Team New Zealand’s quest to maintain its on-the-water supremacy is being boosted by a 5G technology trial set up by Spark.
The installation of equipment with 5G capability is enabling the team to stream data directly from the recently launched race boat Aihe, which translates to Dolphin, to designers on support craft and back at base.
This is a time-saving step up in analysis from the team’s successful challenge in Bermuda in 2017, when data was taken back to shore and downloaded at the end of a day’s sailing.
“We're logging huge amounts of data and there's some really interesting trade-offs with this boat,” Dan Bernasconi, Team NZ’s Head of Design, said.
“Just getting out there and doing take-offs, doing manoeuvres, is a really big part of our design process.”
Team NZ has a 30-strong design team which runs the boat through a series of pre-planned tests every time it goes sailing.
The results, along with other data on the boat’s performance, are key to the development of a second boat which will be raced in the America’s Cup defence in 2021.
“The first thing you have to commit to is the hull shape,” Mr Bernasconi said.
“But there's thousands of other details which we're continuing to learn from this boat that will feed into the (second) race boat.”
New Zealand telco’s are promoting the national rollout of 5G in the coming months.
Spark’s decision to trial across-the-water technology for Team NZ is a first.
“We've worked with the team around the cell site set up within the base,” Spark CEO Jolie Hodson said.
“With the focus out to the water making sure the beam forming technology hits on the boats.”
It all seems to be working well so far with all those involved with the complex craft learning more about her every time they set sail.