Nat Shaver is a new recruit for INEOS Britannia’s 37th America’s Cup campaign, Nat brings with him a huge amount experience from four previous Cup campaigns.
After being involved in four America’s Cup campaigns to date, one of the things that keeps Nat motivated is the continued drive to learn and improve.
For the 37th America’s Cup particularly, it was INEOS Britannia’s tie-up with the Mercedes F1 team that was a big driver for Nat to join the British Challenger.
“Foil design particularly has continued to interest and excite me, as it is where fluid mechanics, structures and system design all meet and work together to get the best result for the boat and the team. Over the years of course we have been getting better and better at foil designs, and we are seeing all teams shaving more and more performance out of the foils.”
For the 37th America’s Cup, the Protocol states that each team is allowed to test up to four foil designs, but only one final foil design is allowed for racing, with three copies of this final foil design allowed to be produced and used.
This change in the rules, designed to limit costs for incoming Challengers, places increased pressure on the design team to ensure the final foil design is as optimised as possible.
“This rule change is different to previous campaigns”, Nat explains, “as we are not allowed any iterations to our race boat foils. We have to ensure that the work is done ahead of time so the final design can win us races.”
“This puts a lot of importance on our simulation tools and analysis before we go sailing. We need to start out on the water with a fast boat, which only allows for small modifications to help us achieve our goals.”
“It also means, of course, that the early sailing days on the test boat will be focused on learning as much as we can from the different foil designs and translating that information into the final race boat foils.”
“The million-dollar question now, is how much performance we can still leverage from the foils.”
“This will very much be a sprint for us, from beginning to end, and maximizing our relationship with the Mercedes F1 team will be key in optimising our foils through good procedures and processes.”