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SailGP selects iXblue navigation technology to equip all SailGP catamarans

2 MAY 2019News
Practice racing in San Francisco

SailGP has selected iXblue’s Quadrans gyrocompasses to provide extreme high-precision navigation to the six revolutionary F50 catamarans competing in the new global sports championship.

A thrilling new concept in high performance racing, the F50 catamarans are a showcase of cutting-edge technology and awe-inspiring athleticism. They have been designed to produce close, heart-stopping racing as they fly above the water on wave-piercing hydrofoils and at speeds exceeding 50 knots (60 mph).

“We are very proud to have been chosen as an official technical supplier for such a forward thinking and exciting global event as SailGP,” states Marine Slingue, VP at iXblue, Inc. “As ever faster boats are being developed to compete in high performance competition, gyrocompasses and inertial navigation systems have become a critical element from a navigation standpoint. Crews need the highest-grade roll, pitch and heading inputs in order to have very precise control of their boat and to be able to react quickly at great speeds. The fact that SailGP has chosen iXblue’s Quadrans gyrocompass to provide this data for the one-design fleet is a clear endorsement of our technology.”

Built around the revolutionary Fiber-Optic Gyroscope technology pioneered by iXblue, the Quadrans gyrocompass is a solid-state and strap-down system, perfectly suited for high-performance in the harsh environment of foiling catamarans. Once in situ, its open architecture guarantees seamless interfacing with all major GPS systems and third-party navigation software packages. Working in tandem with the raceboat's GPS system, the Quadrans provides highly accurate and reliable heading and attitude data for precise control of the aerohydrodynamic performance of the craft, helping the teams get the most out of their boats.

“Flying around at 50 knots on an inshore race course requires high precision and split-speed decision making by the six teams,” said Mark Sheffield, SailGP LiveLine Director. “Accurate data feedback is vital to make continual improvements and ensure the boat is at optimum performance. The other challenge that comes at these speeds is ensuring that the equipment is of the highest spec but also small in size and as light as possible. iXblue measured up in all of these areas and their solutions are perfect to meet this tough challenge.”

SailGP will touch down in the U.S. for the first time this month when the boats take on the notoriously challenging conditions of San Francisco Bay over the weekend of May 4-5. The annual championship then moves to New York in June and Cowes (UK) in August, before culminating in a $1 million winner-takes-all race in Marseille, France, in September.