The development of a tool for predicting the dynamic performances of sailing yachts is presented in this paper. After establishing the equations of motion and the coordinate systems, the modeling of the various contributions to forces and moments of such a mechanical system is presented. These contributions are estimated making use of empirical formulas available in literature. Then the development of the graphical user interface is described, which allows a friendly approach to the solution of various problems, like for example the analysis of a tacking or gybing maneuver, or the study of the behavior in gusty wind. Some preliminary results are shown, for the case of a 37’ IMS racing yacht. They describe validation tests on steady course and round circle, then a tacking maneuver, and finally straight course sailing in gusty wind. They are compared, when possible, with experimental data. As last example, the tool is used in the context of a more sophisticated application, where it is embedded within an automatic optimization loop, aimed at finding the best rudder history during a tack. It is demonstrated how the optimization gives a significant result in terms of boat performance.

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