Sail pressures from full-scale, wind-tunnel and numerical investigations

Ignazio Maria Viola*, Richard G. J. Flay

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The main results of a two-year project aimed at comparing full-scale tests, wind tunnel tests, and numerical analysis predictions are presented. Pressure measurements were obtained from both full-scale tests and wind tunnel tests, in upwind and downwind conditions. The upwind wind tunnel test condition was modelled using a Vortex Lattice code, while the downwind wind tunnel test was modelled using a Navier-Stokes code. The pressures obtained from the three different methods are compared on three horizontal sections of the headsail, mainsail and asymmetric spinnaker. In general the pressure from the three experiments showed good agreement. In particular, very good agreement was obtained between the numerical computations and the wind tunnel test results. Conversely, the results from the downwind full-scale pressure measurements showed less similarity due to a slightly tightened trim being used for the spinnaker in the on-water tests. Full-scale tests allow the action of unsteadiness due to the wind, wave and yacht movements to affect the results. This unstable environment caused the asymmetric spinnaker to move around, and a tightened trim was required to prevent the spinnaker from collapsing.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1733-1743
Number of pages11
JournalOcean Engineering
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2011

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Sail aerodynamics
  • Upwind sailing conditions
  • Downwind sailing conditions
  • Full-scale tests
  • On-water tests
  • wind tunnel tests
  • Computational fluid dynamics
  • CFD
  • Pressure measurements


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