Episode 3 of Our “What is…” Series Focuses on How The North Design Suite™ Powers AC75s
In episode three we get technical again and aim to answer a burning question: what is the “Engine Above Deck”? You might think it’s a pretty straight forward answer (no, there’s no literal engine). And, at first it kind of is, but once you dive into it, it’s actually quite complex. Press play to learn all there is to know.
We know now that when flying, the AC75s experience considerably less hydro-drag compared to conventional boats, but to go from floating to flying you need a lot of horsepower. And that’s where the term ‘Engine Above the Deck’ comes into play. The term refers to integrating the aero– the North 3Di sails, the Southern Spars rig, and Future Fibres rigging– with the boat’s hydro package: the AC75’s hull and foils. In the 36th America’s Cup, all the systems, from the rig to the twin skin mainsail and its control system, to the foils under the water were designed to work in harmony to maximize performance potential.
To make this happen, you need the North Design Suite software. The design suite is a powerful piece of software that is able to build a 3D shape of a sail and rig to determine the flying shapes, as well as the stresses and strains going on in the sail and rig. All sail designers at North Sails, including the embedded team designers working in the America’s Cup teams, rely on the five different programs within the North Design Suite to build their team’s AC75 sails: DESMAN, SPIRAL, WARPS, FLOW, and MEMBRAIN. Throughout the AC36, the software was rapidly developing to meet the sailmaker’s needs.
North Sails invented the scientific approach to sailmaking and, today, the North Sails Design Suite™ is the most powerful and diverse sail design tool in the industry. The cool thing about the whole process is that it’s not just a tool for the elite designers to play with; it ultimately trickles down and benefits all customers– including those who enjoy Wednesday night racing and weekend cruises.
There’s so much more to it, and we promise you there’s even more to talk about… this is only the abridged version! Watch the video and find out more about the Engine Above Deck and North Design Suite.
A total of 29 teams, representing 9 different nations, engaged in fierce competition across six events this year. While Cape 31s have attracted some of the world's best sailors, the class rules, which limit the crew to three professionals, also create an environment where owner-drivers race with friends and family.
NORTH SAILS NAMED OFFICIAL SAILMAKER OF ROYAL NEW ZEALAND YACHT SQUADRON
North Sails is proud to be a new major partner to The Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron. This partnership sees North Sails become RNZYS’ Official Sailmaker for the next three years and the supplier to the club’s new Emirates Team New Zealand Elliott 7 fleet, due to launch in early 2024.
This article was originally written as a Seahorse Tech Brief sponsored by North Sails. At first no-one believed the AC75 concept could ever possibly work. Barely three years later and the smaller AC40 offspring of those as-it-turned-out spectacularly successful AC75s are available to all (well sort of...).