It hasn’t been without its controversy, but the design of craft challenging for the 34th America’s Cup competition has created groundbreaking innovations in sailing boat design – a fundamental design that had remained reasonably similar for centuries.
These boats however are 72ft long (22m) and 46ft (14m) wide, have a huge sail that is 131ft (40m) high and is made in the same way as an aircraft wing. The craft itself is a catamaran (meaning there are two hulls) and has hydro-foils, so as the speed increases, the foils (what a layman might want to call a keel) lift the hulls out of the water so it literally flies above the water. The performance of these craft is truly remarkable.
This level of innovation hasn’t come easily – not to mention two high profile accidents where the boats literally ripped themselves apart such are the forces and stresses on the design. Such an accident on the Swiss Alinghi team led to the tragic death of a British sailing legend and Olympian Andrew ‘Bart’ Simpson.
Click here to see the whole video, or here if you want to see it rise out of the water on the foils and ‘fly’ above the waves.