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How the heck does a sailboat go faster than the wind?

It's always confused me. How can the America's Cup sail boats go so darn fast...especially in light wind? Yes, I know there is math involved...(√ (LWL))x 1.34.....which means you calculate the maximum hull speed (HS) by taking the length in feet (lwl), get the square root, and multiplying it by 1.34. Ok...got it...




Most sailboats cruise at a speed of 4-6 knots (4.5-7 mph), with a top speed of 7 knots (8 mph or 13 km/h). Larger racing yachts can easily reach speeds up to 15 knots (17 mph or 28 km/h), with an average cruising speed between 6-8 knots (7-9 mph). Cruising speeds of over 8 knots are uncommon. The new Americas Cup...well they are insane. As are the SailGP F50 Foiling Catamarans. Yep, they can reach 100 kmh or about 62mph. On many Illinois highways thats fast enough to get a ticket.


But again...how? The attached article from Rockwool (who sponsors the Danish F50 SailGP team ) discusses how the new class (from 2019) of sailboats are going four times faster than the wind.


Of note this is the first in a series of articles about new technologies. I think it's important in this day and age to remind us all that not everything is bad. There is good that goes on every single day. We are advancing on so many fronts in ways that 100 years ago were inconceivable. Heck...100 years ago we still were being horrible to the native Indian tribes and laying railroad track to go west... I am starting with sailing but will be discussing Quantum Computing, the real cost of electric vehicles, the opportunity for hydrogen vehicles and a variety of new and mind-bending techniques that may not only cure cancer but allow us to live forever...With that said I found it incredibly interesting that with a little ingenuity and a lot of money the top speed of racing yachts have doubled in the last 20 years. SO I hope you enjoy learning about the new technologies and would love your feedback.





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