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Posts Tagged ‘BMW Oracle Trimaran’

The future of Sailing from the Moth Worlds

January 7th, 2011 No comments

One has to look no further than the Moths to see where sailing is heading.  Forget giant mulithulls and the America’s cup – to my mind there is nothing more beautiful and exciting than seeing these little dinghies come out of the water and take on an entirely new perspective and speed.

It’s not just that they are so much faster than their water borne siblings – its also the beautifully symetrical balance achieved by canting to windward and allowing the sail and the wind to carry the weight of the crew.

We saw some of this mast cant on the BMW Oracle AC trimaran, and you see it a lot on the ORMA 60s and grand priz multihulls, but nowhere is it quite so obvious and pronounced as in the moth class and of course on the windsurfer – the origin of the concept.

I think mast cant has been restricted on bigger boats because of the physical difficulties in achieving it, and perhaps with this new genre some of these will be addressed to produce an entirely new way to sail fast across oceans on a large boat.  Cant wait!

Coutts rates failure chance at 30%

February 8th, 2010 No comments

According to Eurosport Russell Coutts (CEO – BMW Oracle Racing) rates the chances of failure as high as 30%!  This is in line with some of my comments over the past few months – it may well end up being the boat that manages to finish that wins.

Still waiting for wind in Valencia.  BMW weighing in 4 tons heavier than Alinghi, 5m higher rig and of course that huge wing rather than a more conventional soft cloth sail.

Beauty and the Beast. Let the games begin…

Beauty and the Beast – Alinghi vs USA

February 5th, 2010 No comments

Next week monday two very different boats take to the water in a best of 3 race series.  Alinghi – the Swiss entry – is a beautiful, stiff and light catamaran.  Clearly able to sail in very light air she looks to be the favourite for low wind conditions. BMW Oracle – USA – is a typical american – loud, brash and strong.

Prior to the fitting of the wing sail to USA this scribe would not have rated her chances against the beauty that is Alinghi.  A clearly heavier boat, with a trimaran configuration that is only as efficient as the cat if the center hull is out the water.  Added to that this is a bendy boat (she clearly flexes – stiff it is not) and it all looks a bit messy.

But what have we seen in the past few months?  USA flies her center hull in nearly all conditions, so she is more a cat than a tri.  Very early on they removed the centerboard and rudder on the center hull.  She added a wing sail that made her way more powerful without adding load to those obviously stressed hulls.  If she does emerge victorious this wing sail will be the weapon that delivered the knockout punch.

The wing is almost twice as efficient as a normal cloth sail in delivering lift (propulsion).  Added to that it is a lot easier to control which means they were able to go bigger with the wing.  And that they did!  Just compare the picture below of Alinghi to the USA one below that and it is clear that the wing is a huge sail area advantage (remember you can almost double its size in terms of the propulsion it can supply).  So now we have a somewhat bendy, relatively heavy, trimaran that looks more like a cat with a sail plan that could just make the difference.

On the Swiss side we have a work of art – a catamaran built to outclass every cat before it – an absolute picture of perfection.  Except it doesnt have a wing sail.  Is this important?  They say not. Not much change for some time on Alinghi apart from the centerboards.  USA went from a straight board to C shaped boards to provide added lift on the leeward hull.  Alinghi, interestingly, went the other way. They launched with really interesting looking S shaped foils but now seem to have settled on straight ones.

Alinghi in Valencia (c) Ed Baird / Alinghi

Alinghi in Valencia (c) Ed Baird / Alinghi

Look at how perfectly setup that rig is.  Forestay nice and tight.  Sails beautifully shaped.  Hulls parallel (no twist).  Clearly a boat that is perfection in the design that it is.

So – will Beauty slay the Beast?  Monday will probably yield the answer.  Clearly the weather will play a huge role, but I dont go with the argument that USA will struggle in light air – they have shown with this massive wing that they can fly the center hull in glassy conditions.  Having said that,inidications are that there will be a fair amount of wind Monday, so it may end up being a heavy air race.

