Yachting: Nothing Like a Dame?

Designing a faster twelve-meter America's Cup yacht is a little like trying to improve on a perfect circle. The twelve-meter formula is so old and so restrictive that reports of "major breakthroughs" in design usually turn out to involve a new shape for the transom, say, or a mast that is stepped an inch fore or aft of usual. But Warwick Hood, the Down Under architect who designed Australia's new America's Cup challenger Dame Pattie, insists that he actually has hit on something new. And maybe he has. So far in the shakedown trials...

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