America's Cup AC 72's: How can a boat go faster than the wind?

diagram explaining wind acceleration that illustrates how americas cup boats go faster than the wind

As you may have noticed, we are BIG Americas Cup Racing fans and we drink in everything "Americas Cup". We were watching the races on Sunday between Team Oracle USA and Team Emirates NZ. We are still in awe of the incredible design of these catamarans, not to mention the skill of the crew involved to tame this beast. It is quite simply one of the most impressive displays of engineering and innovation in yachting today.

We have fielded many questions about how these catamarans can sail so fast. One of the best explanations of what happens when these catamarans get going, is the one by Grant from NauticEd. He explains how these AC72 not only goes faster than the true wind, but actually go faster than the apparent wind.

He points out that the limitation on boat speed is not hull design or even wind speed as one might have thought, but the angle that a boat can go into the wind. It is a great article. Be sure to click on the green buttons in the animations to see how it happens!

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