Groupama Team France: Striving for Excellence in the 2017 America’s Cup

By Alyssa
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From May 26th to June 27th, the 35th edition of the oldest and most prestigious sailing competition – the America’s Cup – will be disputed off the coasts of Bermuda.

A race like this is truly a contest of know-how and technology.  Achieving excellence within a very short timeframe is key to success; race rules dictate that boats couldn’t be water tested until December 26, 2016 – a mere five months prior to the first official race.

One of the six teams entering in this edition is Groupama Team France.  Since Groupama Team France formed later than their competitors, they had to build and test their flying catamaran within 18 months, whereas their rivals had a time frame of up to three years.  The team of 85 includes passionate designers, engineers, mathematicians, physicists, communications specialists and sailors who recognized that optimal preparation required two critical components: a way to not only design but also test many different ideas to develop their boat and the use of a single collaborative platform to streamline communication between both internal teams and external partners working on different parts of the development process.  Groupama Team France adopted the Designed for Sea industry solution experience based on the 3DEXPERIENCE® platform from Dassault Systèmes to address both goals.

Designed for Sea allowed the team to model everything in 3D, design the foil, analyze the structure, and simulate the boat’s behavior in the water. The resulting 3D virtual mockup provided the crew with a precise idea of the boat before construction even began. It also enabled the design team to build a strong boat yet lightweight and safe when “flying” over the water at 80 km per hour. Thanks to the 3DEXPERIENCE platform all applications are now integrated into one environment, where in the past multiple tools were needed for 3D modeling, structural analysis, collaboration, flow simulations and optimization.  This saved precious time and prevented errors.

As Martin Fischer, head of the design team at Groupama Team France summarized: “[The 3DEXPERIENCE platform] allows us to easily exchange 3D models and construction plans with [external partners] and, if there are issues to resolve, our communication is more efficient, new ideas flow and errors that might otherwise go unnoticed are more easily corrected. It all boils down to time. If communication is streamlined, the design process is quicker leaving more time to run tests and optimize our boat.” 

Check out the full story and learn more about how Groupama Team France is leveraging Dassault Systèmes’ solutions to unleash the required innovation to perform in the sailing world’s most renowned and difficult competition.

You can also get a look at the boat in a new video.


Now THAT’S an experience! Oracle Team USA epitomizes Dassault Systèmes’ strategy of 3DEXPERIENCE

By Derek
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“Why is Dassault Systèmes involved in the America’s Cup?”

I get this question a lot. So, I thought this week, as the America’s Cup is in full swing, would be a good time to answer it clearly. It isn’t about CAD, design, simulation, composites, etc. It is about experience. Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts and the entire Oracle Team USA America’s Cup racing syndicate have changed the experience of the America’s Cup yacht racing sport completely. And not just for the sailors, but for the viewers, too.

The basic story isn’t terribly new.  Anybody watching the America’s Cup, reading a newspaper or watching TV has likely heard the story of how Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle and yacht racing enthusiast won the America’s Cup, the oldest trophy in sport, and brought it to San Francisco.  Each winner, and subsequently, defender of the Cup is allowed to change the rules of the race.  And change them Ellison did:  faster boats, bigger boats, no more sails (!), more athleticism, shorter (and more broadcastable) races, a venue where the races can be watched, in person, for free.

The reimagined 34th America’s Cup is going on now, with his Oracle Team USA competing in their 72ft, 50+mph catamaran, against Emirates Team New Zealand in the amphitheater-like San Francisco  Bay race course.  Emirates is putting up an amazing set of times against Oracle Team USA, beating them in four of five races, as of Tuesday, September 10.

But no matter who wins, Oracle Team USA has shown what can be done by adopting an experience strategy.  They went into the 34th America’s Cup with experience on their minds.  They don’t just want to have a race.  They want to make yacht racing a nationally known sport.  They looked at their audience in the United States, looked at our sports, looked at yacht racing, and modified everything about it to create a new experience.

A few months ago I had the privilege of taking ten international journalists to Oracle Team USA’s Pier 80 headquarters in San Francisco and speaking with Russell Coutts, the team’s CEO, Christoph Erbelding, the team’s design engineer, as well as Murray Jones, the team’s tactician.   The team’s use of Dassault Systèmes applications to design and manufacture their AC72 racing catamaran was on full display.  We heard about design, simulation, finite element analysis, CAD, composites and a host of other details.  We saw the two AC72s in the HQ being worked on.  We learned details of the wing control system design.

Skipper Jimmy Spithill articulated perfectly the benefits of interactive collaboration between sailing crew and the design and engineering team:

Vision is very important on this sort of a boat. 3DEXPERIENCE gave us vision into the realities of sailing a boat that didn’t even exist yet. The best way for the crew to evaluate what will – and what won’t – work is to use 3DEXPERIENCE. We can spin it around. We can see where everything needs to fit. You just couldn’t get that kind of vision without these tools.

But mostly what the attending yachting journalists wanted to hear about was the race, how it would work and what the sailor’s experience was. The reporters, all sailing enthusiasts themselves, wanted to know what viewers would see and experience.

The story, at its core, is about the America’s Cup experience.  And this is why Oracle Team USA and Dassault Systèmes, the 3DEXPERIENCE Company, are partners.

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