The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF), an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing the science behind sailing, is working on developing and cataloguing accurate handicapping formulae to predict and improve sailboat performances. Findings from SYRF sponsored projects are meant to be incorporated into existing handicapping formulae to improve the equity of yacht racing.
SYRF is, since 2006, composed of a group of sailors and scientists who, through innovative research into the performance of competitive sailing yachts, aimed to develop the tools that aid in promulgating better handicap racing in all categories. Two new projects in this direction will be pursued in 2016: a Cloud Based CFD tool and a study of Downwind Aero Moments & Forces.
Cloud Based CFD
Computational Fluid Dynamics, despite being very useful in the analysis and design of yacht aero and hydrodynamics, isn’t being used often because of prohibitive software and hardware costs and a steep learning curve. Only large budget projects perform such analysis, while the majority of projects still lacks access to CFD specialists and equipment.
SYRF’s goal is to allow for the use of CFD across the industry, through the Cloud Based CFD project: the tool is expected to make CFD more accessible and reduce the training required to use it.
The Cloud CFD tool will deliver a pre-configured settings package through an internet based user interface; the package will incorporate CAD Cleanup, automated meshing, hydrodynamic analysis, and post-processing. The end user need only upload a 3D model of the hull and foils and the basic parameters to run a CFD analysis.
Developing a cloud based CFD tool will benefit both the yacht and software industries: yacht designers will be allowed to use modern technology in every project no matter the budget, and yacht handicappers will be able to examine the performance of new designs to update rating rules.
Downwind Aero Moments & Forces
Modern handicapping rules rely upon velocity prediction programs (VPP). Currently, aero VPPs depend upon lift and drag coefficients determined from experimental wind tunnel results that are plagued by difficulties in accounting for the scaling effect, flying shape, and wind profile. Aero VPPs are not sufficient to accurately predict downwind aerodynamic performance.
Leading sailing yacht makers use proprietary Fluid-Structure-Interaction (FSI) modeling software to overcome the inaccuracy of VPPs. As such software is proprietary property, the benefits of this technology have not yet reached the handicapping community.
Downwind Aero Moments and Forces project is aimed to improve the accuracy of modern handicapping rules in understanding downwind aerodynamic performance. By collaborating with the firms using FSI modeling, this project will produce a set of results comprised of all aerodynamic moments and forces for a range of downwind sails, angles, and wind speeds utilizing RANS code coupled with finite element analysis results. These results will be made available to the public and will serve as a reliable validation source and a comparison point for the scientific and sailing community to make significant improvements to current VPPs.