America’s Cup: The Race to a Winning Design

By Amy Reyes

Americas Cup Design Challenge BAR 2.jpgAmerica’s Cup. You might not think “design” when you hear about it, but you should. True, it’s one of the greatest sporting challenges in the world. To win requires a sailing team in peak physical shape that works in sync. But the America’s Cup is just as much a challenge of design as it is one of sport. You need an optimal design that’s tested and proven to work before you ever hit the water. A better design equals better performance, and that can mean the difference between taking home the cup… or returning empty handed.

That’s why Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) is using NX to design their boat for the 2017 America’s Cup challenge. The team aims to bring the cup home to Britain for the first time since the race’s inception in 1851, and NX helps them tackle their biggest design challenges.

The boat will fly in the air more than sail through the water due to hydrofoils—carbon composite blades similar to paddle boards—that lift the hull above the water’s surface. Thus, understanding computational fluid dynamics (CFD) is crucial for BAR’s designers. Scripts in NX let them produce hundreds of CFD geometries “at the push of a button,” says technical director Andy Claughton.

 Americas Cup Design Challenge BAR.jpg

Time is of the essence with a race of this kind. There are no second chances. To ensure they only spend design time on the best possible options, the team also uses NX scripting capabilities to generate thousands of geometrical variations overnight. “We would never use some of those shapes,” says designer Simon Schofield, “but by exploring all possibilities, we know we are not missing anything.”

Watch the video case study below to hear more from BAR on how NX and Teamcenter will help them return America’s Cup to Britain.

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(view in My Videos)

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This article first appeared on the Siemens Digital Industries Software blog at