In 2017, the beautiful azure waters around Bermuda will play host to the 35th America's Cup, the world's premiere sailing competition. ORACLE TEAM USA will return to defend its title after winning the past two editions in spectacular and convincing fashion.
Since 2010, the entire sport has undergone an unprecedented surge of innovation. The "old way" of racing—relying on human intuition to react to weather and water—has been eclipsed by data-driven design and real-time analytics to build faster boats, train better athletes, and win more challenging races.
ORACLE TEAM USA, pioneer in data-driven racing, is again betting on technology to claim victory in Bermuda.
ORACLE TEAM USA training in Bermuda for the 35th America's Cup.
This new approach to sailing involves using hundreds of real-time sensors that collect gigabytes of data every time the boat enters the water. The team crunches, parses, visualizes, and distills troves of information about weather conditions, ship integrity, sailor health, and much more. Key insights help determine the actual design and maneuvering of the hull and sail. And when the race starts, the crew is not only equipped with in-depth course playbooks, but also with personal devices that read back race conditions in real time.
The unprecedented success of ORACLE TEAM USA is no accident. The team has fully invested in objective data, providing a path for iterative and innovative performance gains. Every sailor and boat designer on the team is trained to read the data and participate in debriefings and design discussions.
Sailing in the America's Cup requires considerable athleticism and the ability to read crucial data in real time.
Embracing data-driven design doesn’t stop at boat design. In fact, more than ever, the crew must maintain a level of athleticism beyond sailors from a generation ago. Training is 12 to 14 hours a day, six days a week. And every member of the crew wears personal fitness devices that track pulse, temperature, and other biometrics, all feeding the pool of data used to analyze and boost team performance.
In 2017, ORACLE TEAM USA will face fresh challenges in Bermuda. The rest of the racing world has become enlightened to the innovation possible with data-driven design, and, like ORACLE TEAM USA, are betting their race strategy on it.
ORACLE TEAM USA runs test after test on new boat designs, using data to refine and iterate every component of the boat.
So how is the team remaining at the cutting edge? Two words: more and new. First, the boat and its sailors are outfitted with more real-time sensors for even richer data collection—up to 1,000 on the boat, 300 on the wing alone. Second, the team is augmenting quantitative data with drone footage and audio recordings for richer analysis when debriefing from practice runs. A new partnership with Intel to model fluid dynamics based on the data gathered will lead to insights not even possible just three years ago.
When ORACLE TEAM USA takes to the water in June 2017 in Bermuda, every analysis, insight, and innovation will be tested against the best teams in the world. And the world will be watching.
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