Split-Flaps – a Way to Improve the Heel Stability of T-Foil Supported Craft
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2022

Horizontal T-foils allow for maximum lift generation within a given span. However, the lift force on a T-foil acts on the symmetry plane of the hull, thereby producing no righting moment. It results in a lack of transverse stability during foil-borne sailing. In this paper, we propose a system, where the height-regulating flap on the trailing edge of the foil is split into a port and a starboard part, whose deflection angles are adjusted to shift the centre of effort of the lift force. Similar to the ailerons which help in steering aircraft, the split-flaps produce an additional righting moment for stabilizing the boat. The improved stability comes, however, at a cost of additional induced resistance.
To investigate the performance of the split-flap system a new Dynamic Velocity Prediction Program (DVPP) is developed. Since it is very important for the performance evaluation of the proposed system it is described in some detail in the paper. A complicated effect to model in the DVPP is the flow in the slot between the two flaps and the induced resistance due to the generated vorticity. Therefore, a detailed CFD investigation is carried out to validate a model for the resistance due to the slot effect.
Two applications of the split-flap system: an Automated Heel Stability System (AHSS) and a manual offset system for performance increase are studied using a DVPP for a custom-made double-handed skiff. It is shown that the AHSS system can assist the sailors while stabilizing the boat during unsteady wind conditions.
The manual offset enables the sailors to adjust the difference between the deflection angles of the two flaps while sailing, thus creating a righting moment whenever required. Such a system would be an advantage whilst sailing with a windward heel. Due to the additional righting moment from the manual offset system, the sails could be less depowered by the sailors resulting in a faster boat despite the additional induced resistance.
It is shown in the paper that the control systems for the ride height and the heel stability need to be decoupled. The paper ends with a description of a mechanical system that satisfies this requirement.

Transverse Stability





Nimal Sudhan Saravana Prabahar

Göteborgs universitet

Adam Persson

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Marin teknik

Lars Larsson

Chalmers, Mekanik och maritima vetenskaper, Marin teknik

Journal of Sailing Technology

2475-370x (ISSN)

Vol. 7 1 1-30




Rymd- och flygteknik


Strömningsmekanik och akustik


C3SE (Chalmers Centre for Computational Science and Engineering)


Innovation och entreprenörskap



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