Does technology really help sailing? Sir Ben Ainslie certainly thinks so!

23:14 pm | Thursday, 04 August 2016

This post if for those like me who do not get sports but need to understand it in order to be able to make intelligent conversation. Sailing is one such niche category of sports which is not as hard to understand and keep up. 

Recently, there has been quite a bit of talk about America’s cup. Affectionately known as the “Auld Mug”, it is a trophy awarded to the winner of the America's Cup match races between two sailing yachts. It is a neck-to-neck match between the defenders (those who won the trophy the year before) and the challengers (those who challenge the defender for them, of course).

It is undoubtedly one of the most difficult trophies in sport to win. In more than 150 years since its first race off in England, only four nations have won what is often called the “oldest trophy in international sport.”

The 34th America’s Cup took place in the San Francisco Bay in 2013. Team Oracle USA was victorious in that event and will go on to defend the trophy in the 35th edition of the competition which will take place in Bermuda in 2017.

Sir Charles Benedict Ainslie, a five time Olympic medallist for Great Britain, is employing a completely unprecedented approach while building his yacht so as to be able to take home the Cup.

A trait seen in most a few successful people is that they never think they know everything, and continue to pursue new knowledge. It is thus no surprise that his team uses Artificial Intelligence (I’m sure I now have your attention) to detect patterns that humans can't, and react by making tweaks to the setup of the boat. The logic is that, at the end of the day, it's a 50-50 synergy between the sailors and the boat. Thus, the team is ensuring that they have the best 50% with respect to the boat, so that they may be able to give their best during the race. 

Another trait seen among the rare few is magnanimity. Ainslie’s 1851 Trust Charity -- for which Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, is patron -- introduces children to sailing and encourages them to study science, technology, math and engineering. This Trust is supported by Land Rover BAR, the team vying to bring the America’s Cup back to Britain – a trophy that left those shores in 1851.

Whether he is successful in giving the U.K its first ever victory in 165 years should be a nail-biting affair to watch. Besides, we will have nothing else to watch once Game of Thrones gets over for good next year. 

‪#‎AmericasCup‬ ‪#‎ArtificialIntelligence‬ ‪#‎AI‬ ‪#‎BenAinslieRacing‬ ‪#‎BAR‬

Yamini Harish is a thrillseeker and a travel junkie who loves all animals, especially dogs.