Advancing the Science and Analysis of Sailboat Performance

Published on December 21st, 2015

The mission of the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) is to develop and catalog the science underlying sailboat performance resulting in more accurate sailboat handicapping formulae for the benefit of all racing sailors.

Looking forward to 2016, SYRF plans to pursue two new projects – a Cloud Based CFD tool and to perform a study of Downwind Aero Moments & Forces. Here is some background:

Cloud Based CFD

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) has become a valuable tool for the design and analysis of yacht aero and hydrodynamics. And yet, despite the value CFD provides, its use is limited by prohibitive software and hardware costs and a steep learning curve.

As a result, CFD analysis is only performed on projects with large design budgets and access to CFD specialists and equipment. Although the insights from such projects eventually inform the larger yacht design community, the rate of innovation still suffers from this bottleneck effect, with the majority of projects still lacking access to CFD.

To allow for the use of CFD across the industry, it is the goal of SYRF’s Cloud Based CFD project to create a cloud based CFD tool that will make CFD more accessible and reduce the training required to use it. Details.

Downwind Aero Moments & Forces
Modern handicapping rules rely upon velocity prediction programs (VPP) to predict a boat’s performance both in and above the water. Currently, aero VPPs depend heavily upon lift and drag coefficients determined from experimental wind tunnel results that are plagued by difficulties in accounting for the scaling effect, flying shape, and wind profile. As a result, aero VPPs are limited in their ability to accurately predict downwind aerodynamic performance.

Today, the world’s leading sailmakers utilize proprietary Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI) modeling software to overcome the inaccuracy of VPPs in predicting downwind sail performance. However, as such software is valuable proprietary property for sailmakers, the benefits of this technology have only been realized the design and not the handicapping community.

It is the goal of the Downwind Aero Moments and Forces project to improve the accuracy of modern handicapping rules in understanding downwind aerodynamic performance. Details.

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