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The Power of Teamwork

When competing in The Americas Cup, every second counts. To meet the challenge, Oracle Team USA are constantly refining and meticulously testing the boat to ensure optimum performance. Most remarkable though is the adaptation of Airbus’s aviation technologies to the design of the boat, allowing the team to build a boat that can really ‘fly’.

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Rigid Sail

The rigid sail of a racing boat measures 2,800 square feet - about the same size as the wing of an airplane. The two also have a similar shape: a wide, rigid edge at the front that narrows to a thin edge at the back. Low pressure is created on the leeward side of the wing, contrasting with the high pressure on the windward side allowing the boat’s sail to be lifted forward much like an airplane wing.

Speed is Key

The team has already broken the 46 knots barrier in their new AC50 yacht - that’s the equivalent of 53 MPH / 85 KPH. That means they’d make good time down the motorway if they were driving, but unlike car passengers who’re protected from the elements, the team need to perform while wearing helmets and impact-resistant clothing.


The hydrofoils, which allow a racing boat to lift itself out ot the water, are very similar in shape and composition to the A320 Sharklet - that’s the wing tip of the airplane.

Each of the three hydrofoils underneath a racing boat are about the size of a surfboard. Constructed from carbon fibre, they can withstand up to 15 tonnes of pressure when performing a turn. For an airplane at typical cruising altitude, there’s up to eight pounds of pressure pushing against every square inch of interior fuselage.

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