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post #2534 of Old 04-13-2012 Thread Starter
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Re: Interesting Sailboats

Peter Gustafsson from Blur has done a great job summarizing the recent " 2012, 3th International Yacht Forum – The future of yacht racing". He posted that on his Blog that unfortunately for us is in Swedish. But the subject is so interesting and he has done such a nice work that I will translate the most relevant part and I will post it here.

I hope Peter don't mind. His team (Blur) has made a great job on the "Spi Ouest" racing their J111 with the best on that category and doing very well, finnishing near the top. Congratulations to him and his team

3th International Yacht Forum 2012 – The future of yacht racing

By Peter Gustafsson | Published on Blur: April 12, 2012

Presented by the moderator Dobbs Davis, sailing expert and editor of the Seahorse Magazine, 13 international specialists of high standing gave lectures: about advantages of navigation software (Nick White, NZL) and working with Grib files for tactics depending on weather (Meeno Schrader, GER), about yacht design in relation to rating rules (Jason Ker and John Corby, GBR, and Torsten Conradi, GER), current trends for offshore One Design classes, Box Rules and rating rules (Dobbs Davis, USA), the optimisation of sails for rating systems (Greg Marie, USA), risk minimisation of accidents and breakage of yachts (Stefana Beltrando, ITA), hydro and aero flow analysis and speed prognosis (Kai Graf, GER), advantages and possibilities of video production in offshore sailing (Robert Sleep, GBR), software solutions for race management (Stefan Kunstmann, GBR, Volker Andrae, GER, and Dobbs Davis), development of a new rating rule (HPR) for high performance racing yachts (Jason Ker, Dobbs Davis, and James Dadd, GBR).

Information from the Pros after one and a half days of work:

The most noticeable was the growing importance of computers in all areas of the sailing sport. Nick White, developer of the powerful navigation software Expedition, impressively demonstrated the immense advantages of navigation and tactics software. If courses are evaluated, taking weather and flow data as Grib files and performance data of the yacht into account, chances of winning are significantly bigger. Weather expert Meeno Schrader later pointed out the influence of the data quality for the planning.….

Technology and computers also became very significant in the sailmaking industry. New designs are not first tested on the boat or in the wind tunnel, but on the computer. CFD is the magic word: Computational Fluid Dynamics. Computer programs simulate the air flow on the sail and thus enable the sailmakers to calculate the driving performance of different designs without wasting expensive sail cloth. The shape and fitting accuracy of the sail can be tested on an accurate rig 3D model.

Since most boats today are designed on the computer, this data is available from the boat designers. Yacht and sail designers work more closely together anyhow, because lighter boats are faster and need different sails – to be successful, you need an optimal match of both. The sail designer from Doyle Sails conveyed extensive practical and computer experience to the audience in Hamburg. Having travelled to Hamburg from the USA the day before, Marie pointed out the importance of the in-depth dialogue between yacht and sail designers. His concept „Design Loop“ includes all continuous and systematic steps to create a sail, that is fast AND fits well into the rating rule. CFD is .. used a lot for optimizing sails.

This year again the designers and engineers at the Forum represented the creme de la creme of the racing yacht design industry – perfect for talking about yacht design trends.

In general, there is an international trend to boats providing more sailing fun and speed instead of boats made primarily to have the best performance under a rating rule.

More fun and speed means less weight, more ballast and a bigger sail area – all of that being punished by the rating rules.

Today you can easily build a boat of 12m with a total weight of less than 4t – without making any problem in what regards seaworthiness. But the popular boats in Northern Europe weigh 6t – 8t or more. Even a brand new XP38 of X-Yachts’ Performance Series, with 11.58m weighs 6.4t.

Torsten Conradi from the design office Judel/Vrolijk explained, that the weight is more dictated by the rating rules than the lack of possibilities to build lighter boats. This is the case of “Elena Nova“ a racer that has a weight of 5.6t. Even though the boat is optimized for the rating, „Elena“ is almost 800kg lighter than the Rodman „Beluga“ – and its waterline is 1.30m longer. Conradi announced the development of further exciting racing boats: e.g. a new 37ft ORC racer „Shooting Star“ by Speedwave and two impressive Mini Maxis of 72ft – one of them being built at Baltic Yacht in Finland.

Yacht designer Jason Ker showed a diagram illustrating the weight trend for the racing yachts, useful information regarding the development of a new rating rule for high performance yachts : 3.5t to 4t for a 12m yacht, less than 6t for a 15m yacht. The sailing performance of these boats would be remarkable and would justify the development, by designers and measurers in the USA, of a new rating rule for powerful racing yachts, without taking into consideration cruiser-racers.

All speakers agreed on one point: the new light yachts would be extremely demanding for the crew. Everyone must be aware, that you need a lot of practice to manage such a high performance racer to win a race on corrected time.

John Corby presented his design „Rockall“ as an example, that a more conservative heavier design can be successful in yacht races, also because it is controllable in all conditions and can reach his full potential. The crew of the „Rockall“ did receive the „German Offshore Award“ – for its constant great performance in 2011.

For those wanting to compete against each other without a rating rule, a few new, exciting yachts can be found on the market. Especially the Farr 400 promises great fun sailing at affordable costs for purchase and transport to the races, since the 4t carbon boat fits into a 40ft container or even on a trailer. But the „old“ Farr 40 – as Dobbs Davis commented – is not much slower than the new boat, at least in Upwind and Downwind races.

The technology for the construction of yachts is getting more and more complex and demanding: Air flow simulation on the computer enables the designers to predict realistic speed data for different designs. This makes it easier to optimize yachts for specific courses – a boat winning Upwind and Downwind today looks different than a boat for long distance races, as Kai Graf from the University of Kiel pointed out. An example: Disregarded by those, who love elegant boats, the Scow bow of David Raison’s Mini-Transat yacht offers major advantages in winds of more than 15 knots as well as downwind. The Class 40 association is even thinking about changing their rules.

Quality and testing processes from the aviation industry are used in yacht building – with success, as statistically proven by Stefano Beltrando from QI.

To prevent accidents by measuring the potential weak points is a new trend in the yacht industry: The forces acting on hull and mast on Elena Nova are measured by glass fiber cables laminated into the structure. Judel/Vroijk wants to compare the actual data with the predicted data. It might even be possible to develop warning systems to prevent overload on hull and rig.

As some of you would probably noticed I have been saying some of these things in what regard new yacht trends, mainly in what regards the trend versus more fast and fun boats less oriented by design for a rating. We have also been following this argument between the performance of lighter boats, like the Pogo 12.50 or the Opium 39 regarding the performance of heavier boats like the First 40 or the Xp 38, the sailing conditions that are advantageous for each type of boat in what regards racing and cruising as well as in what regards the skills and crew needed to sail each type.

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