The towing tank has been used regularly to attempt to refine sailing yacht forms almost since its introduction as a Naval Architectural tool.

Unfortunately, the yachtsman's affair with tank testing has run hot and cold based upon misunderstandings of the correct role of model testing and economic considerations.

Recent research work has caused profound change in the method for using the tank for design assistance, but the tank retains a necessary and economically suitable place in the design cycle if properly used.

The paper explains the changing role of the tank and appropriate means of using model tests in light of our contemporary understanding of scale effects.

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