High tech sailing at its extreme is described in a very interesting article by Steve Killing which was presented at the Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium, March 2009. The article is available at SteveKilling.com in the section on articles and books.
Steve describes the design and construction of a winning C-class catamaran. Apparently the only rules for these boats are the requirements that they fit in a box that is 25 feet long and 14 feet wide, and that they have 300 feet of sail.
Lack of any other rules allows carbon composite materials and a very light hull. The sail is a “wing” rather than ordinary cloth. The mast is very tall. Sailing these boast is challenging, but they are very fast.
Although few of us will ever be able to sail or afford one ot these boats, they represent truly impressive technology.