America’s Cup: A big technology shift
Published on November 2nd, 2019
The America’s Cup defender Emirates Team New Zealand is now trialing a new 5G service to make the most of their time in developing boat speed for the next America’s Cup.
The transition to new fifth-generation networks, known as 5G, is the latest step for wireless systems that deliver data, and now the reduced latency and higher bandwidth of 5G means they can livestream data and video back to engineers and designers at the base straight off the new AC75 boat while it’s sailing.
Whereas in the past this data transfer physically occurred by carrying data from the boat, now it is happening in real time. Dan Bernasconi, Head of Design for Emirates Team New Zealand, considers the 5G service as a game changer for the team.
“There’s a huge amount of innovation in the design and build of the AC75. The boat is a completely new concept so we need to be able to push the potential of this boat to its extreme in testing.
“Before the team had access to 5G they had to get a hard disk with all the data off the sailing boat, then the chase boat took it back to the base, and a team member would run the hard disk up to the data server at the base. Design work using the data couldn’t happen until well after the boat had docked.
“Now we have 5G on the water, there are hundreds of real time data streams such as boat speed, ride height, and hydraulic pressure coming off the water and back to our design team at the base. Our team can do progressive design and development work during the day while the boat is sailing allowing our design-thinking to evolve much faster. We were never able to do this before 5G.
“The timing for us is perfect as we head into the busy period of testing on Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf over the spring and summer months. We’ve got the advantage of time for testing on the race area and the advantage of trialling 5G for our data analysis ahead of the America’s Cup in March 2021.
“The America’s Cup is as much a technology race as a yacht race. We know that in order to win the Cup we need to win the innovation race. Using 5G allows us to explore more design options and buys us one of the most precious commodities in the America’s Cup – time.”
Source: Emirates Team New Zealand
In addition to Challenges from Italy, USA, and Great Britain that were accepted during the initial entry period (January 1 to June 30, 2018), eight additional Notices of Challenge were received by the late entry deadline on November 30, 2018. Of those eight submittals, entries from Malta, USA, and the Netherlands were also accepted. Here’s the list:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)
• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• INEOS Team UK (GBR)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAW
• Stars & Stripes Team USA (USA)
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAW
Of the three late entries, only Stars+Stripes USA remains committed, but they still must complete the entry fee payment process before they will be eligible to race. They have already paid their initial payment but as a late entry challenger under the Protocol they also have a liability to pay a US$1million late entry fee due in installments by October 1, 2019. This deadline coincided with the venue schedule which has the construction of their team base beginning in late 2019, which we assume was done in the event the team is unable to fulfill their payment deadline. However, it is not yet confirmed if they have paid the fee.
Key America’s Cup dates:
✔ September 28, 2017: 36th America’s Cup Protocol released
✔ November 30, 2017: AC75 Class concepts released to key stakeholders
✔ January 1, 2018: Entries for Challengers open
✔ March 31, 2018: AC75 Class Rule published
✔ June 30, 2018: Entries for Challengers close
✔ August 31, 2018: Location of the America’s Cup Match and The PRADA Cup confirmed
✔ August 31, 2018: Specific race course area confirmed
✔ November 30, 2018: Late entries deadline
✔ March 31, 2019: Boat 1 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ 2nd half of 2019: 2 x America’s Cup World Series events (CANCELLED)
October 1, 2019: US$1million late entry fee deadline
February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched
April 23-26, 2020: First America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia.
During 2020: 3 x America’s Cup World Series events
December 10-20, 2020: America’s Cup Christmas Race
January and February 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
March 2021: The America’s Cup Match
AC75 launch dates:
September 6 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1