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July 09, 2007
SolidWorks Helps Propel 32nd America's Cup Winners
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Jeff Rowe - Managing Editor

by Jeff Rowe - Contributing Editor
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Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) and Alinghi were competing in the 2007 America's Cup last week in racing yachts designed using SolidWorks 3D CAD software. A wide range of features on both boats including the hulls, winch mounts, and other deck hardware was designed in SolidWorks to be durable, dependable, and as light as possible in the most demanding of racing conditions.

Taking place off the coast of Valencia, Spain, the 32nd America's Cup features a rematch of the two yachts that competed for the championship in 2003. Switzerland-based Alinghi, the first team to return the Auld Mug trophy to Europe in 152 years, is defending its title against ETNZ, which has competed for the America's Cup four times (winning twice) since 1987. Both teams used SolidWorks to push the limits of hull and keel design within strict America's Cup guidelines.

ETNZ used SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks design analysis software to develop and test new approaches to structural design such as the keel fin, which must support a weight of nearly 20,000 kilograms when the boat is heeled over under a strong wind. "Every stay, eye bolt, and winch must meet exacting standards so the boat performs to its maximum potential," said Grant Dalton, managing director for ETNZ. "SolidWorks and COSMOSWorks let our engineers visualize different concepts and see new ways to make the boat faster."

Shortly after its founding in 2000, Alinghi migrated from 2D drawings to SolidWorks 3D CAD to streamline development of components that require constant innovation to stay ahead of the competition. "SolidWorks had become so widespread in our industry it was important for us to speak the same design language as our suppliers," said Grant Simmer, managing director and design team coordinator for Alinghi. "Our engineers use SolidWorks to design close to the edge so we can get the best performance from every single feature of the boat."

ETNZ won the Louis Vuitton Cup earlier this month to earn the right to challenge Alinghi for the championship. The America's Cup runs from June 23 through July 7. The team that is the first to win five races, wins.

"This is the premier event for yacht racing, and it is a test of tactics, execution, and technology," said Rainer Gawlick, vice president of worldwide marketing for SolidWorks Corporation. "Good luck to both teams as they race toward the Auld Mug this year!"

Emirates Team New Zealand and Alinghi work with authorized SolidWorks' resellers Intercad Pty. Ltd. and e-Systems, respectively, for ongoing software training, implementation, and support.

A little information on the two teams:

  • Alinghi, Defender of the 32nd America's Cup, flies the colors of the Societe Nautique de Geneve, Switzerland. Its partners for the 2007 campaign include UBS and BT Infonet (main partners), as well as Audemars Piguet, SGS, Nespresso, MSC Cruises, Wisekey and North Sails (co-sponsors). For more information, visit the Web site (
  • www.alinghi.com ).
  • Team New Zealand won the America's Cup, the world's oldest sporting trophy, in 1995 and successfully defended it in Auckland, New Zealand, in 2000. A Swiss team took the Cup from New Zealand in 2003. Now with sponsorship from the Dubai-based airline Emirates and Toyota New Zealand, the team is preparing for a challenge in Valencia, Spain, in 2007. Two new yachts will be designed and built for the 2007 America's Cup and put through a strenuous testing program. For more information, visit the Web site (
  • www.emiratesteamnz.com ).

    Commentary By Jeffrey Rowe, Editor

    It’s the week of the Fourth of July holiday here in the U.S. and the 32nd America's Cup is fast coming to a close. Sailboat racing at any level is a real challenge, and at this level, is extremely complex as a myriad issues come into play, especially weather and sea conditions.

    The America’s Cup is a challenge-driven yacht series that involves a best-of-nine series of match racing (a race between two boats). Since the 1992 match, it has been sailed with the International America’s Cup Class (IACC) sloop, a monohull boat that has an average length of about 75 feet (24 m). Any challenger who meets the requirements specified in the Deed of Gift, which governs the regatta, has the right to challenge the yacht club that holds the Cup. Since 1983, Louis Vuitton has sponsored the Louis Vuitton Cup as a prize for the winner of the challenger selection series (which was inaugurated for the 1970 match). The America’s Cup is a race between

    the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup and the current holder. If the challenging team wins the cup, the cup’s ownership is transferred from the defender’s yacht club to the winning team’s yacht club.

