The analysis of sailing yacht aerodynamics has changed dramatically over the last 15 years and has enabled significant advances in performance prediction. For instance, the growth of computational fluid dynamics has significantly changed the way high-performance sails are designed. Three-dimensional mathematical models of fully rigged sail plans and the visualization of the turbulent unsteady flow pattern around them are now quite common, whereas ten years ago such a simulation would have been very rare and 20 years ago it would have been impossible. The parallel development of optimization techniques has resulted in new sail and yacht design methods. Changes in the experimental techniques have been as dramatic as in the numerical techniques. The introduction of the twisted flow device, the real-time velocity prediction program, and the most recent pressure measurements have allowed a step change in the potentialities of experimental sail aerodynamics. This paper aims to review the recent advances in sail aerodynamics and to highlight potential research areas for future work.

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