Jaguar Land Rover Takes to the Water
Gary S. Vasilash –
May 3, 2016
This is something thatâs not ordinarily seen on this page as, well, it isnât a motor vehicle:
Thatâs right. It has a sail. No motor.
More to the point, it is the Land Rover BAR, a boat thatâs built for the Americaâs Cup regatta, which will be held in Bermuda in 2017.
Now, just because the name âLand Roverâ is part of the name of the yacht isnât the reason why weâre running it here (although it could be).
Itâs actually because two members of the British Americaâs Cup team participated in something thatâs familiar to vehicle development engineers: wind tunnel testing.
Thatâs right: they were determining the aero of the Land Rover BAR boat.
Sailors Leigh McMillan and Matt Cornwell went to the Motor Industry Research Association facility east of Birmingham in the UK and spent three days of wind tunnel testing.
They were able to get speeds up to 60 mph and as is the case with car exterior development in the tunnel, smoke wands were used so that engineers were able to see the flow of air not only around the hull of the boat, but the sailorsâ bodies, too.
Explained Cornwell, âAs professional sailors we are always looking at ways to make marginal gains, no matter how small, that will help make the difference between winning and losing. As we reach speeds of over 50 mph on the water, we need to ensure we understand the impact our positions and movement have on the aerodynamic efficiency of the boat.â
Tony Harper, head of Research, Jaguar Land Rover said, âThese facilities are integral to further our automotive aerodynamic research and development, so to work with the sailing team in this testing environment is of fundamental importance. The team is utilizing our expertise in aerodynamics design. The sailors are the only source of power available to control the wingsail and hydrofoils and the more aerodynamically efficient they are when they do that work the better and faster the boat will sail.
âTogether, the wing and crew can generate over 100 bhp – enough to propel two-tons of boat and its six man crew across the water at over 50 mph.”
And realize thatâs 50 mph while standing on a surface that is undoubtedly on an angle thatâs wet and probably getting wetter as the race goes on.
Knowing how to work under those conditions is critical.