Volume I, Number 2
 

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Design Program
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New Tack for Design Team

The AmericaOne design team has expanded its horizons to include what happens above the water with all that goes on below. In a move calculated to improve the odds of victory in New Zealand, experienced sail analysts and designers have been recruited to the design team. Traditionally, such specialists are brought on board much later in the game, and thus often are not directly involved in the overall design program.

"The integration of the aerodynamic forces of the sails with the hydrodynamics of the hull and appendages is crucial to balanced sailing performance," explains Principal Designer Bruce Nelson. "This is one area where Team New Zealand excelled in 1995 and demonstrated that big gains in performance are possible. Our goal is to provide the sailing team with a highly refined design in which all the components work together in concert."

Joining the design and technology team are Michael Richelsen and Robert Hook, both America's Cup veterans. Richelsen, with Italy's Il Moro di Venezia in 1992 and oneAustralia in 1995, is a computational analyst who specializes in aerodynamics, sail design and performance. He developed much of the computer code used by North Sails. Hook is an experienced sail designer and analyst, and has worked closely with Richelsen, including during the oneAustrailia campaign.

"They both work well together and have a strong understanding of the physics involved; we're fortunate to have them on our team," Nelson says.

What's more, Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) is also contributing a great deal in aerodynamics and sail design through the application of high-level computational fluid dynamics software. "They've made some recent advances that now make it practical to apply them to the sail analysis problem. This opens many exciting new possibilities to us," Nelson adds.

Also joining the team as head of the structural design program is Guy Buchanan, a creative structural engineer with experience in IACC mast and hull structural design, including work for Young America in 1995. He is very familiar with sailing vessel performance and load conditions.

He is additionally responsible for evaluating offers of support from outside organizations, and assigning specific design problems to these organizations so their resources can be utilized most effectively. "It is very valuable to have such an experienced structures expert that has been through a recent AC campaign," Nelson says. "We don't have to spend time teaching him about the process or the class rule."

The AmericaOne design program is concluding its developmental stage, during which time the team members identified the areas of maximum potential gain within the IACC rule. The next phase will combine experimental testing using scale models in wind tunnels and towing tanks with computational analyses of various design concepts. This is beginning now and will continue through next year. Initially, two one-third-scale models are being built and will be tested; this process will continue through next year.


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