As Oracle Team USA revealed their new America’s Cup Class boat on Tuesday, Bryan Baker, the designer, said the new boats will be the fastest ever designed in the 166-year-old competition.
“For the given wind strengths, this boat now would annihilate an AC72,” he said. “And if you compared it to one of the old monohull boats (1992 to 2007) it would be night and day.”
Baker works on velocity prediction for Oracle Team USA, writing code to predict performance for any given design element.
“I write software that predicts how fast the boat is going to go,” he said. “I get designs and concepts from our engineers, we model those, test them, predict how fast the boat will go, and decide which concepts to build.”
An important step in the process is to test predicted performance against actual performance.
“One of the hardest parts is when things don’t line up,” he said. “Then you have a mission to figure out what went wrong, or what wasn’t correctly modelled. But we’ve been able to chip away at those errors, to fine tune the design of the America’s Cup Class.”
With the new America’s Cup Class boat now in the water, Baker said his job is far from over.
“There are still advances to be made in the control systems and how we use the boat,” he said. “Every day we’re learning. You’ll see the performance increase the whole time.”
Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle Team USA skipper, reinforced the same point on Tuesday at the reveal ceremony.
After thanking his team for all of the long hours put in to get the boat ready, he warned there was more to come.
“We need to get this boat out on the water and put the hours in getting it ready to race,” Spithill said. “The long days will continue.”