When cats fly!
America's Cup defenders Oracle have gone airborne, flying on hydrofoils.
In their latest preparation for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco, the Oracle team have fitted an L-shaped daggerboard and T-shaped rudders to one of their AC45 multihulls.
While the foils are not permitted in the America's Cup World Series events, they can be used on the AC72s for the America's Cup proper next year.
Not hiding their technology, the Oracle sailors were out testing the lifting foils on San Francisco Bay last week. They even sent photos around the globe of their latest tricks.
The foils work to reduce draft and increase speed, lifting both hulls of a catamaran out of the water. Oracle describes them as a "very cost efficient way to gain performance."
"You can research them extensively in the computer before you build them, and they are small scale, compared with a wing," an Oracle team release declared.
The foils are a continuation of a project which began on USA 17, the team's 90-foot trimaran that won the last America's Cup. High-speed ferries use hydrofoils for a smoother ride, and the Moth class has experimented with foils since the early 1970s. The 60-foot foiling trimaran l'Hydroptere set a world speed trial record at 51.36 knots in 2009.
Oracle isn't saying for certain whether it will use the foils on its AC72, which will be launched in July.