Team New Zealand Keeps Their Eye on the Weather
In the super high-tech world of the America’s Cup, microanalysis of climatic conditions is becoming increasingly important as hydrofoil technology becomes even more advanced, CNN reports.
At the 2017 America’s Cup, raced in foiling AC50 catamarans in Bermuda, Emirates Team New Zealand trounced all-comers and demolished holder Oracle Team USA 7-1 to regain the Cup.
Much was made of the New Zealanders’ revolutionary “cyclers” – using leg power to operate the winches rather than traditional arm grinders – but their in-depth analysis of the weather, applied to complex hydrodynamics data to determine which specific foil configurations to use, was one of the real keys, according to team chief Grant Dalton.
“The met [meteorology] was probably the unsung super gain that we had,” Dalton told CNN’s Mainsail.
Dan Bernasconi, head of design for Emirates Team New Zealand, said the team had a number of design options for foiling appendages on any given day and would make their selections based on the information from the team meteorologist, Roger “Clouds” Badham.
“We had two different options for dagger boards and different options for rudders and elevators, so we had to develop our processes so we could make changes to the boat as late as possible, because it was absolutely crucial to the performance of the boat to have the right foils on for the right conditions,” Bernasconi said.
As winners, the New Zealander have taken the historic event back home and will host the next edition of the America’s Cup in 75ft foiling monohulls in Auckland in 2021.
A scientific knowledge of the wind and water state at any given moment during the short 20-minute races could be the difference between winning and losing the Cup.
“This is a city where you go out in 5 knots and it’s blowing 25 knots before you get to the race course,” Dalton added.
“That’ll affect your foil configuration and what jibs you have on board, and because we’ll go quickfire, we won’t have time for a three-hour build up. They’ll [meteorologists] have better tools but the interpretation will need to be even finer and you will take a gain if you get that right.”
Original article by CNN, October 15, 2018.