Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Flying A's

The success of Team Zealand in making their AC 72 fly makes us A-cat sailors hungry for the same thing.
I do get many questions about this.
The fact is that we already can fly. The configuration both Mischa and Landy used at the Worlds provide enough lift to make the boat fly, though not as smooth at ETNZ yet.
We do not believe that the Mayfly configuration is the right way to go as proven in Danmark. The objective is not to get an A-Cat flying but to get around the course faster.
The T-foilrudders give better control and lead therefore to somewhat higher and foremost more consistent speeds.
Current A-cat topspeeds are 25 knots (25,4 kts by Mischa in training without T-foils) and in two years time we will hit the 30 knot barrier (in 22-24 knots of breeze).
Next season we will see more T-foil and some L-foil rudders and the first steps towards new daggerboardshapes. We will do some testing over the winter as well. We all will get a better understanding about the ideal set-up by just playing with it.
The first step is get more consistent speeds over 20 knots downwind  and once we have accomplished this we can go for higher end speeds.
The foiling Moths can do it so there is no reason why we cannot.
My expectation is that this development can easily be retrofitted on current designs. Theoretically the hulls can become somewhat slimmer but the debacle of Oracle 17 learned that we better be safe than sorry.
As class we will benefit from the experiments in the AC, the C-class and projects like the Hydroptere.
These guys have the budgets and we we just pick what works. One should realize that making it work on an A-class is actually harder than on a AC72 as we do not have jibs, gennakers or code zero's to power us up.
Key remains to find low drag solutions, though the new more powerful rigs do help to get us out of the water.

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