HAVE WING, WILL FLY
Wing sails are an engineering and design masterpiece that have emerged in recent years to produce boats that can sail at remarkable speeds. SailGP Technologies harnesses the power of its in-house design team to leverage this dramatic scale and to create mechanisms to achieve the fine levels of control needed to create winners on the race course too.
A traditional sailing yacht carries a sail, traditionally canvas, more recently Dacron and exotic composite fabrics.
Sailors control the power and direction of the boat’s movement using the relatively limited parameters of mast bend and tweaks to tensions at the three corners of the sail, and its mainsheet/traveller system.
By contrast, the F50’s carbon-fiber wing sail, which stands between 18 and 29m (59-95ft) tall, contains numerous controls that enable impressive fine tuning of this mammoth structure that with adjustable flaps is more akin to an aeroplane wing than to a sailboat.
Unlike traditional sailors, who rely on their eye and feel of the boat to guide them, those on the F50 have sensors providing data on more than 30,000 live data points.
F50 sailors can, via the press of a button, adjust in fine detail the wing’s camber (its fullness or depth) and its twist (the difference between top camber and bottom camber). Using a sheet and winch, mast rotation is also adjustable.
Since these boats were conceived for the 34th America’s Cup sailed in San Francisco in 2013, SailGP Technologies has been at the forefront of not only design but of the build too.
SUGGESTION: INSERT A QUOTE FROM A SPOKESPERSON (DAVE RIDLEY?) ABOUT THE BUSINESS’S ROLE IN THIS DEVELOPMENT AND ABOUT HOW IT CAN BE EXPANDED TO OTHER INDUSTRIES, MOTORSPORT AND HOW THE SAILORS CAN’T DO IT WITHOUT THE DESIGN TEAM
And when you are out racing and the numbers are good and the boat feels good - that is the sweet spot. Understanding how to achieve that is the art that only years of practice, experience and athleticism can bring.