All chips on deck When Jochen Schümann sailed to his first in a total of three Olympic gold medals in Montreal in 1976 he did it completely on his own He was solo sail ing a Finn dinghy and used the prevailing forces of nature strictly by instinct the wind direction and wind force water currents and assessment of the small and large scale weather developments For the first time Schümann back then proved his by now legendary intuition and talent for sailing to an international audience and at the mere age of 22 outperformed all of his competitors Sailing today only has little to do anymore with the sport back in those days Schümann says In the course of time sailing has become increas ingly complex The progress made in terms of hardware and data analysis has caused an enor mous evolution of the sport and turned it into a Sailing Data play a crucial strategic role also in the design of sailboats shown here is the America s Cup yacht Luna Rossa veritable science Lighter and lighter materials for the hull sails ropes and masts have been mak ing the boats faster and faster Most recently foil technology causing the boats to fly across wa ter on wing like hydrofoils has led to an explo sion of speed that was hardly considered to be achievable These gliders can reach speeds above 90 km h 56 mph Arguably the most decisive development to have immensely influenced strategy and tactics as well as the design of the sail boats is data collec tion and use a process that in recent years has been massively accelerated by software compa nies like Oracle and SAP having entered the sailing arena Depending on the boat class dozens and sometimes a thousand and more sensors and GPS trackers capture every movement in water and on board collecting vast amounts of data in the pro cess Weather and ocean current data and even the salt content of the water are digitally dissect ed and analyzed As much as 16 gigabytes per day may be generated in this way While in the smaller Olympic boat classes external technical support during a competition is prohibit ed the sailors of large boats in multi million dol lar regattas like the America s Cup and the Volvo Ocean Race take advantage of the enormous new opportunities also during the race rudder angle and position tension of sail ropes angle of list etc etc etc All this information is sent live to the computer at the command post and affects the helmsman s decisions The sailors of smaller boats benefit from the technology primarily after a 26

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