During the past thirty years, the use of North American towing tanks for the design of high-performance sailing yachts has changed dramatically. These changes are evident in the specific facilities completing these test programs, the quality of test equipment, procedures and results, and the way facilities interact with the designers. This paper reviews the factual history of sailing yacht testing in North America and then puts this history into perspective by reviewing the perceptions of the users, the changes that have been caused by these perceptions, and the resulting current state-of-the-art. Examples of how tank testing is integrated into current design programs are given, and some specific thoughts on ways tank testing can be made more useful are developed. Finally, given the technological advances that have been made over the past thirty years and the increased cost of test programs, renewed research on scale effects is recommended.

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