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Doyle Sails’ design head Richard Bouzaid is looking forward to the sail making challenges of America’s Cup 36… but perhaps even more so to the trickledown to follow…
Predictably the return of soft sails to the America’s Cup under the new New Zealand-led regime has sailmakers rubbing their hands – not so much for the commercial prospects as for the potential design and technology leaps that will probably ensue. Having been forced to the sidelines by the hardwing technology of the past two Cup cycles, sailmakers are once again at the forefront of delivering the driving force for the 2021 iteration.
Richard Bouzaid, design chief at Doyle Sails, has long years of experience in America’s Cup, Whitbread and Volvo Ocean Race, Vendée Globe and other grand prix campaigns. He knows first-hand that nothing propels the game forward quite like the America’s Cup. ‘It will be very interesting to see what evolves in terms of the rules around soft sails. It will undoubtedly be good for our industry as a whole. It will allow the whole game to progress and introduce new ideas.’
Early concept drawings of the radical new foiling monohull for the 36th America’s Cup have shown a double luff mainsail, which is effectively an effort to create a smooth, wing-like transition from the mast to the sail. ‘That could become a more mainstream sailing solution down the track,’ Bouzaid acknowledges. ‘Lots of people have tried that sort of thing. Inflatable wings and double-sided sails are different ways of creating more efficient wing shapes. It is definitely conceivable that we will see this type of sail being used on production, cruising-type boats in the future. Read on.