America’s Cup: Swedish flag, American technology

Published on May 18th, 2017

The list of speed variables for the 35th America’s Cup has never been shorter. With the sail power and hull platform being one design, the critical design variable will be the underwater foils. Some teams will get this right, and all observers agree that Artemis Racing (SWE) is leading the field.

“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,” said Iain Percy, Team Manager and Tactician for Artemis Racing. “The daggerboard is the appendage that we fly the boat off and also transfers side force into driving force. Millimeters 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 optimizing the strength, shapes and thicknesses, and how water and wind interact with daggerboards using a simulation-driven design approach. To accomplish this, Artemis Racing has teamed up with Altair, a technology company based in Troy, Michigan.

“The tools that we use are at the forefront of the industries,” says Brett Ellis, lead engineer for daggerboards and rudders. “We are working to tight tolerances and small differences in section shapes on the daggerboards 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.”

With only four daggerboards permitted under the rules, Artemis Racing has built two sets of daggerboards, 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 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 honor to collaborate with the Artemis Racing design team and apply our design and simulation technologies to create a world-class sailing vessel.”

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