The American team reveals its secret weapon, a giant solid wing sail

At 190ft (57m) tall the solid wing sail for BMW Oracle’s America’s Cup trimaran is believed to be the largest wing ever built, dwarfing that of a Boeing 747’s and only just a few feet short of the Jumbo’s complete wingspan.

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.”

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.

Yachting World’s Matthew Sheahan was given a sneak preview of the giant wingmast during it’s assembly in San Diego during in which key designers explained the thinking behind the mammoth undertaking. Don’t miss our January 2010 issue for the full story.

Confused by the twisted affairs of the bitter America’s Cup dispute? In this week’s Shoretalk podcast Matt tells Guy Swindells why seeing both these giant multihulls in action has re-vitalised his enthusiasm for the America’s Cup. In an exclusive interview, Matt also talks to helmsman James Spithill aboaut what it’s like to drive such a beast and whether an approach speed of 60knots alters the way a head to head match race!

**Listen here**