This year, to make that next step in sailing history, Team Oracle has not only moved from a three-hulled vessel to a dual-hulled design but also outfitted the hulls of the catamarans in a durable, lightweight, aerodynamic carbonlike structure, or as Aldaz calls it, a "carbon sandwich" -- a honeycomb-like structure sandwiched between two pieces of carbon. All teams in the America's Cup World Series are using the catamaran design, courtesy of Oracle, which supplied everything except the sail so that teams could have a head start building their own boats for the championship. Three competitors' catamarans, each decked out with dual-hulls, are pictured left.
However, with all of these new designs, Team Oracle had some new challenges to overcome: It had made the boat lighter and faster while precariously balancing an enormously heavy sail. "We expect things to break. ... You want the boat to be as light as possible, but if you go too far, things start breaking," said Aldaz. To meet the rising challenges, it meant upping the technological ante.