Volvo Ocean Race: Speed Thrills

Movistar, which almost sank during on leg of the Volvo race, has some work done on its keel in Balti i i

hide captionMovistar, which almost sank during on leg of the Volvo race, has some work done on its keel in Baltimore's harbor.

David Kestenbaum, NPR
Movistar, which almost sank during on leg of the Volvo race, has some work done on its keel in Balti

Movistar, which almost sank during on leg of the Volvo race, has some work done on its keel in Baltimore's harbor.

David Kestenbaum, NPR

Seven of the world's biggest and fastest sailboats are making pit stops on the East Coast of the United States. They're midway through the globe-circling "Volvo Ocean Race." The boats are big, nimble, and faster than ever.

One of the most important changes in the design of the boats is the keel, which is under the boat and keeps it from tipping over when there is wind in the sail. What's new is that the keels on the boats in the Volvo race can swivel from side to side. This allows for a greater stabilization of the boats as the crews let more wind into the sails. Some say theses swiveling keels have increased boat speed by 30 percent.

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