A History that Inspires


An Extraordinary Trimaran that Inspires Extraordinary Achievements.


An early version of Planesail was designed and built by John Walker to test his revolutionary Wingsail concept.

This article was published in Design Magazine, in 1968.


John Walker, an aircraft designer working on Concorde, designed and built Planesail, at Devonport Dockyard, Plymouth, UK.

She was a no expense spared build using modern aircraft construction techniques, using the latest high tech materials like epoxy laminates, Nomex, Airex foam, carbon and glass, and cost several million.

Planesail was later also called Blue Nova and Inventure.

1991 See Video

Planesail made history as the first Wingsail yacht to cross the Atlantic. Though heavily landen for her transatlantic voyage, she achieved speeds of 18 knots.

She also encountered hurricanes Claudette & Andrew.

John Walker reported:

The wind had gone “off the clock” at 50 knots by midnight and stayed there for several hours as the noise of the wind continued to increase. We can only estimate that it reached perhaps 60-70 knots. Plenty, anyway. From later analysis of information from our GPS, log and the Hurricane Centre in Coral Gables, Florida, it seemed that we had passed around 60 miles from the core of Madame Claudette, and if we hadn't been able to gybe Blue Nova round we should have gone straight on into her centre.


Sailing Blue Nova up towards Manhattan Island past the Statue of Liberty was a great moment for us all, and TV film shot from a circling helicopter made it straight on to the evening news. A charming Customs man didn't even bother to look at our passports, let alone search the ship. He cheerfully made out our Cruising Permit and wished us a happy stay in the US.

1995 - Cowes Week

The Duke of Edinburgh spent 4 hours on board with only his personal bodyguard, the designer John Walker, and a photographer.


28 February: The Next Challenge Ltd, set up by Trevor Jones in 1995, purchases Planesail from Walker Wingsail plc.

Planesail was customized by Simon Rogers for a circumnavigation by wheelchair bound quadriplegic, Trevor Jones.

Trevor intended to be the first quadriplegic to sail around the world.

Trevor was the Navy pilot who plucked Virgin tycoon Sir Richard Branson to safety after his transatlantic balloon crashed into the Irish Sea in 1987.

14 October: Trevor throws the orange gauntlet at Richard Branson's feet at 10 yr rescue reunion on HMS Endurance, challenging him, wagering that Trevor would be the first to make it around the world in a customized yacht, before Branson made it around the world in a balloon.


11 December: Trevor sails Planesail, renamed Inventure, to London, were she was unveiled with the help of the Duke of York.

2001 - New Daggerboard

Nigel Irens locates a suitable new daggerboard to replace the centerboard of Planessail, for improved windward performance. It is from the French racing trimaran Primagaz.

The daggerboard is purchased for £8,000 and Simon Rogers designs the new slot for it using carbon fibre.

2001 - Around Britain

As a preparation for his circumnavigation, Trevor does the Around Britain Challenge starting the challenge on 8 August, and completing it on 19 November.

His circumnavigation attempt had to be cancelled because of poor health.

Wheelchair sailor prepares for record. BBC News

Quadriplegic skipper's adventure thwarted. BBC News

Disabled skipper fights illness. BBC News

Round-Britain skipper sails on. BBC News

Disabled sailor's hopes dashed. BBC News



Inventure Trust charity launched in London, with corporate sponsors on board. Planesail as Inventure was certified by Mecal to operate as a sailing vessel for disabled passengers.

New yacht for wheelchair sailors. BBC News


Planesail lost her Wingsail rig. The Inventure Trust continued to operate her as a Mecal certified charter motor vessel for disabled passengers.


Planesail purchased by current owner, who conducted an extensive refit to prepare her for long distance cruising.


Planesail cruised from Plymouth to the Algarve, via the Americas Cup at Cascais. The trip went smoothly, without incident.

Click to magnify a picture.

1968 John Walker at the helm of Planesail.
1968 John Walker at the helm of Planesail.
1991 Walker Wingsail Brochure.
Flying along.
1991 Saloon.
Master Cabin.
Steering Console.
Steering Console.
External Remote Controls.
Plymouth Sound.
Birds eye view.
1991 Atlantic Crossing.
Statue of Liberty salutes Planesail.
1995 Cowes Week.

Planesail with the Royal Yacht Britannia behind.

1995 Cowes Week.

The Duke of Edinburgh requesting permission to board Planesail.

The Duke of Edinburgh inspects the Wingsail.
The Duke of Edinburgh at the helm, with John Walker, the designer of Planesail.
Thank You Note from the Duke of Edinburgh.
1998 Sailing for the disabled.
1998 Sailing for the disabled.
1998 Trevor and Jan, Plymouth to London.
2001 Trevor leaving Plymouth at the start of the Round Britain Challenge.
Trevor during the Round Britain Challenge.
Trevor in the cockpit.
Trevor arrives in London.
2001 Trevor's route.
FIRE! - Tower Bridge, Fireboat Salute, Duke of York is aboard!
Party time, London 2002.
Party time with Duke of York, Tower of London behind
2002 Sailing for the Disabled..
2011 Brittany.
2011 Cascais. Americas Cup.
The calm before the race.
Wingsails in the Sunset.