Christopher Clarey on the 72-foot high catamarans being used this year:
But what is particularly eye-catching about this class of big boats — machines, if you agree with Sirena — is their spectacular capacity to foil. Foil is the nautical vernacular for hydrofoil, and it means, in this case, that these catamarans are able to sail — at least downwind — with both hulls out of the water.
Live or on a screen, it looks like a special effect: the raptorlike yachts levitating as all that carbon fiber and sail area and manpower are supported by only the slender rudders and dagger boards still in the ocean.
And they can reach speeds over 40 knots — 46 mph.