Wings at the World Yacht Racing Forum

Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing
Engineer Andrea Avaldi, C-Class guru Steve Clark and BMW Oracle Racing's Manolo Ruiz de Elvira share their insights
One session not to be missed at the Design & Technology Symposium earlier this week was the session on ‘Overcoming Challenges to Produce A Winning Multihull Design for America’s Cup 34’. For this the speakers were Vincent Lauriot Prevost (the LP in VPLP), engineer Andrea Avaldi of ABS Advanced Structural Design, currently working for Artemis Racing, C-Class guru Steve Clark and BMW Oracle Racing’s Design Director, Manolo Ruiz de Elvira, ably moderated by our esteemed colleague, Dobbs Davis. Sadly we missed Vincent Lauriot Prevost’s presentation, but managed to catch the rest... Andrea Avaldi was discussing the structures of solid wing rigs when we arrived and was making the interesting comparison between the wholly different load cases of an aircraft wing and a solid wing sail. The former typically faces 500-800 kg/m2 of load compared to just 10-20 kg/m2 for an AC72. So a factor of 40x less... We hold solid wing sails up with rigging, the airplane equivalent of the Sopwith Camel. Modern aircraft wings are essentially cantilever beams, the equivalent of an unstayed mast. While this might be practical on a trimaran, it seems unlikely it would be on a catamaran where the wing would be stepped on the already structurally complex middle of the main crossbeam. “We are going to go in a place with design which hasn’t been explored before,” said Avaldi. “Things can break, we are asked to push the design, because we are talking about the America’s Cup. For sure we will have problems, but problems in a healthy design process are always welcome. You obviously need to limit the amount of failure in your design, but the way you deal with failure will make your design successful or not.” He then handed over to the Little America’s Cup legend that is American Steve Clark, who aside from his