It’s a kite! It’s a boat! It’s a ‘kiteboat’!
ZWOLLE _ After months of experimenting, the “kiteboat” goes on sale in the Netherlands. “Kitesailing is the newest form of sailing,” says J. Peter Renssen of Kite Tender. He recently unveiled a prototype _ a 6.5-monohull with an open transom, a centerboard but no mast. Propelled by a kite, the first production model will be available soon. Also planned: a kiteboat crossing to England. Shadowed by a conventional boat. Just to be safe.
“Since the launch of the prototype, I spoke with many people who were very enthusiastic about the concept.” His Kite Tender comes equipped with a small outboard engine, an off-the-shelf kite and will retail at about €20,000. Also available is a special race kite. A kiteboat cannot come about so you’ll be jibing a lot, but without the heart-stopping anxiety. In the Kite Tender, 20-meter kite lines lead from a cockpit traveler that sits higher than the craft’s freeboard. In kitesailing, you steer the kite through the air with lines that increase or decrease the power.
Renssen’s Kite Tender is not designed to break speed records. It’s built for both sailors and kite surfers. And for waters where traditional sailboats cannot come due to draft issues. “What we have developed is a boat that is above all practical and safe. That’s made for leisure sailing, that you can launch quickly and has a larger action radius than traditional sailboats,” says Renssen. He is offering kite sailing lessons.