Wing It

Wing It

From our good friend John Casey, someone who knows a few things about ultra-fast multihulls:

I am absolutely blown away by the developments in the America’s Cup Deed of Gift (DoG) boats! Every time I see a picture of one or the other, I think there is no way there is a boat as fast as the one I’m looking at. Two incredible beasts for sure. Now both have wave piercing hulls and both have no problem flying hulls in little wind.

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about hard-wing sails, and it is common knowledge that both sides have contracted people who know how to design hard-wing sails. To approach this subject, I probably need to go into a little history of the hard-wing sail.

My introduction to hard-wing sails was in 1988 when the last America’s Cup Deed of Gift match was played out. Sir Michael Fay of New Zealand challenged Dennis Connor’s syndicate with a gigantic monohull called New Zealand (KZ1).

KZ1 is a “J-Class” yacht with a 90 foot waterline length. Without much time to counter with a J-Class of the same caliber, Dennis’ team noticed there was not a rule excluding a catamaran, so he contracted two catamarans with 45 foot waterline lengths. With two hulls 45 x 2= 90 foot waterline. I thought it was brilliant at the time. One of the boats was outfitted with a soft set of sails.  The other version of Stars & Stripes was equipped with a hard-wing.