Managing knowledge flow on an AC75

Published on November 9th, 2020

In this update from New York Yacht Club’s America’s Cup entry, the American Magic team shares how managing the flow of data information will be what determines their success:

A strong argument could be made that the most important word in the modern America’s Cup is “data.”

After years of design, production, and fitting-out work, each day of sailing on an AC75 represents a crucial opportunity for a team to evaluate its progress and improve. Terabytes of information pour into servers as systems are relentlessly tested.

It takes a special combination of skill, inventiveness, and cool under pressure to manage the flow of priceless data from the boat’s sensors to the team’s analysis tools. From those tools come refined schematics for builders, lessons for sailors, and a better chance of winning.

American Magic Instrumentation Engineer Elvira Llabres manages the team’s data flow on and off the water.

Before the AC75 goes sailing each day, dozens of systems, instruments and sensors need to be activated, calibrated, and checked. On the water, Elvira’s usual perch is on Chase 2, American Magic’s mighty four-engined performance support craft. Chase 2 bristles with monitors, specialists and KVH telecommunications gear, and is the hub of the team’s improvement process.

From Chase 2, Elvira monitors data coming off the race boat in real time. While traveling at high speeds alongside the AC75, she can flag anomalies, fix problems as they occur, and identify potential breakthroughs. Onshore, Elvira ensures that each day’s information haul is organized, uploaded, and distributed to each department on the 150-strong team.

“Being part of something this big is really challenging, and really something that motivates me,” said Elvira, now in her 5th America’s Cup campaign after starting her career at IBM. “I think I’m very lucky, combining my passions. Seeing that we are improving, day by day, makes it for me.”

Watch Elvira in action:


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:

• Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL)

• Luna Rossa (ITA) – Challenger of Record
• American Magic (USA)
• Malta Altus Challenge (MLT) – WITHDRAWN
• Stars + Stripes Team USA (USA) – STATUS UNKNOWN
• DutchSail (NED) – WITHDRAWN

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 (CANCELLED)
• February 18-23, 2021
• March 1-5, 2021
• March 8-12, 2021

AC75 launch dates:
September 6, 2019 – Emirates Team New Zealand (NZL), Boat 1
September 10, 2019 – American Magic (USA), Boat 1; actual launch date earlier but not released
October 2, 2019 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 1
October 4, 2019 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 1
October 16, 2020 – American Magic (USA), Boat 2
October 17, 2020 – INEOS Team UK (GBR), Boat 2
October 20, 2020 – Luna Rossa (ITA), Boat 2


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