    On November 27, 2003 Alinghi announce it would defend the America’s Cup this year in Valencia, Spain, the first time since the original 1851 Isle of Wight race that the America’s Cup has been held in Europe. The deadline to challenge for the 32nd America’s Cup was April 29, 2005, when 11 challengers from nine countries had submitted formal entries.

    The challenger selection series, the Louis Vuitton Cup 2007, began in Valencia in April and concluded on June 6, 2007 after 122 matches. Emirates Team New Zealand won the challenger series and met Alinghi for the final quest for the Cup.

    The America’s Cup has always been a marriage of design, technology, and sailing ability. An America’s Cup team is only as good as its boat is fast, and one of the biggest influences on the final design of an America’s Cup boat is the weather that the boat is likely to experience during racing. America’s Cup teams invest a lot of time and money in researching the race course so that they can predict what range of wind and wave conditions they are most likely to encounter while racing. The data is invaluable in helping to understand the venue and to select the correct design so that a boat sails in its sweet spot (where it’s fastest in given


    The boats we see now are what are termed “America’s Cup Class.” This class was first conceived in response to the fiasco of the 1988 America’s Cup mismatch between Dennis Conner’s catamaran and the Kiwi “Big Boat.” To avoid a repeat of the calamity, the America’s Cup Class Rule was written to produce, “wholesome, fast and maneuverable day sailing monohulls of similar performance intended for spectacular match racing in a wide wind range . . . (creating yachts to be) raced around buoys, with tenders present, as opposed to offshore in high wind and rough sea conditions.”

    The America’s Cup Class Rule is a complex formula (see below) that trades length, displacement and sail area within general tolerances. In order to gain in one area that would make the resulting yacht design faster, you have to give up something in another area. A designer must trade off these variables, all the while considering the likely wind and sea conditions the boat will be racing in, to come up with the fastest ‘solution’ to the formula. As no two designers will have the same solution, the resulting boats are similar but each will have slightly different performance characteristics and sweet spots.

    The Rule is now in its fifth iteration, “turbocharges” the boats for the conditions likely to be encountered in the Mediterranean. So, while there are many changes from the early days in San Diego, many aspects of the America’s Cup Class endure.

    L = boat length (meters)

    DSP = displacement (cubic meters)

    The boats are narrower now , along with commensurate developments in rig and sail technology are immense compared to previous designs. However one aspect of their performance hasn’t changed at all, and that is the fact that they go to windward incredibly well. The narrow tacking angles and general upwind performance makes them very well suited for match racing, such as the America’s Cup. In terms of dimensions, the boats have evolved with less beam and tend toward the maximum allowable displacement for stability.

    Whether the America’s Cup Class Rule endures beyond this cycle of the Cup will be determined by the winner of the 32nd America’s Cup Match and the new Challenger of Record. With mutual consent they can decide to evolve the class rule further, or opt for an entirely new class of boat. Obviously, each direction has risks and rewards.

    Racing yacht design is an extremely complex endeavor, and is often more akin to aerospace design that it is to more ordinary boat design. As you can imagine, designs and how they were arrived at are secrets of the utmost degree. Trying to obtain any information from either of the teams was next to impossible. However, I did get a few tidbits of what SolidWorks was used for on the respective teams from SolidWorks Corp. For the Alinghi team, the following components were designed using SolidWorks: hull, keel fin, winches, machined parts, and steering systems. For the ETNZ team, the following components were designed using SolidWorks: hull, steel keel fin, solid lead keel bulb,

    and deck hardware. It’s interesting that both teams say they used SolidWorks for hull design. It would be as interesting to know exactly to what degree SolidWorks was actually used for hull design, because hulls can consist of some very complex aerodynamic surfaces. All in all, though, a nice development for MCAD.

    Editor’s Note: Alinghi defended its title on July 3, 2007, by a two-second winning margin in the seventh race, winning the match 5-2.

    The Week’s Top 5

    At MCADCafé we track many things, including the stories that have attracted the most interest from our subscribers. Below are the five news items that were the most viewed during last week.

