As ORACLE TEAM USA prepares to unveil its new America’s Cup Class boat this week, designer Bryan Baker says the new boats are the fastest ever designed and built and raced in the 166-year old competition.
“For the given wind strengths, this boat now would annihilate an AC72,” he says. “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 the team, writing code to predict performance for any given design element.
“I write software that predicts how fast the boat is going to go,” he explains. “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 says. “Then you have a mission to figure out what went wrong or what wasn’t correctly modeled. 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 about to come on stream, Baker says his job is far from over.
“There are still advances to be made in the control systems and how we use the boat,” he says. “Every day we’re learning. You’ll see the performance increase the whole time.”