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America’s Cup: The boat race

Americas cup boat race.

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9th June 2017

Surface to Air, a new film by Altair Engineering, explores the world of America’s Cup racing and what really goes into competing for the oldest and most coveted global sailing trophy

In recent years, the world’s oldest and most prestigious global sailing event, America’s Cup, is as much of a technology race as it is a sailboat race.

New film, “Surface to Air” looks beyond the luxurious sport and into the innovation required to build one of the fastest sailboats to ever exist.

The film shows how the Altair and Artemis Racing’s technical teams have placed a great deal of emphasis on perfecting the use of the daggerboards – foils that lift the boat out of the water to break the drag barrier. Viewers are able to see how this technology has a significant impact on a boat’s performance.

“Technology plays a huge part in the America’s Cup,” said Iain Percy, Team Manager and On-Water Tactician for Artemis Racing. “It’s been said the fastest boat has won the America’s Cup for the last 160 years and I’m not sure that is about to change. The daggerboard is the appendage that we fly the boat off and also transfers side force into driving force. Millimetres of difference make knots of difference so the optimal manufacturing and design of the daggerboard is absolutely critical.”

The teams have focused much of their effort on optimising the strength, shapes and thicknesses, and how water and wind interact with daggerboards using a simulation-driven design approach.

Two sets of daggerboards were created to withstand the unexpected challenges from mother nature – one pair designed to perform optimally in heavier winds and waves and another for lighter wind and wave conditions – both designed to rapidly lift the boat from the water with minimum drag. 

“The tools that we use are at the forefront of the industries,” says Brett Ellis, Artemis lead engineer for daggerboards and rudders. “We are working to tight tolerances and small differences in section shapes on the daggerboards, which can lead to relatively big gains on the water. We are all pushing hard and pushing the design limits to win that America’s Cup.”

"The technology involved in designing these boats is a critical component to providing a speed edge for the teams vying for the win," said Uwe Schramm, Chief Technology Officer, Altair. “It was an honour to collaborate with the Artemis Racing design team and apply our design and simulation technologies to create a world-class sailing vessel.”

“Surface to Air” was developed to celebrate the hard work and innovation that is positioning Artemis Racing as a top contender during the 35th America’s Cup. The film is available for viewing at Design the Difference.

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