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BMW Oracle to Test Giant Composite Wing

  • Monday, 16th November 2009
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  • Reading time: about 2 minutes

The latest development by the BMW ORACLE Racing team, a 57 metre composite wing, was unveiled this week at the team’s base in San Diego.

The wing will be tested as an option to increase performance compared with a traditional soft sail rig as previously sea-trialed on the BOR 90, the 90-foot trimaran the team has built for the 33rd America’s Cup.

The construction of the wing took place at Core Builders, the team’s boatbuilding facility in Anacortes, Washington, with finishing work completed at the team base in San Diego.

“This was a massive undertaking,” said Tim Smyth (NZL), who, along with Mark Turner (NZL), has been overseeing the wing construction team in Anacortes and in San Diego.

“Building a wing of this size was something new for all of us, and we’re proud our guys were able to rise to the challenge.”

It is thought that a wing of this scale has never been built for a race boat. In terms of size, the wing on BOR 90 dwarfs those on modern aircraft. Towering nearly 190 ft (57 m) above the deck, it is 80 percent bigger than a wing on a 747 airplane (102 ft / 31 m).

The primary advantage of the wing over a soft sail is that it is easier to control and does not distort. This makes it easier for the trimmers on board to maintain an optimum aerofoil shape in a wide range of conditions.

Full-scale, on-the-water testing of the wing will begin later this week as the team resumes sea trials in preparation for the 33rd America’s Cup Match in February.


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