Lightweight garage #3 USA 17 America's Cupper

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Lightweight garage, News

The vehicle

Since the first America's Cup was sailed in 1851, the participating ships have been continuously developed and optimized. In 1937, the first boat with a mast made of duralumin was used. In 1983, a boat with a wing keel was crowned the winner for the first time. At the end of the 1980s, the first 12 m boat with a fiberglass hull took part. In 2007, the first boats with hulls and rigs made of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) were used, offering an enormous weight advantage combined with high strength and resilience. Three years later, the USA 17 America's Cup, a trimaran made of carbon fiber and powered by a hydrofoil sail. Another three years later, catamarans with Foilscomparable to water wings, which allow the boats to lift out of the water. In 2015, the technologies Foil and hydrofoil sails were used together on catamarans and enormous speeds were achieved. Two years later, further developments of these catamarans achieved speeds of up to 100 km/h. (Source: BMW Yachtsport)

The technology

The USA 17 was made almost entirely of CFRP, it is 34 m long and 27 m wide. Thanks to the use of CFRP, it is very light and can still withstand the stresses of a sailing regatta. The carbon trimaran is powered by a Hydrofoil mainsail with 630 m² sail area, a conventional foresail with 620 m² and a gennaker with 780 m² sail area.

The wing has a height of 68 meters, a wing depth of 3-14 meters and a width of 0.5-2 meters. The wing weighs 3.5 tons and consists of two components, the folding element and the main element. The main element consists of one piece that can be rotated around the mast and the rear part of the wing consists of nine individually trimmable flaps that allow the sail to be trimmed much more precisely than with conventional sails.

The wing is made of carbon fibers, Kevlar and a contracting coating from the aviation industry. As with an airplane wing, the flow around the wing creates a push side and a pull side, generating propulsion that can be up to three times greater than that of a conventional sail. (Source: BMW OracleRacing)

The lightweight aspect

At the last America's Cup, at the beginning of 2021 twin-skin-mainsailsdouble-walled mainsails filled with air, which promise a further weight advantage. Finally, a weight comparison: the first winner of the America's Cup in 1851, the America displaced around 154 tons with a length of 31 m. The USA 17 displaced around 17 tons of water with a comparable length of 34 m. We will find out what other new developments there are at the latest at the next America's Cup.

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