Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Faster Sailboats

What's the key to building really fast sailboats?

 The quick answers is to increase the drive force while reducing the resistance.  As with every quick answer, the details are problematic.   Fortunately, I developed a very simple computer program that equips marine engineers and designers with accurate information to incorporate into the velocity prediction data.

 A rapid and proven method to derive the drive force of a sail is to use a vortex lattice method.  The analysis requires just seconds on a PC or laptop computer and produces very accurate results.  My software, 3DFoil, employs the most accurate implementation of the vortex lattice method and enables designers to model and analyze sails of all shapes and sizes within the program.

What about resistance?  The program computes resistance on sails and appendages based on size, layout and airfoil shapes.  It computes viscous forces due to skin friction and pressure drag. Importantly, it also computes the induced (vortex) drag on sail and appendages during upwind sailing against an apparent wind.

3DFoil is used by world famous marine engineers  and designers to compute the drive force, drag resistance, the center of lateral resistance, the center of effort and other parameters that constitute a winning sailboat.  It is also excellent for hydrofoil design and analysis.

When designing complex products (such as sailboats) we need a quick method to accurately figure out what each of the components are doing.  Of course we realize that the components will behave somewhat differently in the aggregate.  However, one thing holds true and that is if the component is bad then it will impair the entire design.

The lesson that we learn from developing 3DFoil and working with clients is that it does not take long to design & size efficient airfoils, sail, keels, rudders and hydrofoils.   It is interactive, fast and filled with shapes that we can print and use in the designs.

More information can be found at:

Do not hesitate to contact me at (352) 261-3376 if you have any questions.

Thanks for reading and best wishes. - Patrick