The A40 Design Concept

The concept that became the A40 model originated with a scale representation of the Extreme40, a 40' long racing catamaran that is used in the Grand Prix Extreme Sailing Series. The cats are very fast, and provide excellent racing in "stadium" (tight course) venues. The intention was to provide a radio control version that was large enough to perform well, but not so large you couldn't fit it in a relatively small car. It was decided that the platform (hulls and struts) assembled would be 32" x 21", a manageable size.

The first prototype followed the original very closely, with some changes in displacement and proportions necessary to make it a working radio control model. It was created using the new 3D printing technology, which greatly accelerated the prototyping process. While fast and exciting to sail, it had an alarming propensity to pitchpole (somersault) when overpowered, there were some balance problems with the placement of fins, and not enough displacement aft to handle the radio equipment and still sail well. It was back to the computer for some changes.

The second prototype took some pointers from the full-size C-Class cats and the recently established (at that time) Americas Cup AC45 class in hull shape, providing more bearing forward to counter the pitchpoling. More displacement was provided aft by widening the hull. The second prototype sailed well, tacked well, but some rig changes were needed to get better sail shape and to control twist in the main sail. The working of the boat, steering and sail control, was also very complex, and a simpler approach was needed.

The final prototype was a collaboration between FlyingHulls and Wolfgang Habe at Polymer Technologies of Pedreguer, Spain, a company very experienced in radio control gilders and the fabrication of carbon fiber models. This yielded a completely new bow shape, taking on the "tulip" reverse bow for better control in high-power maneuvers, internalized rudder controls, and a much simplified sail control system with better twist control. The new carbon fiber hulls reduced weight to where overall weight rigged is about 1 kilogram (2.2 pounds). The final A40 design provides high-performance racing in an easily transported package, and only needs you at the controls to provide the excitement!

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