America's Cup: Oracle Team USA under stress

Neil Wilkinson working on the AC72 foil test bed - with the foil at rest - Oracle Team USA
Over the past three weeks, two NZ designers and engineers, Neil Wilkinson (Oracle Team USA) and Andy Kensington (Emirates Team NZ) have been on a lecture tour as part of the Institute of Professional Engineers NZ's centenary, sponsored by Beca.

Late last week, Sail-World published a summary of the key points of the lecture.

Missing were some additional images which were shown after the lecture concluded. Neil Wilkinson has kindly provided these images, which are in two sets.

The first set shows the test bed developed by Oracle Team USA after they broke their first set of foils (teams were allowed to make a maximum of 10 foils under the cost-restriction rules that governed the 34th America's Cup).

The test bed was developed by Oracle Team USA so that all foils could be tested off the boat, under the load conditions that were expected when sailing. As was described in the story from the lecture there was an upwards lift (the horizontal component on the test bed) of around 6000kgs and a side (vertical component on the test bed of 7000kgs). These forces combined to induce substantial deflection in the carbon foil which is apparent in these two shots.

(The images are actually of different foils, but the amount of deflection is essentially the same.)

As well as testing foils on this test bed, the teams also conducted structural testing on the platform, using similar techniques - anchoring one point of the platform, and then using a hoist to apply the expected load to various points of the platform.

AC 72 foil at rest on the test bed located in the Boat 1 Repair and Boat 2 building - taken in February 2013 when the team was in the building of Boat 2 and repair of Boat 1 phase.


max test load AC72 foil - Oracle Team USA
Neil Wilkinson - OTUSA


The second set of images are a new view of Oracle Team USA, taken from a camera mounted on the top of the crane used to raise the wingsail and then the assembled AC into the water, showing the profile of the AC72 from a set position.

IMGP0735 - Oracle Team USA
Neil Wilkinson - OTUSA


Crane's eye view - Oracle Team USA
Neil Wilkinson - OTUSA


IMGP0764 - Oracle Team USA
Neil Wilkinson - OTUSA


Our thanks to IPENZ and Beca