America’s Cup: Where Sailing Meets Science

America's Cup Bermud

A vacation via XOJET is so free of complications you end up pondering little else beyond where to go and what to do. This May and June, clients flying XOJET to Bermuda for the 35th America’s Cup yacht races will encounter an irony: sailboats not so different from the planes they flew in on.

Technology has long been a fixation for designers of America’s Cup yachts, but the most recent breakthrough is particularly stunning. Simply stated, the airfoil principle discovered by a Swiss mathematician centuries ago is what lifts a plane airborne (it’s all about wing shape) while the analogous hydrofoil concept allows America’s Cup Class catamarans to defy gravity, as well.

These yachts are able to elevate their twin hulls clear of the water and more or less fly—only a slender pole with a plank-like foil attached to it connects boat to water. Built with little-to-no natural materials, the 50-foot wonders require a crew of only six sailors. They benefit from the simple fact that air is so much less dense and choppy than water, which means drag is sharply reduced and speeds are nearly double what the previous generation could achieve.

For this edition of the 166-year-old competition, the water in question is that cerulean blue color Bermuda is beloved for, lined by coral sands tinged a dusky pink. Though high-toned in a distinctly British way, Bermuda is not an acquired taste. Travelers of every stripe fall for the island readily—unless their preference runs toward honky-tonk, which is not to be found there. One of the first (of many) celebrities to develop a fondness for the place was Mark Twain. A newspaper clipping from 1907 describes the famed author boarding a Bermuda-bound steamer. “I am in search of rest, British humor, and an opportunity to appear logical in March in a white suit,” Twain said dryly.

Challenger 300: Sourcing And Customizing A Unique Aircraft

April 14, 2017  |  Aviation, David Gould, Private Aviation

In the small but rarified world of private aviation, the customer-supplier relationship can sometimes feel more like a partnership, or a meeting of the minds. XOJET, which owns and operates the Bombardier Challenger 300 within its floating charter fleet of super mid-size private jets, has a feel and affinity for this universally admired aircraft that is not so different from the manufacturer’s.  

To understand more about the making of a Challenger 300, I spoke with Bombardier’s industrial design manager Timothy Fagan, a 17-year veteran of the company’s design-engineering group, and asked him just how the customization process for XOJET unfolds.

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Watching a Bombardier Challenger 300 climb toward 41,000 feet and a cruising speed of 520 miles per hour, you’re likely to think of all the high-tech engineering that powers it in flight. But those aboard the jet are likely to be focused on its high-end interior finishes, made predominantly of leather and wood.

Sourced from European tanneries that serve high-end furniture manufacturers, the luxuriant leathers found on a Challenger 300 are customized for color, texture, grain pattern, and other subtle features. Upholstering the cabin walls as well as the seating, they help create a first impression that soothes and gratifies any boarding passenger. The best steer hides are used, matched with expensive dyes to create a warm look enhanced by deep and uniform colors.