The America’s Cup challenge is well underway
In the middle of 2014, the Land Rover BAR team began a 2 1/2-year timetable to design, evaluate and verify an ACC (America’s Cup Class) catamaran. Crucially, teams are not allowed to launch their America’s Cup Class catamarans until 150 days before the first event of the 2017 America’s Cup Qualifiers in Bermuda on 26 May. The bulk of design, analysis and performance testing must be completed on much smaller-scale test models.
The odds are stacked against any new entrant winning the America’s Cup, but for Land Rover BAR past statistics do not matter. What counts is the prospect of bringing the America’s Cup home to Britain for the first time since the inaugural race took place in 1851. Sir Ben Ainslie, Olympic medalist and 34th America’s Cup winner, does not underestimate the scope of the ambition. “It is a really big challenge on all fronts. We have established a new team from scratch; we have the right philosophy and the right design tools and we are catching up with existing teams; yet we are operating under tremendous time pressure. That’s the toughest aspect.”
At the pinnacle of sailing technology
Martin Whitmarsh, chief executive officer of Land Rover BAR, underlines the technical challenge: “Performance differentiation is usually created by shaping a hull to reduce drag; enhancing the way in which keel and rudder systems create a ‘righting’ moment; and using the sails for maximum thrust. These principles still apply to the America’s Cup, but only one percent of the surface area of the boats is actually in the water when they are racing. Aerodynamic considerations therefore become supremely important, especially as these boats can go 2.8 times the speed of the wind.”
The design team must produce a light and efficient system that can cope with enormous loads yet remain within the margins of safety. For Land Rover BAR, the use of NX™ and Teamcenter® is critical for simulating the performance of the daggerboards (retractable keels); evaluating the aeroelastic capability of the wing; defining the behavior of composite materials; modeling the hydraulic systems; optimizing development processes; and streamlining workflows.
For Sir Ben Ainslie, team principal and skipper of Land Rover BAR, the only way to validate the design process is to go out on the water. “The sailing crew is a delivery mechanism for the designers. We are constantly fine-tuning the boat by sailing it and providing feedback to the design team.”
The fastest boat winsBy the start of 2016, testing was fully underway and the America’s Cup Class wing-foiled catamaran was in development. In the technologically driven environment of Land Rover BAR, the engineering team dictates the tests that the sailing team must conduct. The team’s DELL EMC Mission Control center has a live video link to the test boat and designers can see exactly what is happening as they assess data received from the various sensors positioned around the boat. Sailing can then be followed by a thorough and informative debriefing session for sailors and engineers.
The Land Rover BAR team is using NX™ software and Teamcenter® software from product lifecycle management (PLM) specialist Siemens PLM Software. NX and Teamcenter provide an integrated virtual environment for digital modeling and simulation. Software implementation, training and support services are being provided by Siemens PLM Platinum Partner Majenta PLM.
To win the America’s Cup with a British team, to bring the America’s Cup home for the first time in its history would be the most amazing experience and for sure a career highlight. The Siemens PLM Software systems really enable us to collate our ideas and make sure they are put into practice. That’s why we wanted to partner with Siemens PLM Software.Sir Ben Ainslie, Team principal and skipper of Land Rover BAR