Extreme Sailing Series: New Boats, New Data

Each of the new GC32s to be sailed in the 2016 Extreme Sailing Series will be outfitted with sensors to provide real-time data and feedback on performance.

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New boats means new challenges for the teams competing in the series, but real-time data should help improve performance.Tristan Stedman-SAP Extreme Sailing Team

SAP technology brings powerful, data-driven insights to Extreme Sailing Series™ through boat enhancements, helping sailors improve performance in real-time

The Extreme Sailing Series™ is set to bring catamaran racing on foils to life like never before, with the provision of data from new sensors mounted on the foils of the GC32.

The new boat sensors measure the height of the boats above the water as they fly along on the Stadium Racing course. The performance data secured from the new sensors are quickly processed through SAP Sailing Analytics, providing real-time data directly to the teams and enabling them to get better insights and modify their strategy throughout the race.

Using a laser measuring system, the stream of information gathered by the sensors will help crews work out what the optimum foiling heights are in various wind and sea conditions when compared with boat speed.

The new sensors were successfully tried out for the first time at the 2016 pre-season training session in Dubai in February. They are the latest innovation brought to the Series by SAP whose SAP Sailing Analytics solution has been providing technical data to the Series for the past four years.

Milan Cerny, Business Intelligence Consultant at SAP, says the move to foils is an opportunity for SAP – the Official Technical Partner to the Series – to evolve its technology to provide even more powerful and innovative insights to sailors, fans and spectators at the race venues.

“What does foiling mean? How does it affect a boat’s performance? Does foiling automatically mean winning a race,” he said. “We will be able to address those questions through the new sensors that will provide us with data such as pitch, roll or ride height for each boat.

“When this information is combined with GPS tracking, along with improved wind measurement and the power of our in-memory database SAP HANA*, we can provide even more real-time and post-race insights for fans, media and sailors,” he added.

Andy Tourell, Project Director of the Extreme Sailing Series, welcomes SAP’s continued commitment to the Series. “Having SAP on board as our Official Technology Partner for a fifth year allows us to stay at the forefront of innovation in the competitive sailing world,” he said.

“The use of new foiling sensors will provide our teams, sailing fans and media with never-before-seen data that can only enhance their enjoyment of the unique sporting spectacle we put on at eight iconic venues around the world,” Tourell added.

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Teams have been gearing up for the new season and getting used to the new boats.LLoyd Images / Extreme Sailing Series

The information from the sensors is expected to become an important element in the performance analysis carried out by the teams after each day’s racing. Already, SAP Sailing Analytics helps teams optimise their boat’s set-up and racing technique over one race, one day’s competition or an entire four-day Act.

Jes Gram-Hansen co-skipper of the SAP Extreme Sailing Team, said: “We are learning to handle the new boat better with every day on the water and we had the chance to pilot the sensors during our first training session in Dubai last month. Analysing more races and testing data will help us to adapt to the boats faster and gain an edge to win races at the first Act of the new season in Oman.”

The 2016 Extreme Sailing Series season starts on Wednesday, March 16 in Muscat when eight teams of the world’s finest sailors, from 14 different nations, return to the stunning Al Mouj Golf Course in the heat of Oman for four days of intense battle.

The new season marks not just the introduction of super-fast foiling on GC32 catamarans, but also innovations in race format including a new coastal race and match racing, that complement the core proposition of the Series, its unique Stadium Racing format.

On March 16, the boats will race in front of the stunning historic backdrop of the Old Town in Muscat before returning, in a 20km coastal race, to Al Mouj, in the first race of this duration in Extreme Sailing Series history.