maximising user survival


7. Oceanographic sensor

- autonomous oceanographic data sensor, which allows the collection of quality data without constraints, directly transferred to and exploited by Ifremer (French Institute for Research and Exploitation of the Sea).



Copyright : Marc Van Peteghem 




Along with the development of these eco-innovations, Eco-Sailboat will be an ambassador for the sustainable development of maritime activities, especially through three missions:


1. Raising awareness of eco-navigation and participative science: in order to promote more respectful navigation and environmental practices, awareness campaigns will be carried out by Eco-Sailboat; oceanographic data collection operations, essential to science, will be undertaken thanks to an autonomous data sensor fixed on the hull. These operations will also promote participative science, applied to the marine environment and will encourage eco-volunteering in this field.


2. Acting to promote eco-innovations: at first during the development of eco-innovations, then thanks to a tour of international trade shows and nautical events to promote the eco-technologies and show both their economic and environmental interests.


3. Sailing trips and scientific missions: in order to promote the sustainable development of maritime activities, Eco-Sailboat will carry out sailing trips around the world (tour of the Protected Marine Areas and tour of the French islands to promote overseas maritime activities development).


Why fund it?

What is the purpose of this fundraising?


With committed economic, academic and institutional partners, Eco-Sailboat has already secured over half of its construction and operation budget for its 100% eco-innovative sailboat.


In order to raise the rest of the budget, Eco-Sailboat wishes to gather sponsors and patrons who share our conviction that eco-innovation is the solution to the economic and ecologic challenges of maritime activities development.


But private citizens – sea users or those simply sensitive to the maritime environmental challenges - can also help us raise this money and contribute to the launch of this ambitious project. Whatever your means, we need you! Join the crew of Eco-Sailboat!




We give you the opportunity of financing the heart of the project “Eco-Sailboat” without which this sailboat will never come into being: the collaborative platform.


How indeed can we build a sailboat in four years when eco-technology research will still take many years? How do we make about twenty committed businesses and research centres work together on the construction of this sailboat? It truly is an industrial challenge!


To accomplish this, we must set up a collaborative platform which will allow each of the designers to keep pace with the other partners. Like an orchestra, each instrument plays a different score, but thanks to the composer and the conductor, it becomes a masterpiece. We want Eco-Sailboat to be a masterpiece!


And so, we need a team of experts specialized in the construction of sailboats and in complex industrial operations to pilot this project. We also need to set up tools allowing our partners to communicate efficiently with one another and with external partners about the status of the development and construction of their own part of the boat.


Your donation will allow us to free eco-technologies, to bring them to light and to unite them to build Eco-Sailboat: eco-built, clean and energy self-sufficient.


€160,000  means €40,000 a year for 4 years, allowing the collaborative platform to work and the sailboat to be built.


We thank you for your participation and for spreading the word about Eco-Sailboat around you!


For this campaign, we are happy to have the association Echo-Mer on board, they are providing the objects made of recycled sails.


Echo-Mer’s vocation is to give a second life to boat sails and advertising banners, to transform them into various products for individuals and companies. Each piece is unique and hand-made by sewers in job integration programs.


Thanks to Echo-Mer, the waste no longer goes to incinerators or landfills. To discover their range of products, visit their website on “boutique.echo-mer.com”.  





Alumarine - Beyond The Sea - Cousin Trestec - Crain Technologies - DCNS - Ephèse - Evea - Hydrocéan - Karver - Ifremer - IPB Institut Polytechnique de Bordeaux - Multiplast - Nautix - NKE - Oleo Systems - Plastimo - UBS Université de Bretagne Sud - VPLP - Watt & Sea 

Catherine Chabaud

Catherine Chabaud: She was the first woman to complete a solo round-the-world voyage, non-stop and without assistance (Vendée Globe); she is involved in the Sea Initiatives/Grenelle de la Mer and today, she is an advisor for the Economic, Social and Environmental Council. She is recognised for her commitment to raise awareness about oceans and to promote... See more

FAQ Questions about the project

+ What is « Eco-Sailboat”?

What is a sailboat of the future? A faster sailboat? A more comfortable sailboat? A safer sailboat? It is all of this. But for us, it is first and foremost a sailboat which lives up to the challenges of the 21st century: how to continue to live well without exhausting our resources and destroying our planet. It is a sailboat which integrates the three challenges for a lesser impact on the environment: building with less non-renewable raw material; producing and consuming renewable energy; navigating and discovering the oceans without polluting them.

+ Why build a sailboat?

Sailing is clearly one of the greener modes of transport, but building a sailboat has for us two major interests: an industrial interest and a communication interest. The industrial constraints on the construction of a sailboat are its size, its weight and the constraints of the marine environment on the materials. For eco-technologies to be integrated into a sailboat, a significant work of research is necessary to miniaturise, lighten and adapt the innovations to the marine environment. Once adapted to recreational crafts, we will be able to apply these technologies to other sectors. The sailboat is a mini-house, mini-city, mini-world which symbolizes the quest for autonomy that we collectively aim for.
Moreover, sailing embodies strong images, and to promote the sustainable development of maritime activities, an ambassador-sailboat is a tremendous vehicle as it will be able to carry this message over all the seas around the world.

+ Why does the project need your support when it is already endorsed by the State and the Regions?

Today, thanks to the State’s Investments of the Future and the support of the regions involved in the project, we have collected half the amount we need to complete the research and development of each eco-technology and the construction of the sailboat. We now need to attract sponsors and patrons and begin construction so that the sailboat is built by 2018.

Newest comments

Un p'tit pouce pour la réalisation de l'ambassadeur des mers. A bientôt. Catherine
Allez VPLP, NKE et AlexPicot
Bonjour Catherine, une contribution individuelle pour l'instant pour un projet qui s'annonce extraordinaire. J'ai hâte de voir les prochaines étapes. A très vite. David (Garbous)