Star Clippers have been in discussions with shipyards to build a new five-mast vessel for the line for delivery in 2010. Expected to be the largest, most expensive sailing vessel ever constructed, the 7,400-gross-ton barque is modeled on France II, which at 5,000 gross tons was the world's largest sailing ship when it was launched in 1912. The ship will be 518 feet long (157 meters) and 61 feet at the beam (18.5 meters) with a draft of 20 feet (6 meters). The vessel will carry 37 sails for a total of 68,350 square feet (6,350 square meters) of sail surface area. The rig will extend 217 feet (65 meters) above the waterline, and the open deck area will be an 8,200 square feet (2,500 square meters).
Although 48 percent larger than Star Clippers' Royal Clipper -- currently the largest full-rigged sailing ship in the world -- the newbuild will carry only 30 percent more passengers, with a double-occupancy capacity of 296 and a crew of 140. The ship has been designed to make it capable of operating independently of any port infrastructure. With its Ice Class C hull, extra heavy anchor gear, davit dampening system and specially modified tenders, the ship will be able to sail virtually anywhere in the world.
The newbuild is being constructed to the highest environmental, safety, comfort and security specifications to qualify for Det Norske Veritas certification. The propulsion system is diesel-electric, employing two Caterpilar generators that burn clean low-sulphur marine gas, instead of heavy fuel oil, supplying two Siemens electric propulsion motors to drive the twin screws.