Catamaran technique - part 6

Today Helena Darvelid looks at how technology from other areas of multihull racing may affect the design of small cats
Helena Darvelid is one of the most successful women sailors in the world. The Southampton-based Swede is best known for the 24-hour record that she and the crew of Tracy Edwards’ maxi-cat Maiden set in June 2002, when they covered a staggering 697 miles at an average speed of 29.04 knots. In fact she has been involved in 12 successful record attempts during her career, including cross-Channel and round-Britain records. Although she started out in big multihulls, she has enormous enthusiasm for small cat racing, and competed earlier this year in the Hobie Tiger Worlds in Singapore with boyfriend Paul Larsen, currently working towards breaking the 50-knot speed barrier with his SailRocket project. Here Helena gives Andy Rice an insight into how cutting edge developments could trickle down to small cat racing. Being involved in the SailRocket programme, and also a British C-Class cat project for the Little America’s Cup, gives you some insight into how cat sailing might develop over the coming decade. The SailRocket craft has been designed to achieve speeds of 50 knots or more, while it is quite possible the C-Class cat will be capable of speeds up to 30 knots. The problem with these extreme speeds is cavitation in the foils and the rig. The high technical aspect of these projects really focuses the mind on just how much foils make a difference, and I think we will see far greater refinement of boards and rudders on small cats as we gain a better understanding of how they work. I haven’t been involved in the French 60ft tri circuit, but I suspect the curved foils and the canted rig technology could also be transferable to the small-cat scene (to read more about 60ft trimaran foils click here). I've recently been sailing in the