Sports & Technology, new papers presented

High performance in sports are closely coupled to technology. SSPA and Chalmers University of Technology are cooperating in Sports & Technology, with several research projects in sailing. A team with researchers recently visited a conference in France to present their papers. About 100 researchers was gathered at one of the sailing world's major conferences. Results and findings from the research projects "The Foiling Optimist", “The Paper Boat” and “Ranking of 7 Rudders for the Finn Dinghy” was presented.

The 4th International Conference on Innovation in High Performance Sailing Yachts, was held on 28-30 June in Lorient, France. On the conference's first day, Professor Lars Larsson from Chalmers held the first presentation, "The Foiling Optimist", and the project showed great interest by the audience. The co-writers PhD Christian Finnsgård (SSPA/Chalmers), PhD student Adam Persson (SSPA/Chalmers) and Professor Gunnar Westman (Chemistry and Chemical Engineering at Chalmers) were also present at the conference to be able to answer questions from those who were interested in knowing more.

In the afternoon, Professor Gunnar Westman and PhD Christian Finnsgård presented another paper they wrote together with Professor Mikael Rigdahl (Materials and Manufacturing Technology, Chalmers), PhD student Malin Brodin and PhD Gisela Richardsson (both are from Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Chalmers). This paper also follows the path with optimists and describes the development of an optimist made in a cellulose composite. The publication is called; “The Paper Boat: building a composite optimist dinghy with cellulose fibre and epoxy matrix”. 

Scale models in scale 1: 6 was shown to illustrate "The Foiling Optimist” built with graphene in the composite, and "The Paper Boat" in cellulose.

As a bonus, we can reveal that both the “The Paper Boat” and "The Foiling Optimist", will be sailing this summer. “The Paper Boat” are going to be exposed to the toughest test possible, when it will be used in a sailing school for children who learn to sail. A contrast to "The Foiling Optimist” who will be sailed by adult experienced test pilots ones again.

PhD student Adam Persson presented "Performance Evaluation and Ranking of 7 Rudders for the Finn Dinghy", written together with Professor Lars Larsson (Chalmers), MSc Matz Brown (SSPA) and PhD Christian Finnsgård (SSPA/Chalmers). This paper has a very interesting beginning. The research team received a request from Max Salminen, a two-time Swedish Olympic sailor, aiming towards the Olympic Games in Tokyo 2020. In his continuous effort to improve, Max wanted to maximise his performance, and one example is to find out what rudder he should choose for the Olympic sailing regatta? The study has contained 3D scanning, in-situ tests (sailing at sea), CFD calculations, model construction and full-scale tests in SSPA's towing tank. Various conditions with seven different rudders was tested for several days. The results from the studies show that the choice of rudder can play a decisive difference. However, the great potential may be in developing a new exclusive rudder for Max.

In the Sports & Technology initiative, researchers and students are combining passion for sports with expertise in science and engineering. Using state-of-the-art research facilities and working closely with athletes, coaches, governing bodies and industry, the researchers from SSPA and Chalmers find solutions to challenges and jointly research for innovations for the future.

Links to the presented papers:

Performance Evaluation and Ranking of 7 Rudders for the Finn Dinghy

The Foiling Optimist

The Paper Boat: building a composite Optimist dinghy with cellulose fibre and epoxy matrix

More information about the projects:

“Ranking of 7 Rudders for the Finn Dinghy”, Aiming for the Olympic Games

"The Foiling Optimist”, The Optimist Dinghy proves it can fly

“The Paper Boat”, SSPA supports the Sports & Technology initiative at Chalmers by building dinghies in different materials


Adam Persson from SSPA presents one of the papers at the 4th International Conference on Innovation in High Performance Sailing Yachts. Photo: Christian Finnsgård, SSPA Sweden.

"The Foiling Optimist" tested in the towing tank at SSPA. Photo: Anders Mikaelsson, SSPA Sweden.

Graphene and hydrofoils gives optimist dinghy superpowers to fly over the waves. Photo: Per Thorén, Chalmers Sports & Technology.

“Will a boat of cellulose remain floating?” From the launch of "The Paper Boat" in SSPA´s facility Maritime Dynamics Laboratory, June 2015. Photo: Per Thorén, Chalmers University of Technology.