Wing sail Oppie

See it to believe it....

Tuesday May 3rd 2011, Author: James Boyd/Oracle Racing, Location: New Zealand

Well we've seen a foiling Oppie (below), now with the America's Cup going wingsail, so this technology has been adapted by the Oracle Racing team for the blunt bowed youth dinghy.

Several of the offspring of Oracle Racing’s teammembers own Optimists, so in a moment of downtime the design team took the initiative to adapt a wingsail for the popular training boat and this was trialled recently prior to the New Zealand Optimist Nationals.

“The idea came about when talking with some 470 sailors at Wakatere Boating Club, who are always building things for boats or skateboards or surfboards,” said Oracle Racing's Mike Drummond. “The top section of our A-class catamaran wing is removable, and about the same size as an Opti rig. It was very easy to add a standard Opti mast tube to be able to step it into a normal Opti.”

The wing was constructed with the aid of James Turner and Logan Dunning-Beck, the 470 sailors from the Wakatere Boating Club.

“James made up the plywood control arms, Logan rigged it up; then it was stepped and sailed within a couple of days,” Drummond said. “The rig is a little far forward so the helm is a bit light, but it sails easily. It hasn’t lined up against a conventional rig though – as you can see it is a bit smaller in area.”

When it was trialled ahead of the nationals Drummond was impressed the sailors asked very good questions about how the wing works and why it has a slot. The wing isn’t class legal so it won’t be seen on the racecourse in the immediate future, but down the road wingsail technology will undoubtedly become widespread.

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