An unusual situation has arisen for the first SailGP event of season 2 at Sydney next weekend, where there will be a mix of rigs across the one-design fleet.
The series now has seven teams, two new. But due to constraints on the production of the new improved modular wing, only two new wings have been completed in time for the Sydney SailGP opening event.
The SailGP organisation felt it prudent to allow the two newest teams to use the new wings for Sydney.
So Spain and Denmark will be racing with the new modular wing, restricted to 24 meters to match the old wings on the other five team boats.
This could give the two newbies an advantage, as the new wing has big improvements with the control systems and they also have four flaps rather than three, and they are controllable at each point on these flaps.
In a recent interview for Tip & Shaft newsletter, Russell Coutts said that they will be able to . . . “power up and depower more efficiently and so they will be more efficient in the manoeuvres tacking and gybing.”
It will be interesting to see if the Spanish and Danish teams can gain an advantage, despite their lack of experience on the foiling F50 multihull.
In addition all the boats have been fitted with a lighter, better battery solution this year, and this plus the new wing – available to all the fleet from San Francisco onwards – could see speeds of between 53-54 knots.
This will be challenging as the foils start cavitating on the high speed foils at around 48 knots of boatspeed.
In order to drive greater speeds, Coutts believes they will require be new foils, and the SailGP design team, led by Mike Drummond, will be looking at different foil geometries and being able to change to a more high speed section shape while sailing.
Coutts expects that this year, depending on sea conditions, they will be able to race up to close to 30 knots of wind.
And that when the big wing comes on stream the boats will be foiling in about 1.5 knots less wind than they currently do.
Read more in the Tip & Shaft newsletter
The F50 is a development, one-design class. This means the boats that take to the race course at each event are identical. Any performance difference is due to the skill of the crew.
Wing Height: currently 24 meters, evolving to a 18m heavy air wing and a 28m light air wing.