That wing

BMW Oracle Racing's revolutionary solid wing sail
Gilles Martin-Raget BMW Oracle Racing
BMW Oracle Racing's revolutionary solid wing sail
We look at the nuts and bolts of the BMW Oracle Racing tri and its amazing solid wing sail rig
The 33rd America’s Cup may be a disaster from a legal standpoint, but it has created two of the most technologically advanced boats ever built and taken racing multihull design to a whole new inter-galactic level. In the multihull world there has been a long standing debate over whether trimarans or catamarans are superior on the race course. Looking at the different circuits around the world over the last 30 years or so and there is conflicting data about this. In France, both the Formula 40 and ORMA 60 saw trimarans very much dominate. Round the world in the Jules Verne Trophy catamarans have proved superior - something that could change in the next couple of months. Catamarans also have the upper hand in the less well reported, but highly active, multihull scene on Lake Geneva, where they have dominated the Bol d’Or for more than 20 years. And so with the two new America’s Cup multihulls we have two quasi-cat/tris. Instead of a centre hull, Alinghi 5 has her fore and aft spine system to provide fore and aft rig tension, similar to Ernesto Bertarelli’s Sebastien Schmidt/Jo Richards-designed triple Bol d’Or winning 41ft cat and the D35 one designs on Lake Geneva - a system first seen on Nick Keig’s Derek Kelsall-designed VSD offshore cat back in the early 1980s. Meanwhile BMW Oracle Racing’s tri began life as a 90ft inshore version of an ORMA 60, but over her lengthy evolution her floats were replaced with ones a third longer – substantially longer than her centre hull – and the conventional ORMA 60-style rudder and daggerboard on her centre hull were removed. So in terms of foils she is now just like a catamaran – with the boards in her floats preventing leeway as well as providing vertical lift (something they achieve