Americas Cup World Series - Portsmouth UK
The latest round of the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series takes place in Portsmouth UK from 22 to 24 July. The UK team, Land Rover BAR are second in the overall standings with three World Series events left in 2016.
After racing in The Solent at the Portsmouth event there are still two more rounds with everything to play for at Toulon France in September and Fukuoka Japan in November.
Britain has never won the America’s Cup, a competition that dates back to an original race around the Isle of Wight in 1851. In 2013 Ben Ainslie was a key player in the sensational comeback of Oracle Team USA against Emirates Team New Zealand in the 34th America’s Cup. He is now determined to bring the Cup home for Britain.
This week a dramatic documentary, narrated by presenter and broadcaster Clare Balding, gets behind the scenes access to Britain’s Challenger for the 35th America’s Cup – Land Rover BAR. Led by the most successful Olympic sailor in history, four times Olympic gold medallist Sir Ben Ainslie, ‘Taking Flight’ follows Ainslie and his team as they prepare to try and win sport’s oldest international trophy.
Harnessing the Power of Machines & Artificial Intelligence
The power of intelligent machines is a vital area where Land Rover’s research and development division is adding considerable strength to Land Rover BAR’s challenge to win the America’s Cup.
Machine learning evolved from pattern recognition and computational learning theory in Artificial Intelligence (A.I.). Sailing is an ideal application for these technologies because there are so many variables and one fundamental unknown - the wind.
The team’s testing boats have a sensor array that measures over 300 variables from fibre optic strain measurement to six-axis accelerometer and gyroscopic motion sensors. Those are the variables, often recording a value many times a second, scooping vast quantities of information into a database.
The wind power source is a real unknown - the faster and harder the wind blows, the quicker the boat can go. Unlike a Formula One car – where the engine’s power output can be calibrated and measured very accurately and is very repeatable from test to test – the wind is constantly changing in speed and angle, and changing differently at different heights during each test. These micro changes are very difficult to measure, and it’s tough to quantify performance improvements.
This is where Land Rover’s machine-learning expertise comes in. The intelligent algorithms can sort through vast quantities of data and see patterns in the variables; patterns that could never be recognised by a human analyst. Those patterns allow the factors that are making a difference in performance to be recognised.
The 34th America’s Cup established just how important it is to maintain stable flight on the foils through high performance tacks and gybes, The project at Land Rover BAR is focuses on what is causing the pattern and what is it that makes the difference between staying airborne and crashing back into the waves.
The America’s Cup and Land Rover BAR
The America’s Cup
The America’s Cup is the oldest international trophy in world sport, pre-dating the modern Olympics, the Ryder Cup and the World Cup – and Britain has never won it.
The first race was organised by the Royal Yacht Squadron in 1851, the same year that both Reuters and the New York Times were founded. It was a single race around the Isle of Wight, open to yachts of all nations.
The prize was a silver Cup that was valued at One Hundred Pounds sterling. The black schooner America won this nascent contest of maritime supremacy, outclassing the rest of the field to be first at the finish line off Cowes. To honour that victory, it was renamed the America’s Cup and became a challenge trophy, open to sailing clubs of all nations.
American teams representing the New York Yacht Club successfully defended the Cup against all challenges for 132 years – the longest winning streak in sport – until an Australian team won in 1983. Since then the Cup has become a truly global phenomena, with challenges from all five continents. If you win the America’s Cup, you also win the right to set the rules, choose the venue and the format of the next one. The current holder, Oracle Team USA, has decided that the 35th match for the America’s Cup will be raced in 48 foot foiling multi-hulls in Bermuda in 2017.
Land Rover BAR – Ben Ainslie Racing
Land Rover BAR was launched on 10th June 2014. The team is made up of some of the best British and international sailors, designers, builders and racing support.
The team was conceived by Sir Ben Ainslie, with the long-term aim of challenging for Britain and bringing the America’s Cup back home to where it all began in 1851.
Ben will develop and lead a British entry capable of winning the prestigious trophy, something Britain has so far never managed to achieve. Land Rover BAR is a commercial sporting team, with a number of individual private investors alongside corporate partners.
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