    View22 Offers Combined Solution that Extends Autodesk Inventor to the Web

    View22 Technology Inc. ("View22")
    a provider of 3D Web commerce and media products, announced an integrated solution between Autodesk Inventor, Autodesk Intent, and Immersiv, View22's 3D web software. The combination creates an automated end-to-end offering that spans entry of customer requirements through creation of custom order engineering designs and manufacturing documents. Autodesk and View22 have agreed to enter a co-marketing relationship in which Autodesk will recommend View22 as a preferred partner for providing web-based, thin-client 3D sales automation solutions for its current and prospective customers. View22 will recommend Autodesk as a preferred partner for 3D design and engineer-to-order products for its current and prospective customers. Autodesk and View22 have worked closely together to integrate the Autodesk Inventor and Intent product suites with Immersiv to create a 3D web-based engineer-to-order sales automation solution. This solution will be co-marketed by Autodesk and View22 to address mass customization requirements. In addition, View22's software platform now natively supports Autodesk DWF, DXF, and 3DS file formats

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    Dassault Systemes and PROSTEP AG Partner

    Dassault Systemes (DS)
    announced an expanded CAA agreement with PROSTEP, a provider of solutions for product data integration. PROSTEP will develop and sell a new PLM SOA (service oriented architecture) connector taking advantage of DS's ENOVIA SOA enterprise middleware architecture. The connector will allow ENOVIA users to view, access, manage, and collaborate across PLM content from heterogeneous data sources such as Teamcenter, Windchill,
    Agile, and SAP PLM. PROSTEP's OpenPDM allows integration of PDM components in the Intranet and facilitates data exchange with external partners via a uniform interface. It is a service-oriented, modular system that can be tailored to various system environments. OpenPDM provides interfaces to all leading PLM, PDM, TDM and ERP systems as well as to other systems or applications involved in the product development process, and supports the consistent and secure exchange of data between PDM systems

    GibbsCAM Certified by Autodesk for Inventor 2008

    Gibbs and Associates announced that GibbsCAM has been certified for Autodesk Inventor 2008 under the Autodesk Inventor Certified Applications Program. GibbsCAM is able to directly read in native Autodesk Inventor model files for process planning and toolpath generation. The Inventor-to-GibbsCAM add-in also allows Autodesk Inventor models to be directly transferred from within Autodesk Inventor to GibbsCAM. Updates to
    either part geometry or process parameters are easily accommodated by GibbsCAM's full associativity across geometry, process, and toolpath.

    Chengdu Aircraft Selects VISTAGY's FiberSIM

    VISTAGY announced a partnership with Chengdu Aircraft Industrial (Group) Co. Ltd., a Chinese supplier to the global aviation industry, to create a world-class 3D model-based composite aircraft design and manufacturing process based on VISTAGY's FiberSIM software. FiberSIM will be Chengdu Aircraft's software solution for all future composite part development programs. Chengdu Aircraft utilizes FiberSIM's
    comprehensive set of tools to develop composite aircraft products and parts, such as wing skins and rudders for commercial airliners, from early conceptual design through product delivery. A composites engineering process includes many unique methodologies, such as ply-based design, fiber placement, and tape laying, that are unlike any other product development process. FiberSIM supports composite methodologies and processes, and provides a platform for sharing design data across existing applications and downstream processes.

    CD-adapco and Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) Win Benchmarking Exercise

    CD-adapco announced that its Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software, STAR-CD, produced very good void distribution results when compared to detailed void distribution experimental data in the BFBT benchmarking exercise at the 2007 BFBT-4 workshop. In the past decade, a significant amount of effort has been invested toward the simulation of boiling in Boiling Water Reactor (BWR) fuel bundles. The detailed void distribution inside the fuel bundle is regarded as one of the important factors affecting the performance of BWR fuel assemblies. In the steady-state microscopic grade benchmark of the void distribution, the evaluation team concluded that the results submitted from the U.S, Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory, obtained with the STAR-CD code, provide the best match with the measured detailed void distribution, when compared with two other major CFD codes. The results were obtained using STAR-CD and the Extended Boiling Framework developed by CD-adapco in collaboration with Argonne.

    Jeffrey Rowe is the editor of
    MCADCafé and MCAD Weekly Review. He can be reached at
    Email Contact or 408.850.9230.
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    -- Jeff Rowe, MCADCafe.com Contributing Editor.

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