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What a month of June!!!
We are now well into the 2014 racing season of the Northern hemisphere.

The TP52 have already crowned the 2014 world champion: Quantum Racing.  This team is really dominating the class and we are very proud to be working on the daily performance analysis of the boat. It is the second world title to which we participate with the team (and our third world title in TP as we also did Ran performance analysis last year). Phoenix ended up second and is also using our performance software with our support when and were needed. Provezza, the other KND soft and services used, was also having a great regatta until their new rig collapsed.

Meantime in the IRC72 class (the 'mini maxis'), the season is very open. While the brand new Ran had convincingly won the first event of the season, Palma Vela, Alegre has shown great pace to win the Rolex Giraglia inshore series for the second year in a row. It was her first event with (almost) the full 2014 crew on the boat and a  slightly revised configuration. On the other side of the Atlantic, it is a bit of the same: Bella Mente won Key West in January but since it's been Shockwave turn of shining as she won the Carib 600 and the Bermuda Race (both real time and overall IRC). We are working with both teams on their performance analysis program.
In august, the Copa del Rey will see Alegre, Jethou, Robertissima, Shockwave, Caol Ila and Bella race together. However Ran wont be there as they are racing the event with their TP52 so the suspens will remain complete when finally everyone will meet in Porto Cervo for the Rolex Mini Maxi worlds, beginning of September. Last year regatta was won by Ran with Alegre 2nd and the result was secured in the last run of the last race!  We are looking forward to both these events and will do our best to support the teams who trust us with their performance analysis (Alegre, Bella, Shockwave, Jethou and Caol Ila).

Besides we have started working with two new classes: Super Yachts as we helped Magic Blue during  Menorca Maxi  (she ended up 1st) and Velsheda during the Palma SuperYacht Cup. It is great to see that we can bring something to help sailors on these series and it is quite something to be able to look into the data of a yacht designed by Charles E. Nicholson in 1933. 

On the design side, we are pleased to see that the new C&C30 appears to be a great boat, with all sailors enthused by their  first sailing sessions (and this includes people like Barry Caroll who knows a thing or two about successful 30 footers as he was the builder of the Mumm30...). Next months, we are starting  a couple of exiting projects, that will give us material for future posts...

Enjoy your summer sail and if you happen to be in Palma during Copa del Rey or Porto Cervo during the Rolex Maxi we will be happy to meet with you and discuss performance.

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Full Steam ahead!

Last week was indeed very busy for the 'curve riders' as we were working simultaneously with Quantum Racing sailing the Capri 52 super series, Jethou sailing in Capri as well in the maxi division, Magic Blue sailing the inaugural Menorca Maxi and of course the long term performance projects, AbuDhabi for the Volvo Ocean Race and Virbac for the Vendee Globe. 3 people working on all these projects isn't luxury!

The outcome has been quite good as Magic Blue won the Wally regatta with one race to spare, beating convincingly both Wally Cento including the new Magic Carpet 3. It was the first time we have had the chance of working directly as performance analysts on a Superyacht/Wally regatta and  we are looking forward to work again with MagicBlue later this year.

Quantum Racing ended up 3rd in Capri Super Series, not the best result for the team who won both US events earlier in the season but still a podium! It has been a tough race with little, shifty wind (racing abandoned on the coastal race and no racing at all the following day for dying wind in both cases). However, if not because of the wind, Capri was exciting as it was the first 52 event of  the brand new Phoenix and the first event sailed with the larger spinnakers and the longer bowsprit. Phoenix (also a KND software user) proved to be a fast boat, winning the first race. Her crew is new to the circuit and needs time to become more consistent but for sure they have the correct hardware! On the Quantum side, quite some time was spent figuring out the new downwind targets, we now start to have a good idea from 4 to 12kts TWS. Hopefully we'll see a bit more wind in a fortnight in Porto Cervo for the Worlds. 

Jethou ended up 3rd of the Volcano Race, behind Robertissima and Esimit in a slooooow race plagued by no wind . The learning curve on an IRC72 is steep but she is staffed with good people around her owner Sir Peter Ogden including Brad Butterworth as a tactician. No doubt she will become more and more competitive as the season progresses. 

We'll discuss the long term projects, Volvo and IMOCA in another post...

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The 2014 European IRC72 season is on!

Lots of interesting things to watch in PalmaVela 2014 as  Alegre, Jethou,  the new Ran and the old one now renamed Robertissima will be racing each other.

Alegre: In 2013 for her first season, Alegre  won 3 events, the Giraglia,  the Copa del Rey (with 5 bullets out of 11 races) & Middle Sea Race. She finished 2nd to Ran in the Worlds, the series being decided in the last run of the last race! Thus there is an unfinished business and the whole team is looking forward to do better in 2014. The boat and the team have undergone a few modifications over the winter to enhance a couple of weak spots identified last year. The team has been practicing in Valencia last week and so far so good. Everyone is looking forward to the racing. We will carry on our collaboration which started at the design stage (KND provided all CFD and VPP), followed by performance analysis. 

