Wing of desire

We look at the changes made to the BMW Oracle Racing tri and speak to Design Director, Mike Drummond
So finally BMW Oracle Racing’s solid wing sail has been revealed, but the sailing pics of the boat reveal substantial changes to the platform too. Significantly, considering the legal machinations going on over measurement - specifically whether a transom hung rudder is included in the measurement or not - the rudder and the daggerboard on the centre hull of the trimaran have gone, while the rudders in the floats appear to have been enlarged. This rudders on floats only is something we haven’t seen on a racing tri since the days of Formula 40 when they tried this on Jean le Cam’s Biscuits Cantreau tri. The loss of the daggerboard in the main hul – the board fitted with a trim tab - is more significant as the loss of this is likely to have a considerable impact on the tri's pointing ability. However clearly the team believe that they can get enough lift to weather from the curved daggerboards in their floats – the photos show a small vertical portion of the bottom of each board still sticking out when the boards are in their ‘raised position’, although this doesn't seem to be the 'hook' that featured on the end of the boards on the ORMA 60s. We hope this move to boards only in the floats doesn’t result in the same unfortunate outcome as that of Herve Cleris' Multi50 Prince de Bretagne, which also only had boards (albeit straight up and down ones) in her floats. So in short, the BMW Oracle Racing tri is heading towards becoming more of a D35-style quasi cat-tri. When it is light and the main hull is in the water, in theory she should have less wetted area than Alinghi’s cat (assuming the cat is also not flying her weather hull). In addition