X-Wing Sails

 Project Background – Chuck Taylor
It all started when the 2010 America’s Cup showed the sailing world that standard "soft" sail systems could not compete with the  wingsail systems.  It was an amazing exhibition of power, when even the chaseboats could not keep up with the loser.  After watching the videos many times I became envious of the people that had the capability to spend about a billion dollars to design and build that craft.  It has been interesting to see the latest "Chase Boats" in the 2013 America's Cup now use 4 X 300 Horsepower Outboard motors to keep up with the lastest wing sail and foil designs...

The challenge arose… could this same technology be used on a smaller scale? ( Read… something that the average small boat weekend sailor could afford) 

The Wing project started with a few computer-designed sketches and after building 15 prototype over the past three years using different construction methods an easy to sail (and race) lightweight design emerged.  Although the early design effort was centered around the Sunfish sailboat it has been adapted to the Laser and  other freestanding mast sailboats such as the Force Fives and Hobie Bravo.  In this past year and after watching the latest America's Cup we have decided to use Carbon Fiber as the construction material.  

The key to getting a wing sail system that not only affordable but easy to handle, rig and sail, is to keep the weight low.  The first wing that I built was too heavy at 50#, and had only 32ft\2 area.  It worked but hard to handle. The latest Carbon Fiber version is about 18# with a sail area of 80 ft\2.   Note that most sailors know that weight in the rigging is bad for stability.  The latest design has better weight distribution than the standard sail system for either the Laser or the Sunfish. And we just have tried the latest Carbon Fiber wing on a Force Five and the results were great.

The Foils were developed in Austrailia by Glide Free Foils... see www.glidefree.com.au.   Foils  and demos of them are now available in the US from Solid Wing Sails LLC.