Jethou is the former Stig. Right from her maiden regatta in the Copa del Rey 2012, she was acknowledged to be very competitive but lacking a bit of consistency. Now in the hands of Sir Peter Ogden, she is race ready for 2014. The former Jethou was the smallest of the competitive mini maxis and therefore racing mostly against time as her larger rivals battled it out between each other. The challenge for the team will be to join the herd and fight their place to the top of the fleeet in real time as well. While Brad Butterworth showed great skills of strategist with the small boat i the past, no question he will now also display his tactical skills which lead to 4 America's Cup victories. We are honored that Jethou has decided to work with KND this year for their performance analysis. 

The new Ran is just out of Persico where it was built under the expert eye of our good friend Michel Marie.  She had her maiden sail a few days ago and quite a few pics can be seen on Jesus Renedo site.Hard to draw conclusions as she was obviously in early testing mode, with many people walking around, no proper hicking... She  looks powerful and one question will be how good they can deal with lighter air regattas. In any case, the expectations are high as its predecessor has been one of the most successful 72 for the last 4 years.  While last season  Ran worked with us during the worlds, the team has decided to develop their performance analysis program in house with the new boat.

Robertissima is the old Ran. She has shown last September that she has still the legs to fight head to head against the newest mini maxis as she secured a third world title. since, she competed  against Alegre in the Middle Sea Race ending up 4th while Alegre won the IRC 1 Class. While this is the program that we know the least, it is sailed by a very good crew including several Azzura TP52 team members. The team now needs to make sure all the pieces of the puzzle work together to compete at the top in 2014.

First answers, Thursday May 1st...

Today the  Victory base was a busy place. While Phoenix enjoyed their last day of training with their new TP52,  the IRC72 Alegre is getting ready to the 2014 season.  More soon...

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A very useful e-book for those who are interested in Navigation and Performance written by someone who really knows what he is talking about!

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The 2014 US 52SuperSeries is over, Miami was the last regatta sailed under the 2013 TP52 rule. Now on, the bowsprits will be 700mm longer and the kites 10sqm larger until the end of the season. Then the 2015 TP52 rule will yield some radical modifications: lighter boats with a deeper draft and increased sail area up and down wind. Composite rigging will also be allowed.
However, before 2015, there are still 4 events to compete in the 52 SuperSeries including the Worlds Championship as well as the whole summer season in the US. This year and for the fourth season, we enjoy working with Quantum Racing (already adding to 2 victories to a long string of successes). We also worked with Ran on the two US events and a new program joined us in Miami: Hooligan. 
So, what is it exactly that we are doing for these teams? We nickname our work on sailing data: 'curve riding'. Today I will try to explore WL curve riding (offshore ‘curve riding’ requires slightly different skills, we’ll discuss it another day).
The first thing to do is… wait!  Luckily on the 52 SuperSeries the virtual spectator allows to have an idea of the racing. Once finished, the boats have to come back to the dock and the navigators reach an internet access to send us the day log files as well as key events: starting line marks and day’s events (sail changes, technical problems, on board performance comments…). Boats and navigators have different setups so a bit of data massaging is sometimes required to be able to read logs coming from Deckman, Expedition or Adrena (French offshore sailor’s software). Hardware being usually B&G WTP3, RacingBravo, Cossworth or Faro. When available, sailvision systems such as VSPARS adds another layer of data which to be combined with the logfiles.
Once the data is received and prepared (which takes from 30s to a couple of minutes in the most complex cases), the first task is to position all events correctly. On WL racing, the navigators are busy and often log sail changes events in the middle of a leg once they settle after the rounding maneuver and answering tactician or strategist questions about leg strategy. While it’s fairly easy to re-position events on  WL race courses, this can be a bit more tedious on offshore racing as there are less obvious ‘corners’ to the race course.
The next step is to look into every valid tack and gybe in order to locate the begining of the maneuver (that is when the BSP and TWA start changing) and its’ end (that is when the BSP & TWA stabilize again). Once finished, one can look into the delta TWA, HDG, COG and TWD and derive the quality of the calibration as well as potential wind shear. Collecting tacks and gybes data over long periods also allows to get an idea of the leeway of the boat. The same process is applied to mark rounding’s in order to detect potential issues with the upwash tables (meant to correct the airflow variations on the Masthead unit when sailing upwind with a jib and downwind with a topmast kite).  After maneuvers, it is time to look into stable phases. Individual log points (usually sampled at 1Hz) are not very interesting because their value can be significantly skewed by wind transitions. Using these points will lead to zooming onto artificially good data: when lulls begin and the boat is sailing on its inertia with the previous (stronger) wind performance. To avoid this phenomenon, we hunt for phases when conditions are stable. The phases can last from 30s inshore to 180s offshore. Afterward, we work on the phase’s average values which carry a lot more value to analyze the day performance. 
It is now possible to generate the calibration reports as we have a good idea of the wind (with the maneuvers) and the BSP by comparing to the SOG over the day phases.
Once the calibration is assessed, we can get into the day data analysis. This is done for upwind and downwind phases. Plotting VMG graphs and XY curves of important variables (While it may vary a bit from one boat to another, BSP, TWA, AWA, HEEL, RUDDER, FSY, RAKE vs TWS are usual day plots). The other type of graphs commonly used are the crossover displays where one can visualize the phases in a TWA/TWS graph. The color of the phases can be for instance the sails used and sorting phases with efficiency within 2% of the day average allows to see if sails were used in range or not and to adjust the crossover chart if needed. Offshore boats can be more entertaining with crossovers for sails, keel cant, dagger board, stacking & ballast!  
The final step of the analysis is to review the whole day analysis in order to detect points of interest to be shared with the team. The philosophy here is to remain as quiet as possible. No need to waste crew’s time re-explaining things they know already very well. This also reinforces the impact of the comments when they are really needed. A summary email is sent to the team with reports attached (xlsx and pdfs), at about 1-2am it is time to go to bed in order to answer potential questions before the boat set sails on the next day.

