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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Congratulations François!

By Richard
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Michel Desjoyeaux congrats François Gabart after VG 2012-Arrival

Michel Desjoyeaux congrats François Gabart - Photo (c) Vincent Durutchet/DPPI/Vendée Globe

He did it! With his victory at the first attempt in the Vendée Globe on Macif, François Gabart has gone down in ocean-racing legend in a big way.

Look at the facts: at 29, the youngest ever winner of the race, during which, incidentally, he smashed the 24-hour distance record at 534.49 miles with an average speed of 22.27 knots (official WSSRC  time), and passed two of the race capes (Leeuwin and Horn) in the lead, establishing new reference times in both cases. Lastly, 78 days, 2 hours, 16 minutes and 40 seconds later, he came in under Jules Verne’ mythical time of 80 days, unabashedly beating the record set by his mentor Michel Desjoyeaux at 84 days, 3 hours, 9 minutes and 8 seconds!

An impressive performance for this sailor from Charentes, crowning a frantic race noted for his extraordinary duel with Armel Le Cleac’h (Banque Populaire), a real race within a race watched with bated breath by the whole sailing world. Barring one or two moments, the two sailors battled for head position, leaving the rest of the fleet a considerable distance behind. Shortly before Cape Horn, François Gabart finally snatched the lead, but the fight continued right to the end, with Armel confirming his reputation for not giving up the fight before the finishing line. François was able to make the right tactical choices, closely analyzing the weather reports to take advantage of the least depression to build his victory. His natural zeal, along with the disciplined method inherited from his INSA engineering background, allowed him to emerge victorious from this planetary duel.

A duel that was fratricidal right down to the boat construction, since the two 60-foot monohulls MACIF and Banque Populaire were very similar, having been designed by naval architects VPLP – Verdier with the assistance of specialized consultants Mer Forte, under the delegated project management of Mer Agitée. Mer Forte uses Dassault Systèmes 3D solutions. Indeed, Banque Populaire is none other than the former Foncia, designed in record time (less than six months!), which François knows well, since he sailed it with Michel Desjoyeaux in the last Barcelona World Race. Launched barely a year later, MACIF had evolved from it, taking advantage of the lesson learned with its forebear. The basis is the same, namely the 3D digital mock-up whose power and agility helped improve and optimise the 60-footer that François has just sailed to victory at Les Sables d’Olonne. The virtually unchallenged domination of the lead by the two monohulls underlines the validity of the technical choices made possible by Dassault Systèmes’ 3D design and simulation software. That is probably what allowed the two skippers to fight it out closely during this round-the-world tour.

Macif evolved from the earlier boat that we designed in record time as part of Dassault Systèmes’ Passion for Innovation program” recalls Denis Juhel, Technical Director of boat design consultants Mer Forte.

We drew on the lessons learned with Foncia/Banque Populaire to make further improvements in the boat’s potential in terms of speed and reliability. Having the 3D digital model and the 3DEXPERIENCE platform was obviously an enormous advantage, since we were starting from a model that was already born, from which we could take and improve each element by testing each modification virtually.”

As for the battle for the lead in the race: “The keen jousting between François and Armel confirms the choices we made at Mer Forte: design and calculations carried out with talent by two outstanding sailors! All the teams at Mer Forte and Mer Agitée are proud to have been part of these fine projects with Dassault Systèmes!”

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Visit the MACIF 60ft monohull in real-time 3D at the Salon Nautique in Paris

By Agnes
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Virtual visit of the MACIF 60ft monohull in real-time 3D

I’m sure you remember Michel Desjoyeaux project. We blogged about it previously. I thought you will be happy today to know that the virtual visit of the FONCIA 60ft monohull in real-time 3D has been adapted to the MACIF one.

François Gabart, Michel Desjoyeaux co-skipper during the last Barcelona World Race, decided with his sponsor MACIF to build exactly the same 60ft monohull. As Michel, François wanted to invite everyone on board and have them visit the interior of his boat.

Don’t wait! Run at the Salon Nautique in Paris, from December 3rd to December 11, and experience, at the MACIF stand (Hall 1 – Allée AB – Stand 71) an immersive and pedagogical visit of the MACIF 60ft monohull!

You will be able to “Fly” over the boat in a helicopter, sit down in the living area at the control screens, crawl through the sail locker and experience different weather conditions!

Try the storm mode and let me know how you feel about it!



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