Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Groupama 3 out - heading for Capetown

Franck Cammas and the crew aboard Groupama 3 are heading for Capetown after sustaining damage near the join between the port float and the rear beam 2 days ago. This ends their second attempt on the Jules Verne trophy for the fastest boat around the world non-stop. They have reduced sail to slow the boat as well as making some running repairs.

The damage occurred to a bulkhead inside the  rear part of the port float. Image © Groupama, used with permission.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing wing takes flight

Yesterday the BMW Oracle Racing team took their BOR90 trimaran for a sail off San Diego in its "version 4.0" configuration - with the world's largest wing replacing the soft sails of earlier trials.

The "2-element" wing is raised from the port side with a massive gin-pole. The aft "element" of the wing is divided into 6 sections which appear to be controlled independently, allowing its "twist" to be tuned.

Getting the BOR 90 away from the dock after the wing was attached for the first time was a complicated process. The wing needed to be attached to the boat in near calm conditions, before helmsman James Spithill carefully maneuvered away from the dock with the wing down, in a horizontal position, assisted by numerous RIBs. Apparently, while the wing is attached the boat swing at a mooring - since it won't be possible to de-power the rig at the dock.

All photos © Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing. Used with permission.

Monday, November 9, 2009

BMW Oracle Racing reveal the wing

The BMW Oracle Racing team have revealed their "secret weapon", a 57m (190ft) wing for their BOR90 trimaran. There had been a good deal of speculation that BOR were building a wing for the boat when two large and long items arrived by truck from their boat builder in Anacortes, Washington several weeks ago.
BOR will test the performance and handling of the wing in comparison to the soft sail which the boat has been using on sea trials for the past several months.
Having the wing ready at this point was fortuitous timing for BOR, as they broke the mast for their soft sail last week.
A solid wing like this is more efficient than a soft sail in aerodynamic terms, and it is easier to control than a soft sail. This is the largest wing-sail ever constructed for a sailing boat. Its height is larger than the semi-span of a 747 (57m vs 31m).

Photographs © Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing, used with permission.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Groupama 3 sets out for Jules Verne attempt 2

Franck Cammas and the crew aboard Groupama 3 have started on their second attempt to take the Jules Verne trophy. They left Ushant at 3:50pm November 5th sailing in a strong North-Westerly breeze and lumpy seas.
Their website features lots of updates from the boat as well as the mandatory course tracker allowing us to follow their progress.