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A quick note to congratulate (once again!) Quantum Racing crew for their splendid victory in Miami 52 SuperSeries. Last season, Miami was the only regatta that QR did not win...
We have also enjoyed working with Hooligan for the first time. It's been a pleasure to add our contribution to the program and winning a race on the first 52 SuperSeries event is already a great achievement calling for more success in future events.

The boats will now head back to Europe and the next regatta will be in Capri in May.  That will be a very interesting event as it will be the first race for the new Phoenix and all boats will have a 70 cm longer bowsprit and 10 sq m larger kites. That will cause downwind targets to change and there will for sure be lots of work and questions on the performance side before and during the event.

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Although we have been somewhat off-line for a while, it doesnt mean we remained idle since the last post in October. We actually have been super busy working with great teams and helping them achieve their goals: winning races!

We start with the 2013 Sydney Hobart. We are working for the second year in a row with WildOats XI. We enjoy working with the team performer, Steve Quigley as he is well aware of everything that goes on the boat (and also involved in Woxi design evolution). He is able to use our tools on board and particularly so OnBoardAssistant (OBA) to collect the numerous events related to change of trim and sails. To give an idea, over 100 events are logged in the Hobart race, that is a change of setting every 1/2 hour during the 2 days and 6 hours of racing. No time to rest on board!

This year, as most probably know already, Woxi added a horizontal foil to its canting keel, ballast and already existing dagger boards.  The idea being to compensate for the lack of stability compared to its powerful rivals like Loyal and help lift the bow in power reaching conditions.  Figuring out the best use of the systems has taken most of the performance analysis time this year. We were not helped by a string of technical problems with the rig and lighter weather conditions that we would have liked. Eventually after a last session with Steve on the Christmas day, all the hard work on the targets and crossover charts paid with a 7th line honor win.  This victory was really good a Woxi was seriously challenged by a fleet including the JuanK 100 Loyal, the new Beau Geste Botin80 and  2 VO70 including the ex Groupama (that we know so well...). 

Needless to say that without a proper data analysis strategy the performance analysis of such a complex yacht would be a nightmare. We start from the logging of the events, then assess the calibration and end up with the detection of the interesting periods (phases as we call them) where the boat is sailing in somewhat stable conditions. We also pay attention to transitions and analyze the loss occurring during maneuvers (tacks, gybes and sail changes). 
Once this is done (including several discussions with Steve and the crew) we move to the analysis phase, compare with similar conditions in other events since we follow Woxi and draw conclusions on what went well, what went not so well (not much) and what might be improved in the future.

More soon!

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We wish a fair wind to Spindrift for its attempt to beat the America Discovery route record currently held by Franck Cammas Groupama 3. Spindrift is using KND-SailingPerformance tools since last summer to help extract the best performance out of their 40m VPLP tri. 

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For its last race of the season, Alegre 3 has won the IRC1 class in the Middle Sea Race;  600 nm around Sicily, beating its usual rival Ran under its new Robertissima  Italian colors. This has been a great first season as the boat won 3 out of 4 events it entered (Giraglia inshores, Copla del Rey & MSR) ending up second 1 point behind Ran in the worlds.

KND-SailingPerformance is proud to have been part of this great team from the design stage back in 2012 to the on the water development this season. 
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