In this paper we propose a rational viscous Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) methodology applied to sailing yacht rig aerodynamic design and analysis. After an outlook of present challenges in high speed sailing, we emphasized the necessity of innovation and CFD to conceive, validate and optimize new aero-hydrodynamic concepts. Then, we present our CFD methodology through CAD, mesh generation, numerical and physical modelling choices, and their validation on typical rig configurations through wind-tunnel test comparisons. The methodology defined, we illustrate the relevance and wide potential of advanced numerical tools to investigate sailing yacht rig design questions like the relation between sail camber, propulsive force and aerodynamic finesse, and like the mast-mainsail non linear interaction. Through these examples, it is shown how sailing yacht rig improvements may be drawn by using viscous CFD based on Reynolds Averaged Navier-Stokes equations (RANS). Then the extensive use of viscous CFD, rather than wind-tunnel tests on scale models, for the evaluation or ranking of improved designs with increased time savings. Viscous CFD methodology is used on a preliminary study of the complex and largely unknown Yves Parlier Hydraplaneur double rig. We show how it is possible to increase our understanding of his flow physics with strong sail interactions, and we hope this methodology will open new roads toward optimized design. Throughout the paper, the necessary comparison between CFD and wind-tunnel test will be presented to focus on limitations and drawbacks of viscous CFD tools, and to address future improvements.

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