Sailing yachts

"I never repeat a design.
This is why there is no place for our past achievements here."

Over the past forty years we have developed both the art and science of naval architecture; an inspirational sense of design is allied to a constant use of research and innovation – both are integral to every one of the 330 yachts completed to date. 

These boats have won many international competitions, and that is why America's Cup teams have engaged us to design the yachts that compete at this rarefied level. 

We believe that ‘performance’ incorporates the entire experience of sailing – everything from the speed, the motion, through to the technical efficiency and the comfort. Delivering this concept of performance to yacht owners is the driving principle of all our design endeavours.

We work until we have the single set of drawings that will match the needs and priorities of every yacht for each and every owner.

The search for beauty 

This is the first ‘raison d’etre’ for our profession.

Beauty refers to both the appearance and the soul, whether it be a person or a yacht. A yacht protects us, she is a trusted partner; her performance, her movement give her soul and this is her beauty.

We believe in a holistic approach to yacht design.

First come the hull shapes; the DNA, the body of the boat, the essence. The hull design is rooted in the past but reaches into the future with the science of fluids, of water and air – but naval architecture is also a combination of an aesthetic culture, rich in the lines of yachts past and present, in references from art and science.

Second we consider the shape of the living space. The designer must develop the space and its relationship to the outside, which we see through large areas of glass. We must work with this transparency to the outside and combine it with a safe structure to create this living space on the water.

In third, there is the coherence of the compromise. A boat can be just a hull – the epitome is the J Class, the most elegant of yachts. Or a boat can be just a living space on a platform on the water – the archetype is the modern catamaran.

The soul of the yacht resides in the priority, the relative proportions we give to these two features and the coherence with which we combine them. If the living space, the superstructure is important, then we must diffuse the lines of the hull into the superstructure so that the whole yacht can remain an expression of beauty.

The beauty is when the invisible meets the visible. 

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“I often dreamt my sailboat was flying.” Philippe Briand

A flying sailing yacht is the logical culmination of design for a naval architect who has worked, throughout his career, to decrease the hydrodynamic resistance created by the motion of a hull through water.

When the boat is above the air/water interface it is above the causes of discomfort at sea; the movement from the waves, the rolling and pitching.

The America’s Cup has brought the flying sailing yacht back into fashion, and Philippe Briand and his team are now developing these flying boat projects for a larger audience.

Now for the first time in the history of naval architecture, speed does not depend on length, and thus has become disconnected from the budget. What is the minimum size and minimum budget to experience flight aboard a sailing monohull like the new AC75 that will contest the America’s Cup in 2021?

There are already examples of blue water yachts that skim the waves in the Mini-Transat, the IMOCA class and others. The Skimming 94 is an existing project for blue water sailing to improve comfort at the sea which is so essential. The addition of a horizontal board will dampen both the transverse and longitudinal movements of the vessel. Philippe Briand and his team are developing an installation of this system aboard sailing yachts.

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Super Sailing Yacht

“The super sailing yachts are the masterpieces of our era.” Wolter Huisman

The owners of super sailing yachts are entrepreneurs, seeking to combine the best of art and craftsmanship with the most advanced science and technology.

We embrace those challenges as those owners push us to come up with solutions. Sometimes the required technology is developed at the same time as the design. This is the beauty of the super yacht industry. Innovation.

Energy efficiency

Today’s challenge is energy efficiency: the mega sailing yacht will be the first means of transport and habitat to incorporate total luxury and self-sufficiency with zero carbon emissions

The latest research in sail, spar and rigging technology has developed sail plans that can create propulsion of 1000 to 2000 kW. This energy can move a sailboat at speeds that are higher than those of motor yachts of equivalent size.

We believe that the development of intelligent hydro-generators will capture some of the energy produced by the sail-driven motion to charge battery banks. This will mean that even at anchor the boat will not need to burn fossil fuel energy.

This will enable a future in which sailing yachts can be carbon emission free!

Composite versus aluminium 

Philippe Briand designed the first super sailing yacht built in carbon composite material, the 45m Mari-Cha III. The yacht was a huge success, providing the initial owner with twenty years of service as the perfect family cruising yacht, but also breaking the trans-Atlantic record on October 24, 1998, with a time of 8 days, 23 hours, 59 minutes and 41 seconds.

Mari-Cha was built to a budget that was equivalent to an aluminium construction at the time. We have recently witnessed several composite super sailing yacht projects that have been cancelled because of inflated budgets. It need not be this way.

We recently drew a 59m project that exemplified the remarkable concept of minimal forces .This  because it creates a virtuous circle in the design process.

Low loading = less composite = less weight = drive for intelligent comfort on board = reactive performance = lower budget

It’s a concept that also results in designs with gorgeous, fair proportions. This is the key to a striking-looking design.

“The first function of a yacht is her aesthetics.” Philippe Briand


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Racing sailing yacht 

Philippe Briand has a passion for racing, winning two world championships as helmsman in his own designs, with his boats winning a further nine major world titles. He has been the chief designer for America’s Cup campaigns on four occasions. It’s for this reason that the decline in the construction of bespoke racing sailing yachts is painful to observe, mostly due to the constant inflation of the construction budget over the last ten years. This is why we prefer to design racing yachts to a maximum size of 100ft.  We are working on a new racing yacht project with the following criteria:

  • Reasonable size – 75-78 feet
  • Fast and fun for line honours and elapsed time victory
  • Transfer of adaptable technology from open class boats proven to be the fastest most reliable monohulls
  • Fair rating through IRC
  • Minimum number of sails, crew and low-cost maintenance
  • Innovative design solution to build the hull, deck and accommodation to cost

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Production monohull yachts

It is a gratifying ambition for a naval architect to enable as many people as possible to have access to the sailing life.

We work with the largest boat manufacturers in the world, BENETEAU, JEANNEAU, CNB and there are more than 12000 production boats to Briand designs sailing around the world.

The production sector calls for constant research. We are always striving to bring more comfort, space and better performance within each tightly controlled budget.

The best guarantee of quality for our customers are the 50,000 hours or development, research and design together with the engineering office of the yard ,that we spend on each model before we release the drawings. This is an incomparable devotion to our craft, with a large proportion of our team working on production sailing boats that will be released two or three years from now.

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The multihull is more than the future of sailing, it is the present. We drew some of the first racing catamarans at 70’ in carbon composite construction and with wing masts.

We are once again concentrating on this field, with research oriented towards the design of production sailing catamarans between 40 and 100 feet.

The designs will prioritise practical space planning, intelligent outdoor spaces on deck, fun sailing, with the probable addition of foils and all combined with striking aesthetics.

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Charter sailing

How do we extend interest in our wonderful sport of sailing in the future?

Each year, 25 million people sailing on cruise ships and charter boats. So there is clearly a future for this occasional sea-goer, particularly as younger generations prefer to rent than to own.

The logical conclusion is to develop purpose-designed and built charter sailing yachts.

The main players in this market are the charter companies and the brokerage houses. We want to serve them by designing sailboats specifically for their clients and purposes.

We have developed a first project, a 49 foot boat for the Jeanneau shipyard, part of the Beneteau group. The project is being presented to the charter companies and the launch of the first yacht is planned for the spring of 2019. We have other projects of different sizes in development for this market.

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Extreme Concepts

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