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Published 25.05.2014 | Author : admin | Category : Wooden Boat Building Kits

The scale of the wing relative to the crew is clearly evident in this training photo, as two of three hulls fly in light winds, powered by the wingsail and a bowsprit-mounted gennaker. The 33rd America’s Cup took place in Valencia, Spain, last February with a sleek catamaran, the 90-foot long, 80-foot wide Alinghi 5, sailing to defend the Cup for Societe Nautique de Geneve. By the time the first race took place on 12th February, many pundits had picked the challenger to win, but according to one of the men who engineered the boat’s wingsail and then kept it flying even as its designers made it 7.5 meters taller, the result was not a foregone conclusion. The effort by the challenger, BMW ORACLE Racing, to design, build, and compete in a machine such as USA required a large team of sailors, designers, builders, even scientists, and each had a key role to play and a unique perspective. For those who didn’t follow the prologue to the 33rd America’s Cup, the timing, location and many of the conditions for the event were essentially mandated by court decision, since the challenger and defender couldn’t agree between themselves. December 2007: Building commences in Anacortes, Washington, on a 90-foot trimaran for a race in an unknown location and date, possibly as early as July 2008 (but subsequently delayed repeatedly by legal proceedings). January 2009: Starting to build “M3”, a third mast, to try to improve light-wind performance. April, 2009: In addition to building M3, the design team meets in Valencia and gets the green light to build a wingsail, too, because of its potential to provide even more power in lighter winds. October, 2009: The wingsail is almost ready and arrives in several parts in San Diego for assembly.
November 10, 2009: The wingsail assembly is complete and fitted to the trimaran – the ball joint doesn’t quite fit at first and needs a few thousandths of an inch trimmed off.
November 12, 2009: Even though wingsails operate best without headsails because their shape can be made the fullest and most powerful, testing with headsails begins to ensure that even more power can be generated in light winds.
November 16, 2009: The bottom of the first of the aft-flap elements breaks off where the traveler line attaches. December 9, 2009: After less than a month of testing, the wingsail is disassembled for transport. January 18, 2010: Still wanting more power, Mike Drummond had wanted to build an extra element to extend the wingsail by 8 metres. January 20, 2010: Coal dust from a nearby industrial part of the Valencia port interrupts the raising and lowering one of the curved foils in the outboard amas (also called “floats”), costing the team half a day. January 23, 2010: “A great day of sailing,” Scott says, describing their first sail in strong winds, a prelude to some stormy winter weather on the Med. February 4, 2010: Part of the frame in the fourth aft-element flap is discovered broken, likely due to the drop, twelve days earlier. February 14, 2010: Race 2 starts in late afternoon, and Alinghi draws another penalty, this time for being inside the starting area when the sequence begins. Normally, Scott told me, when installing a mast on a big new racing boat, such as one of the Volvo Ocean Race 70-footer’s masts he is currently designing, you have six months to tune the rig perfectly.
A few days after our interview, Scott sent me an e-mail saying, “Although there were many challenges along the way, I had good confidence in all that we did, and a lot of pride that we delivered many engineering solutions against a very challenging time schedule. The team at BMW ORACLE Racing known as the WingSail Workshop included Tim Smyth (builder), Scott Ferguson, Steven Robert, Herve Devaux, Dave Hubbard, Andrew Gaynor, Christoph Erbelding, Dimitri Despierres, Thiha Win, Eduardo Sanchez, and Mike Drummond.


