YACHTING

The answer's yes, but there's a big 'may be'

Friday 7 September 2012, 3:43PM
By Emirates Team New Zealand
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Emirates Team New Zealand has ended speculation on whether the team’s AC72 catamaran could lift itself clear of the water and sail on its dagger board foils.

Late last week sailing web sites and blogs were awash with speculation that the team was “flying” its AC72. Some pictures were circulated and comment ranged from yachties convinced they were genuine to skeptics equally certain they were the work of a skilled photo editor.

So today, the team comes clean…. yes, the AC72 can foil sailing downwind in a moderate breeze.

The question remains: can foiling be sustained safely on the short America’s Cup courses.

Emirates Team New Zealand managing director Grant Dalton said all the teams will be testing foil design so there will be no surprises there.

“The thrust of our testing is to determine if foils enhance performance overall. How will they affect upwind speed?  Might that nullify any downwind gain?

“In addition, the effect on boat-handling in upper wind ranges needs to be assessed carefully.

“There is a tendency for the boat to dig in when it is bearing away and the placement of the dagger foils and their shape has a marked effect on this.

“Foiling is only part of the equation. Right now we see as many negatives as positives.”