High-performance sails, such as the ones used on the America Cup boats, require sails whose aerodynamic characteristics approach those of rigid wings, yet permit a reduction in sail area in high wind and sea conditions. To this end, two-cloth sails are coming into use. These sails are constructed out of an articulated forebody that is a truncated ellipse, the aft of which has sail tracks, or rollers, along the edges to accommodate the twin sails. As the sails on either side need to be of the same length, due to the requirement to sail on different tacks, the two cloth sections need to be of equal length. The requirement then is to have their clews separated and able to slide over each other. More importantly, the transition between the rigid mast section and sails needs to be as aerodynamically smooth as possible in order to reduce drag and hence maximize the lift to drag ratio of the airfoil section that is made up of the mast and twin sails. A computational analysis using ANSYS CFX is presented in this chapter which shows that the aerodynamic characteristics of this type of two-cloth sail are almost as good as those of two-element rigid wing sections. Optimum sail trim configurations are analyzed in order to maximize the thrust production. Applications may soon extend beyond competitive sailing purposes for use on sailing ships equipped with hydrokinetic turbines to produce hydrogen via electrolysis (energy ships). Additionally, high performance sails can be used onboard cargo ships to reduce overall fuel consumption.
Part of the book: Modern Ship Engineering, Design and Operations