July 16, 2019 9:00 pm

Wednesday, We Fly Across the Water and Investigate the World of SailGP

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to fly across water? Sounds kind of impossible. Well, on this week’s episode of Playing with Science, we investigate the world of SailGP – the closest thing you can get to soaring across the seas. Hosts Chuck Nice and Gary O’Reilly sit down with two members of Team USA who take us inside the boat to reveal what it takes to succeed in this captivating sport.

Photo of the SailGP Simulator, ©SAILGP-Javier Salinas.

The SailGP Simulator. Photo Credit: ©SAILGP-Javier Salinas.

If you’re unfamiliar with SailGP, that’s okay. It’s a brand-new sailing race circuit. It’s similar to other types of yacht racing including what you see in the America’s Cup. However, the yachts used in SailGP are some of the fastest and most technologically advanced in the world.

Up first, we chat with Hans Henken, a member of Team USA. You’ll find out how the team creates enough power to lift the boat out of the water when racing. Hans teaches us how their boat, even though it’s only powered by wind, can go faster than the wind that’s powering it. You’ll learn why the teams are actually sailing in two mediums – what’s going on below the boat and what’s going on above the boat. You’ll hear about the unique difficulties of the New York City race. Discover why racing on the Hudson River makes reading the environmental conditions extremely difficult.

Then, Team USA performance analyst Phil Crain joins Chuck and Gary to tell us how he translates data in real time, from shore, to help the team perform their best. Explore the various data channels that Phil is monitoring during a race. You’ll also hear if the team changes strategy if they find out other things are working for other teams. Phil also enlightens us about the SailGP simulator that he had a hand in creating

Caught the sailing bug? I found this video of Team France at the NYC race extremely helpful to understand just how intense and exciting the sport can really be! Tune in tomorrow night for our in-depth dive (pun intended).

Please join us tomorrow night for The Science of SailGP right here on our website, as well as on our Playing with Science channels on Apple Podcasts, Google Play Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, Stitcher, and TuneIn. If you’re an All-Access subscriber, you can watch or listen to this episode ad-free

That’s it for now. Keep Looking Up!
–Ian Mullen