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Oracle’s Secrets

by Kurt Hoehne

oraclesternsm2As Paul Bieker was headed home from San Francisco, I had a chance to catch up with him about the changes to Oracle during the America’s Cup finals. Bieker’s structural engineering kept the magnificent Oracle Team USA boat flying high.

Bieker confirmed what everybody’s saying, that it was a combination of improvements that accounted for Oracle’s amazing performance improvements. He did, however, divulge a couple of items he was involved with that contributed to the effort. The first was an “interceptor” on the transom, a relatively small ramp that helped lift the back of the boat out of the water and helped Oracle achieve that remarkable skimming mode that set it apart from the Kiwi boat.oracleruddersm

The second change was a different fairing at the rudder/foil intersection, with a bulb at the front and an extension aft. According to Bieker, this alone accounted for 30kg less drag at high speed.

There’s more. Pick up a copy of November’s Northwest Yachting in a couple of weeks.

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