If the America’s Cup were a one-design battle, we’d likely see the awesomely talented Pete Burling and his ETNZ boys run away with it, just as Pete has done against largely the same competitors in the past few years of Moth and 49er racing. But even the highly restricted AC50 box rule allows enough design differences to likely take the ultimate prize out of the hands of the skippers, and the likeliest winner will be the team that can figure out how to get the most out of their foils, aero, and wing controls.
With variable ride control (à la the Moth) and changing foil shapes banned, designers tell us that variable foil bend characteristics may prove the key to the top speed puzzle. You can see just how much bend the Oracle Team USA trial horse is putting into their foils, as seen above and shot the other day in Bermuda. There’s plenty of carbon bending knowledge inside the sport – see Moth, Finn masts, for example – but could the importance of flexi-foils mean the F-1 connected design team at BAR have a real head start? After all, Formula One has been playing around with variable bend issues for a long time, most recently earlier this year.
Iron pumpers will recognize from whence comes our story title. For the rest of you, clicky.