Recent advances in numerical and experimental downwind sail aerodynamics

Jean-Baptiste Souppez, Abel Arredondo Galeana, Ignazio Maria Viola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Over the past two decades, the numerical and experimental progresses made in the field of downwind sail aerodynamics have contributed to a new understanding of their behaviour and improved designs. Contemporary advances include the numerical and experimental evidence of the leading-edge vortex, as well as greater correlation between model and full-scale testing. Nevertheless, much remains to be understood on the aerodynamics of downwind sails and their flow structures. In this paper, a detailed review of the different flow features of downwind sails, including the effect of separation bubbles and leading-edge vortices will be discussed. New experimental measurements of the flow field around a highly cambered thin circular arc geometry, representative of a bi-dimensional section of a spinnaker, will also be presented here for the first time. These results allow interpretation of some inconsistent data from past experiments and simulations, and to provide guidance for future model testing and sail design.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2019-03
Pages (from-to)45
Number of pages65
JournalJournal of Sailing Technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 16 Sep 2019


  • Downwind Yacht Sails
  • Spinnakers
  • Circular Arc
  • Aerodynamics
  • Racing Yachts


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  • Vortex flow of yacht sails

    Viola, I. M., Arredondo-Galeana, A. & Souppez, J.


    Project: Other (Non-Funded/Miscellaneous)

  • Vortex Flow of Downwind Sails

    Arredondo-Galeana, A., Babinsky, H. & Viola, I. M., 22 Feb 2023, (E-pub ahead of print) In: Flow. 3, E8.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • Turbulent Flow Around Circular Arcs

    Souppez, J-B., Bot, P. & Viola, I. M., 19 Jan 2022, In: Physics of Fluids. 34, 1, 13 p., 015121.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
  • A study of the vortex flows of downwind sails

    Arredondo Galeana, A., 28 Nov 2019

    Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

    Open Access

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