Alcyone (ship)

Alcyone is the second research ship of the French oceanographer Jacques -Yves Cousteau. This was the early 1980s, the rotor ship, which is a combination of Sailboat and motor boat, plan and build. The Alcyone went on its maiden voyage in 1985 and is still used for the Cousteau Society go.


Alcyone has to support the diesel engine a modified Flettner rotor drive with two cylinders that utilize the Magnus effect. Jacques -Yves Cousteau, Lucien Malavard and Bertrand Charrier have on 23 December 1986, this type of drive, the Cousteau turbovoile French or English. turbo sail called, patented. The two cylinders provide about 25-30 % of the drive energy to support the screw drive.


A Flettner rotor, due to the Magnus effect produce about ten times more thrust than a square sail of equal area. When the wind blows against the rotating cylinder, it is entrained on the front side of the cylinder and flows faster there. On the rear side of the cylinder it is braked and flows more slowly. Generating vacuum pressure in front and behind, which is exerted on the cylinder at right angles to the flow direction. Depending on the course to the wind as the Magnus effect can be converted into propulsion.

Instead of the rotation of the rotor of the Magnus effect is caused by a draft in Cousteau suction of the boundary flow along the sides of the cylinder. This modification of the Flettner rotor has a lower efficiency, but avoids the technically more complex generation of cylinder rotation and also allows the installation of lighter cylinder.


  • Completion: April 1985
  • Load capacity: 76 t with loading The Alcyone on 1 June 2008 in Concarneau. In the background, the Calypso is to be seen.
  • Length / Width / Depth: 31.4 m / 8.8 m / 2.2 m
  • Propulsion: diesel engine and two modified Flettner rotors ( Turbovoiles )
  • Rotor: Height of the rotor: 10,2 m
  • Surface: 21 m²
  • Diameter: 1.35 m

Calypso II

Cousteau was planning a larger ship with Turbovoile drive, but died before the idea was implemented. The Calypso II should be 66 meters long and can accommodate 36 people, including 15 crew members. A helicopter, a submarine and a hydrofoil they should also carry.