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The Sailing Yacht Research Foundation’s Wide Light Project on hydrodynamics of high performance boats


Mass_fractionThe Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) in Newport (Rhode Island) published reports on its landmark study of the hydrodynamics of offshore high performance boats. The final report was written by project leader Andy Claughton of Land Rover BAR.
The Wide Light Boats Project was conducted by a panel of experts in the field of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), where six research teams are using CFD tools to describe the flow characteristics around a base model provided by SYRF. The purpose of the study was to provide insight into the accuracy of existing modeling methods in predicting the performance of typical Wide-Light designs. It is intended for this information to better inform and equip handicapping systems and box rules to address these designs.
Started in April 2014 and completed in November 2015, this study engaged five different stakeholders who carried out blind Computational Fluid Dynamics analyses on an identical test matrix using different computational codes and approaches. The same test matrix was run as a tank test for both canoe body only and appended configurations as a control for the hull geometry. The CFD results were compared with the tank test control results to determine CFD model accuracy.
This project helped illustrate the accuracy of commercial CFD codes in predicting the forces on a Wide-Light sailing yacht. In addition, this project provides a comprehensive set of data against which researchers may develop and validate their own numerical tools.
“This was an important study for those interested in not only the design of boats of this type, but also as a data source for handicappers interested in the behavior of these boats that act in both displacement and planing modes,” said Myles Cornwell, Executive Director of SYRF. “The 3D model has been made available and SYRF encourages CFD practitioners and students to use the results for their own validation of modern hull shapes.”
The project report and the data generated by this study are available in the SYRF Technical Resources Library, a rich online repository of research papers, articles and technical data related to the study of performance sailing.


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