Deceased , Modern




Arvel Gentry was a research specialist in transonic, supersonic and hypersonic vehicle aerodynamics at the McDonnell-Douglas company. According to nominator and many articles, he changed the way we look at sail shape and the aerodynamics of sailing.

Greatest contributions included theorizing, testing, and ultimately the development of a greater understanding of the aerodynamics of sails – he assisted with America’s Cup Campaigns – and writing and collaborating on numerous articles and professional papers in language that could be understood by the sailing public.

Technical and Contributor:

  • Gained an understanding of the aerodynamic science of sails and airflow
  • Applied and tested that science on the water
    • Developed some of the first methods to instrument full-sized sailing vessels and capture precise data
    • His interpretation of this data changed theoretical basis explaining the forces generated by sails
    • Was able to distill this knowledge into user-friendly language for public consumption
      • Publications included: Sail Magazine, Sailing World, Yachting, Sea & Pacific Motor Boat, Los Angeles Times Magazine, New York Times, North Sails website, and numerous technical papers presented at symposiums
      • How Sails Really Work, by Arvel Gentry


  • Successfully campaigned his Ranger 23, Kittwake

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