Rigs will favor single sail plans with wing structures. Masts will bend in concert with wind strength, and the boat will sail at peak efficiency at all times. Helmsmen will constantly be tested on their performance versus a computer’s predicted numbers. This technology is in use today, of course, but the difference will be the ability to monitor a sailor’s vital signs, and fatigue. When a helmsman starts to stray off-course, the instrument package will set off an alarm, or speak to the skipper through a small in-ear device. While self-driving cars will become commonplace on land, sailors like to steer, so rules will be in place to prohibit self-steering boats while racing (autopilots for shorthanded sailing excluded, of course).
Seasickness will be a thing of the past too. One small pill will work for several days, with no side effects. Lighter, more-breathable foul-weather gear will keep you drier and warmer, and their fabrics will sense dehydration, alerting us when it becomes detrimental to performance. A personal beacon will keep track of our exact location if we fall into the water. An EPIRB is used today to send a location signal, but the new version will be a small, wearable and waterproof strip customized for each sailor.