Could an Engineered Wing Sailboat benefit from Winglets?

Recently, while I was on a business trip, I had the opportunity to see a presentation about the design and development of the Oracle AC45 wing-sailed Catamaran.

It was fascinating to see some of the history of the Americas Cup and how the ship designs have changed/evolved over the years. On the trip back, while looking out at the window of the plane, I saw the winglet at the end of the wing tip...
and it occurred to me -- could an engineered wing-sail benefit from a winglet as well? Winglets on conventional aircraft wings reduce the overall wingspan, which helps to reduce parasitic drag by recovering wingtip vortex energy. The difference in an aircraft wing and wing-sail is of course that the aircraft is using the wing for lift and thrust but for sailing the wing provides thrust. It would be interesting to see if a "sail-let" at the top of the engineered wing would provide a similar advantage. It would also be an interesting to see if the sail-let could protrude to both sides of the wing-sail tip or if it would need to be a single "sail-let" that change sides to provide the most advantage. Perhaps an AC45 with a "sail-let" could perform as well as the planned AC72? NOTE: this isn't an original idea on my part. By doing some google searching showed that others had the same idea/question.

No comments: