America’s Cup: Age of the simulator

Published on July 7th, 2020

by Mark Chisnell, Sailing World
Pop quiz: Which technology did not exist in sailboat racing 10 years ago but will be decisive in the 36th America’s Cup? No, it’s not foiling. Sailboats have been “flying” for more than two decades. It’s the human-in-the-loop simulator. It didn’t exist a decade ago, and now it’s central to the design and development of America’s Cup boats.

Simulation is a technology whose time has come—thanks to the increase in speed and the decrease in price of computing power—but it got a big nudge from the rules of the 36th Cup, which banned all the traditional means of design evaluation and optimization. For the first time, the protocol banned full-scale testing with two boats, but also tow-tank and wind-tunnel ­testing as well.

The new rules ensured that the technical battlefield for this Cup cycle would be a space that Emirates Team New Zealand already dominated. They were the first Cup team to build a simulator, and their edge in the 35th Cup in Bermuda established that they knew how to use it, and they used it well.

The race to catch up has been ongoing, but the coming of COVID-19, and with it the shutdown or limitation of sailing operations, has leveraged the simulator into a position of even greater importance. Full report.


Details: www.americascup.com

36th America’s Cup
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:

Defender:
• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

Challengers:
• 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, however, it is unclear what entry payments have been made, nor is there knowledge of a boat being actively built or sailing team assembled.

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 (NOT KNOWN)
✔ February 1, 2020: Boat 2 can be launched (DELAYED)
✔ April 23-26, 2020: First (1/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Cagliari, Sardinia (CANCELLED)
✔ June 4-7, 2020: Second (2/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Portsmouth, England (CANCELLED)
• December 17-20, 2020: Third (3/3) America’s Cup World Series event in Auckland, New Zealand
• January 15-February 22, 2021: The PRADA Cup Challenger Selection Series
• March 6-15, 2021: The America’s Cup Match

Youth America’s Cup Competition
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

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

Details: www.americascup.com

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