The battle for the America’s Cup, which takes place in New Zealand from March 6 this year, is the most prestigious sailing race in the world. And the ships that participate are the best of the best from a technological standpoint. Hydrofoils will play the main role in the competition to come: wings that lift boats just above the water and make them terribly fast.
For some people, sailing can conjure up images of quietly recreational retirees. Simeon Tienpont knows better. This Dutch sailor has taken part in the America’s Cup three times. “It’s going hard. You squeeze your butt together nicely, as you sometimes have to withstand up to four times the force of gravity. Plus, you run the risk of crashing when you see how far you can go. During a training session in San Francisco, Tienpont flew twenty meters through the air after his boat capsized. Fortunately, he got off without a hitch.
“It’s going hard”
In 2010 and 2013, Tienpoint won the cup with the US Oracle team. During the last race, the boats reached a speed of almost 50 knots; or about 90 kilometers per hour. But the limits of sport are pushed back with each edition. The new generation of ships, which will compete in the America’s Cup for the 36th time from March 6, can reach nearly 100 kilometers per hour. These unprecedented speeds are made possible by the application of technologies such as hydrofoils and intelligent computer programs.
This is the beginning of the article ‘Flying sailboats’ which can be found in KIJK 3/2021. This edition will be in stores from February 18 to March 17.
Text: Joris Westerveld
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