Standing nearly 200 feet tall, BMW/Oracle’s new wing sail cost $5 million and is capable of driving the boat at 30 knots in 10 knots of wind. An on-board computer gathers data from more than 100 sensors place along wing and adjusts sail trim mechanically.
From the Times:
The wing has cost Larry Ellison, the billionaire team owner of Oracle, more than $5 million (about £3 million) but that is only a small percentage of the financial muscle he has put behind his campaign to wrest the Cup from Alinghi. It is thought he has spent more than $100 million on the challenge, burning through more than $4 million a month.
The decision to go for a fixed wing rather than a traditional soft sail was influenced by the delays caused by two years of legal wrangling between the two teams in the 33rd America’s Cup.
The bad blood between BMW Oracle and Alinghi has resulted in months of accusations of bad faith, court cases and espionage rows. The teams, despite being ordered by a New York court to organise a race between the two massive boats in February, have not settled on a venue and have ignored the usual protocols of settling design parameters.