LAND ROVER SWAPS VEHICLES FOR AMERICA’S CUP SAILORS IN EXTREME WIND TUNNEL TEST
Today, two sailors from the British America’s Cup team experienced the ultimate sailing conditions using the wind tunnel testing facility at the Motor Industry Research Association (MIRA) national center of automotive excellence in the Midlands.
The three days of intense testing and aerodynamic analysis is part of Land Rover’s commitment to support the team’s ambition to build the winning team for the America’s Cup Final in Bermuda 2017.
Land Rover BAR sailors Leigh McMillan and Matt Cornwell simulated a host of sailing maneuvers and positions to look at ways of reducing the effects of drag on overall sailing performance and boat speed.
The latest wind tunnel testing sees speeds reach up to 60mph and the smoke effect allows the engineers to analyze the movement of this wind around the sailor’s bodies and the hull of the boat – to simulate real-life conditions. A popular test bed for other sports such as cycling, the effect of wind flow around the body form is still an embryonic science in the world of sailing.
In addition to Land Rover’s extensive research and development into the aerodynamic behavior of the boat, Land Rover’s latest wind tunnel testing on the crew will help maximize power output, improve team cohesion and split second decision-making during races.
Matt Cornwell, sailor from Land Rover BAR said, “As professional sailors we are always looking at ways to make marginal gains, no matter how small, that will help make the difference between winning and losing. As we reach speeds of over 50mph on the water, we need to ensure we understand the impact our positions and movement have on the aerodynamic efficiency of the boat.”
He added, “Being able to test our sailing positions and movements in this environment means that we can work out the best way to be more efficient. Other sports work in this way, so it’s invaluable for us to be able to test ourselves in this facility with the Land Rover engineering teams.”
Tony Harper, Head of Research, Jaguar Land Rover said, “These facilities are integral to further our automotive aerodynamic research and development, so to work with the sailing team in this testing environment is of fundamental importance. The team is utilizing our expertise in aerodynamics design. The sailors are the only source of power available to control the wingsail and hydrofoils and the more aerodynamically efficient they are when they do that work the better and faster the boat will sail. Together, the wing and crew can generate over 100bhp – enough to propel two-tons of boat and its six man crew across the water at over 50mph.”
Land Rover BAR’s wind tunnel testing will increase the sailors’ and engineers’ understanding of the aerodynamic impact that the crew have on the boat, and ultimately its maximum speed.