I doubt that by the end of the first race there will be a series left.  I expect one boat to dominate – they are just too different for it to be otherwise.  My money is undecided at this point, although the wing would seem to tip it in USA’s favour.

One outcome still quite possible is significant failure of either boat.  These are huge boats, with significant loads and forces.  Dont rule out surprises!

I will be in Valencia tomorrow to check the boats out first hand.  More from the front line!

BMW Oracle pushes a bit

February 4th, 2010 No comments

The boys are seeing how far she can go it would seem.

Huge sail area - not much breeze

Huge sail area - not much breeze

Mammoth Machine

Mammoth Machine

Go boys go!

Go boys go!

Jury throws out BMW Oracle’s issues and the race looms closer

February 3rd, 2010 No comments

Here is a press release from Alinghi this morning.  In other cup news, there is a fair amount of local controversy looming over the chemicals being released into the water under the USA boat that reduces the friction and in the process changes the colour of the water.  Despite being “environmentally friendly” it does seem to make rather a mess!

The ISAF appointed International Jury for the America’s Cup ruled early Wednesday morning on the redress brought by the challenger BMW Oracle

Valencia, Spain – (2010-02-03)

Five requests for redress were brought before the International Jury by BMW Oracle in their ongoing litigation ahead of the 33rd America’s Cup which is scheduled to start on 8 February. The five-member Jury issued a decision in the early hours of Wednesday morning stating that the America’s Cup organising authority (OA), Société Nautique de Genève (SNG), is correct in setting a start time for the race at 10:06. There is no Deed of Gift requirement for the start time to be agreed with the challenger as the OA has the responsibility to set the start time.

The Jury also ruled that the Deed of Gift shall prevail over any other conflicting rule and the SNG will amend the Notice of Race (NOR) and Sailing Instructions (SI) to further reinforce this. In another decision, the Jury confirmed that SNG’s race committee will be responsible for determining whether to start or continue a race and in doing so has the obligation to comply with applicable safety and legal obligations. This will be reflected in the Notice of Race (NOR).

While the challenger’s request for redress regarding their intention to dump substances in the sea while racing was denied, the Jury reinforced the fact that all applicable laws must apply to any discharge while racing. The competing parties mutually agreed to modify the rules regarding detection equipment at the challenger’s request.

“We welcome the Jury’s involvement and decisions for the sport. We are confident racing will go ahead as scheduled on Monday – weather permitting – and we are looking forward to finally getting this competition on the water,” said Alinghi team skipper and tactician Brad Butterworth.

BMW Oracle Trimaran in Valencia

January 24th, 2010 No comments

The BMW Oracle Trimaran has sailed in Valencia.  And up to 4 times the speed of the wind at that!

Huge rig canted to windward

Huge rig canted to windward

Arguments still abound over just about every aspect of this race, but it will all be academic if these boats dont make it round the track, and that must be on the minds of some of the participants.

Who needs wind?

Who needs wind?

What is clear is that this boat does not need much wind to strut its stuff.  There is an excellent video of the boat on The Daily Sail – you will need to subscribe but its worth a look.

BMW Oracle Wing, Alinghi in Valencia

January 19th, 2010 No comments

Happy 2010 all you out there!  Here we have some great pics of the latest from Valencia.  All is well as we come close to the February match date.  Or is it?

Not really.  You see – they are still squabbling!  The Americans say the Swiss have sails not made in Switzerland.  The Swiss say their sails are made in Switzerland, and anyway the rules dont cover sails.

Whether the rules cover sails has yet to be agreed by a judge – and it seems that is the only way anyone can agree on anything in this ridiculous match.  For what its worth, my reading of the rules says “sails not included”.  But I’ afraid that’s not really worth that much 🙂

Anyway – let’s just enjoy the amazing spectacle of the Americans putting that gigantic mast up and the Swiss pottering about offshore in the cold waters of winter in Valencia (I am sure a lot of the sailors would rather be in the gulf).

