Oracle ups the ante with their foil borne AC45

Oracle Racing has just raised the bar.

If sailing a wingmasted AC45 wasn’t tricky enough, now try doing it on foils!

At first we thought the pictures were a wind up, but as the series seems to show, the Defenders are serious about getting up and onto their foils.

The pictures were taken during a team session in San Francisco last week.

According to the few details that the team put out:

“Foils help reduce draft and increase speed. They are 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. The foil project is a continuation of one started on USA 17, the team’s 90-foot trimaran that won the 2010 America’s Cup.”

Can they be thinking about doing the same on their 70 footer? Of the few who have contemplated the next step up from the 45s, most have expressed concern at the hike in speeds that the full size Cup boats will be capable of. Put them on foils and you’d have big cats on steroids.

But perhaps most interesting of all is that the French foiling record breaker L’Hydroptere is currently being shipped from the Med to the West coast of the States to prepare for a Trans Pacific record attempt.

What a coincidence.