Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Will the Cat Have the Advantage over the Trimaran at the America’s Cup?

The specifications for the boats have been established but will Alinghi’s catamaran have an advantage over the tri-hulled BMW Oracle?

Sailing World has an interview on this question with multihull designer and sailor, Pete Melvin. He has been contracted to assist BMW Oracle racing with its challenge for the 33rd America’s Cup in the United Arab Emirates in February 2010.

The podcast looks at issues of weight and windage and the way teams must get their boats structurally strong without adding too much of a burden through the water.

Is there more weight in a trimaran?

Below the Waterline
This interview gets technical with its discussion of truss structures, power hydraulics and geometrical challenges.

But then there is the issue of how these designs will handle the conditions on the Persian Gulf. How fast will the winds blow off Ras al Khaimah? How much pitching in rough seas should the teams expect and which craft will handle the roughness best?

Most Innovative Boat
Melvin is asked which of the teams has the most innovative design and he hints that there is quite some slack in the rules for new measures to be added to optimize the speed of the boats.

Your View
If you were racing in the UAE America’s Cup, would you rather be aboard the cat or the tri?

Listen to the podcast and see whether this changes your views.

2009 Podcast Series: Interview with Pete Melvin, Sailing World, 10 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Looking Down on Abu Dhabi, Experiencing the Emirates, 19 August 2009.

Fujairah the Scene of a Fantastique Spy Escape, Fujairah in Focus, 18 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: Pete Melvin.