Sea trials under way
The first F50 sailed on 18 October for sea trials, and the sailors will get their hands on the boats in November, working up to the first event in Sydney in February. In the meantime the crews have been practicing on a simulator in Slough, of all the glamorous locations. Also created by Artemis Technologies, the simulator is a full-motion single hull with cockpits designed to radically accelerate training times. Chris Draper, Great Britain team manager and wing trimmer, said it was surprisingly realistic. “It’s quite scary. I mean it’s so real that you almost start to think about jumping out of your cockpit and running across the boat.”
The simulator gave the teams an opportunity to try the flight control joystick and systems, and begin developing some routines and communication loops, as well as getting a feel for the performance of the F50s.
“On our last few runs on the simulator we were getting 100% fly time. Locked in windward heel and ripping around, bearing away, rounding up and so on for seven or eight minutes. If that’s what we’re going to be achieving, then the fight control system is working very well.”
Once the teams get up to speed on the real F50s, significant performance leaps are expected. Two sets of all-new foils have been constructed for each boat, one light airs, one heavy.
Safety is a big component. The crews have already