John Burnham has covered several America’s Cup matches and is past chairman of the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Selection Committee. Enjoy the freedom of the seas, the thrill of the race and the sweet taste of victory with the BMW Oracle model yacht of the famous America's Cup racing yacht. This Ready To Run Remote Control BMW Oracle 30" Limited Edition sailboat is sleek, graceful and agile. Lined up against her was USA, a trimaran that was 90 feet long and 90 feet wide, sailing for the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco.
This is an amazing story of innovation, a race against the clock to build something never done on this scale before – and to do it just in time for the Cup Match. For one insider’s view, we sat down a few weeks after the racing with Scott Ferguson, who designs high-tech masts from his office in Jamestown, Rhode Island, and Scott replayed the events of the previous year in fast forward. Given that the wingsail was raised experimentally for the first time in November, only three months before the eventual Match, the dominance of USA, winning each of the two 40-mile races on the Mediterranean by several minutes, is that much more remarkable. The team meets next in Anacortes and finalizes a list of materials needed, including carbon fibre, Kevlar, and Nomex core to carry the loads and fibre-reinforced aircraft-grade film spread across the structure to capture the power of the wind. Soon, M3 proves that the larger sails it flies can lift the trimaran’s centre hull out of the water sooner than the shorter M2. The wingsail has a smaller but more efficient sail area and theoretically will be able to fly two of the three hulls even sooner than M3. The team is faced with the question of whether M4 can be built in time for a Match that may take place on February 8th (but may not, given that several conditions for the racing are still being debated in court and between the teams).
Instead of rebuilding or replacing a ripped sail, this is a matter of rebuilding and reinforcing a piece of structure and reapplying the polyester film. The main element has a brief “flying” episode and elements are damaged as the structure is moved to the ship that will take boat and sail to Spain.
The Wingsail Workshop team gave him 7.5 metres (the same dimension as all the other elements), and with the new piece added, the wingsail is now 68 metres above the deck (223 feet). Small repairs are regularly needed to the wingsail, so it’s lowered every night – a time-consuming process. Mike Drummond tells the Wingsail Workshop team to come up with a “go sailing today” fix, simulating what they might have to do if this were a race day. USA enters the starting area flying two hulls (at a speed in the “high 20s,” the skipper says) and engages quickly with Alinghi 5, which is penalised for a right-of-way infringement. Mike Drummond had predicted that the wingsail could be ready after five weeks in the boat, and that’s almost exactly how it turned out. And congratulations to the whole BMW ORACLE team on making this 223-foot wingsail really fly. When he is not working on masts (and wingsails), Scott Ferguson is usually racing his Laser; he is the current Laser Masters world champion. Modeled after the American racing syndicate initially formed to compete in the 2003 America's Cup, the BMW Oracle 30" model is an absolute beauty.


In racing sailor’s terms, the challenger did a “horizon job” on the defender, winning the best-of-three series easily, 2-0. Only thing was, in the final months and weeks, the race’s location and starting date were up in the air, too, due to the legal proceedings. This included how he shifted from BMW ORACLE mast designer to wingsail engineer and an evolving role as “onboard designer” to keep an eye on the loads and tuning, and to help the sailors become more comfortable with the wingsail setup during practise sessions. At the same time, design chief Mike Drummond introduces the wing-sail concept to the team with an 18-foot A-Class cat, a singlehanded racing design rigged, in this case, with a wing sail.
The “mast” designed to support this assemblage is essentially a carbon box structure that rotates on a hinge made of titanium, bronze, and stainless steel.
Scott says, “If we hadn’t broken the rig, we’d have had to answer the question of which is faster. Damage isn’t severe, and, with the wing unloaded, Brad is able to tear away some of the film, pull on the pin, and pop it back in place!
With other repairs completed, the wingsail is raised for the first time in Spain, three weeks before the Cup is to start.
Sailing home without winches proves difficult, and then the unthinkable happens; a line breaks while lowering the wingsail and the trailing edge crashes down on the sea wall. After 20 minutes, they have a solution and cut pre-fabricated carbon plates to bolt into place to support the damaged structure. These boats need very little wind to race, but on this day a steady area of breeze can’t be found for a course that must go 20 miles upwind and then 20 miles back down.
Gradually, however, USA closes and just before the first mark of the 39-mile triangle course, the trimaran takes the lead. Scott is aboard, as he is most days now until the Cup starts: “We thought we’d go really slow,” he says, but soon Skipper James Spithill has the boat doing figure eights at 20 knots around the narrow harbor and asks, “Can we just fly the centre hull?” “Now’s as good a time as any,” Scott replies. The extra element is essentially unsupported by the primary shroud system; Scott spends much of the day looking up. James Spithill later calls this a “defining moment of the campaign,” because it gave the crew critical practice time handling the gennakers.
By the time the boats have sailed ten miles, however, the trimaran has sailed right past the catamaran and doesn’t look back. It has an aerodynamic fairing in front (the “nose”), a primary wing element behind it, and eight adjustable flaps, aft of the main element. Scott is following close behind in the team’s tender, and USA is going so fast he worries that a furled sailed could get loose (in what amounts to 35 knots of apparent wind aboard the boat) and break a control arm during a sail change, but the crew handles the sails perfectly.
Lines from the flaps lead around individual control arms, then down to a master-control system about 10 feet above the deck.



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