Technology has transformed sailboat design and racing – nowhere is that more evident than in the America’s Cup, the world’s most renowned sailing competition and the most difficult to win.
Technology has transformed sailboat design and racing – nowhere is that more evident than in the America’s Cup, the world’s most renowned sailing competition and the most difficult to win. The America’s Cup is also a contest of know-how and technology which very essence is to be innovative and reach excellence in technological development. It has evolved dramatically over the past few years with boats that have gone from big and heavy mono-hull boats to spectacular multi-hull vessels that are capable of flying over the water at great speeds supported only by two foils, pushing the boundaries of performance.
Groupama Team France adopted the Design for Sea industry solution experience from Dassault Systèmes based on the 3DEXPERIENCE platform.
“The 3DEXPERIENCE platform has enabled us to accelerate the development of our two catamarans,” Martin Fischer, head of the design team at Groupama Team France, says. “In the past, we used different software for each task; one for 3D modeling, one for structural analysis and another for flow simulations and optimization. With the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, we have all these applications integrated into one environment. It really helps to speed things up and we make fewer errors,” he adds.
“There was a lot to do in a very limited period of time,” explains Fischer. “We began designing the boat in October 2015 and had basically 18 months compared to many of the other teams that started earlier and had nearly three years to do the same thing.” Michel Desjoyeaux, co-founder of Groupama Team France, continues: “We are on a perpetual quest for excellence and time is running out. There is a level of urgency. To meet our deadlines, we needed to streamline development and the flow of information between the different project actors.”
“Collaboration between the design team and the crew is essential,” Fischer says. “With Designed For Sea, we model everything in 3D, design the foil using the composites features, analyze the structure, and simulate the boat’s behavior in the water. The resulting 3D virtual mockup provides the crew with a precise idea of the future boat before construction even begins. Having this preliminary view allows them to become familiar with the boat and for us to make the necessary adjustment before we’re too far downstream.” Franck Cammas, the skipper leading the Groupama Team France crew, adds: “Everyone must be attentive to each other’s requirements. The designers must foresee what the skipper will experience when navigating, and design the boat accordingly, and the skipper must work hand-in-hand with the architects and engineers as early as possible so that the components are correctly designed from the start.”
The 3DEXPERIENCE platform is an important asset in our quest for leadership. It enables our designers to express their expertise to build a boat of superior craftsmanship and technological prowess.
When the team built the boat based on the 3D model designed with the 3DEXPERIENCE platform, everything fell into place the first time around. “A boat like this is the sum of many complex mechanical and electrical systems each comprising components of all sizes fabricated either in house or by third parties,” Fischer says. “The moment of truth came during assembly. All the pieces of the puzzle fit just like they did in the 3D virtual mock-up. It was a great moment.”
French sailing team to race in the 2017 America's Cup sailing competition.
Products: 50 foot Class AC Foiler catamaran and 45 foot Class AC Test
Team: 85 passionate designers, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, sailors, communication specialists, medical crew, and people responsible for the financial and logistics aspects of the project.