Nov 16, 2011, 2:18 PM
Post #2 of 4
* From Mal Emerson (re, Scuttlebutt 3471):
Re: [ms] Cats & Wing Sails (ACWS San Diego)
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Interesting observation Roger but what part of the conventional cruising boat would the wing be compared to? It just may be that wings are a bit more viable in other applications than it seems at first glance. The "little" 45's seem quite at home moored unattended with the wing up. Just as it is a big deal to "strike" the wing, it is a similar job to lower the mast on most any cruising boat. Obviously the wing serves as both mast and sail. It certainly outperforms the sail in many ways just maybe not in the ability to take it down or off the boat. The extreme high performance wings of the "C's" and USA 17 will never find their way on any average sailor's boat but the concept certainly could.
Innovations that seemed out of the reach of the ordinary sailor have found their way into the mainstream at a prodigious rate. Planing hulls, foils, windsurfing, kiteboarding, kite sails, fin keels, wing keels, canting keels, bulbs, catamaran cruising boats and on and on were advanced concepts in sailing that found their way into mainstream sailing to some extent or another. I'm sure there were those that discounted those concepts and more finding their way into the every day. The wing has already debuted in the Moth and the A class catamaran.
I wouldn't be so quick to dismiss the wing's viability in other sailing applications just because the initial applications are not viable to the average sailor. Dennis Conner's '88 AC cat, the C class, BOR's USA 17 and the AC 45 are all the leading edge and designed with nothing but performance in mind. Removable skin, wind actuated stabilization on a mooring or in a slip, fully rotating wings, removable skin, collapsing wing structure, vents etc. are but a few of the ways that the cruiser, offshore racer or club racing program could theoretically take advantage of the increased performance available in a wing.
The F-1 won't be in the driveway but many of the innovations pioneered there have, no doubt, found their way into the car that is parked there.
My other area of interest is aviation and I'm always amazed at how innovations that were once totally discounted as impractical are now commonplace. Mono wings, jets, fly by wire, composite construction and so forth were all thought to be impractical at one time or another.
Is it an oxymoron to say, "never say never"?