Francis is a naval architect who specializes in Computational Fluid Dynamics. He’s deeply involved with the aerodynamic and hydrodynamic interaction of wingsail catamarans and is responsible for evaluating the performance of the designs, from concept work to detailing.
“I mainly focus on the aerodynamic side of the wingsail design, and interaction between the wing and soft sails,” says Francis. “I also interact with the different designers to improve the yacht’s performance from an aerodynamic and hydrodynamic point of view, while keeping in mind the feasibility, structural integrity, weight and rules compliance.”
The Frenchman has a diverse sailing background in singlehanded and crewed events as well as inshore match races. As a student in 2003 he participated in the Mini Transat Race.
Francis was studying naval architecture at ENSTA-Bretagne, the French national school of advanced technologies in Brest, in the early 2000s when he undertook the Mini Transat project.
“Unfortunately, during the second leg on my way to Salvador de Bahia, the mast broke, which concluded the project,” says Francis. “I still think about participating one day, but I have been too busy working for America’s Cup teams since.”
Francis got his start with Cup design teams in 2004 while working with fellow design team member Mario Caponnetto. The two were with Italy’s Luna Rossa Challenge and then joined ORACLE TEAM USA prior to the 33rd Cup in 2010. Following that experience he authored the paper “America’s Cup CFD: CFD for the 33rd America’s Cup” for the 2008 NuTTS, numerical towing tank symposium.
- 33rd America’s Cup, BMW ORACLE Racing, winner
- Louis Vuitton Cup, Luna Rossa Challenge, finalist