The primary purposes of this offwind sail investigation were to better understand offwind sail performance and to improve the ability to predict the performance of specific offwind sail shapes over a broad range of operating conditions. The study was designed to allow sail designers to answer the following questions: What are the optimal types of sails over specific bands of operating conditions and how is this optimum affected by changes in the vertical distribution of sail area (girth), camber (shape), and twist?
The specific goal was to demonstrate improvements in predicted sail performance over targeted narrow bands of operating conditions expected during various legs of the 1997-98 Whitbread Round The World Race™.
To achieve this goal, two major development tasks were first completed by the Glenn L. Martin Wind Tunnel (GLMWT), located at the University of Maryland College Park:
a. Model Test Rig Development;
b. Test Methodology Development.
Once these development tasks were completed, a broad range of offwind runners and reachers of varying design were evaluated over appropriate ranges of angle of attack and trim settings.