How's that for a huge sail!  BMW Oracle Wing Sail being hoisted.

How's that for a huge sail! BMW Oracle Wing Sail being hoisted.

On the water - probably glad there is no wind!

On the water - probably glad there is no wind!

Your author is nothing if not meticulously fair – here are two pics of our favourite Catamaran – Alinghi – also in Valencia.

Alinghi Catamaran rests at her berth

Alinghi Catamaran rests at her berth

Alinghi Catamaran pottering about in Valencia

Alinghi Catamaran pottering about in Valencia

BMW Oracle Wing – more pics

November 13th, 2009 No comments

WOW!!!! That is really all there is to say about this.  The most awesome change to a boat I have seen in years!  Anyone who doubted the BMW team’s ability to adopt their boat to what looks like being a light air race has to look at this stuff.  Here we have this huge wing-sailed trimaran in what looks to be glassy conditions flying the center hull!

BMW Oracle Trimaran exposing its belly

BMW Oracle Trimaran exposing its belly

More pics below.  For an excellent article subscribe to the Daily Sail!

No centerboard - center hull in the air

No centerboard - center hull in the air

BMW Trimaran Sails with the new mast

November 11th, 2009 No comments

Well – they got it away!  Sailing with a wing instead of more traditional mast and sail, the BMW trimaran tested their new wing today.  The sheer scale of this should not be under-estimated.  It is bigger than a 747 Wing, and I guess they have to take it down when not sailing since the boat would take off on its own if the wind came!

BMW Oracle maiden sail with new Wing

BMW Oracle maiden sail with new Wing

From the BMW Oracle website:

The American Challenger of Record for the 33rd America’s Cup left the dock with its giant wing sail attached for the first time, marking a major milestone in the campaign.

The wing was first unveiled on Sunday evening, when the tent where it had been assembled was opened up. After a day of load testing, in the early hours of Tuesday morning it was attached to the BOR 90 trimaran for the very first time.

“This is just an amazing moment,” said James Spithill, the helmsman for the team. “As sailors, we’re just very excited to try this out. We can’t thank the guys on the build and shore teams enough as they’ve put in a massive effort to get this ready for us.”

A wing of this scale has never been built for a boat. In terms of size, the wing on the BOR 90 dwarfs those on modern aircraft. Towering nearly 190 ft (57 m) above the deck, it is 80 percent bigger than a wing on a 747 airplane (102 ft / 31 m).

Getting the BOR 90 off the dock with the wing was a major mission in itself. The wing needed to be attached to the boat in near calm conditions, before Spithill carefully maneuvered away from the dock with the wing down, in a horizontal position, assisted by numerous RIBs.

Hoist the mainsail!

Hoist the mainsail!

The first several testing sessions will consist of gently working up the loads on the boat and wing as the sailors become familiar with the new system.

Full-scale testing of the cutting-edge rig will continue over the coming weeks as the team prepares to face Alinghi in the America’s Cup Match in February 2010.

Oracle Wing Mast Unveiled

November 9th, 2009 No comments
BMW Oracle Trimaran Wing Mast

BMW Oracle Trimaran Wing Mast

The latest development by the BMW Oracle Racing team was unveiled today when an enormous solid wing sail was prepared to be wheeled out of the tent at the team base in San Diego. Perhaps they are not so upset at losing their rig last week after all!
A wing of this scale has never been built for a race boat. In terms of size, the wing on BOR 90 dwarfs those on modern aircraft. Towering nearly 190 ft (57 m) above the deck, it is 80 percent bigger than a wing on a 747 airplane (102 ft / 31 m).

The primary advantage of the wing over a soft sail is that it is easier to control and does not distort. This makes it easier for the trimmers on board to maintain an optimum aerofoil shape in a wide range of conditions.

Full-scale, on-the-water testing of the wing will begin later this week as the team resumes sea trials in preparation for the 33rd America’s Cup Match in February.