The F50 is a revolutionary new concept in sailboat racing. A showcase of cutting-edge technology developed over the past 10 years.
Powered by a 24-meter wingsail and flying above the water on hydrofoils, the F50 marks a huge step forward. The new upgrades are expected to produce a 15 percent performance gain across most racing conditions compared to the AC50 class of 2017.
The F50 is predicted to exceed 50 knots of boat speed.
The entire fleet has been extensively modified with new foils and board cases, new rudders and elevators, new hydraulics and electronics, a new cockpit layout for five crew, a new steering system, and a new flight control system operated by a joy stick. The beam fairings and systems have been refined to allow more efficient pack up and assembly.
The foil rake, cant, wing twist and jib sheet adjustments will be powered by battery, making it possible for them to be adjusted by at least three crew members. The wing sheet adjustment will be powered manually by the two grinders.
Rudder pitch will be actively controlled allowing the trim/attitude of the boat to be set irrespective of the ride height.
The new foils are constructed with higher modulus carbon fiber and the geometry has been modified to promote more righting moment and increase the boat speed prior to the onset of cavitation. The lower section of the rudders is manufactured in high strength stainless steel to reduce drag.
During 2019, new wing sails will be constructed with a new geometry and control systems, improving performance at both ends of the wind spectrum. The aim is to be able to effectively conduct competitive racing in wind speeds from 4-30 knots.
For light wind sailing, studies are also being performed to analyze the performance gains of dynamic wingsail control systems.
The F50 is a development, one-design class. This means the boats that take to the race course at each event are identical. Any performance difference is due to the skill of the crew. This is the huge benefit of one-design racing, and serves to promote close, exciting racing with an unpredictable outcome.
However, unlike most one-design classes, the F50 remains open to development. Top designers and engineers will constantly improve and evolve the boats to increase their performance and ensure they remain cutting edge. Ideas and designs will be tested and then implemented on each boat at the same time, ensuring each improvement is applied equally across the fleet, making the racing faster and more competitive.
On-board cameras will deliver point-of-view racing while on-board microphones will give race fans the sensation they are on the race boat, as they listen in on the winning tactical calls.
All data recorded from all boats will be transmitted to the team coaches who will be able to analyze the data and communicate with their crews at pre-determined times during a race. These communications will be broadcast giving spectators a greater appreciation of the reasons why one crew may be outperforming another.
The shared data will also be used to create a unique second-screen experience where fans will be able to select up to two teams to follow and receive key performance data from their boats. All of this will be integrated into the most fan-friendly and informative race broadcast the sport has ever produced.
Crucially, the F50 catamarans can be disassembled and transported between venues in standard 40-foot shipping containers. The boats can be assembled and readied for racing in each venue within 48 hours of arrival at the event village.