Hi Jim, Thanks for your question. I believe SAFRAN did trial a system at some point in one of the previous races but I don’t think it worked and I’ve not heard of anyone trying since. You can imagine some form of thermo imaging or sonar working in theory but I guess one of the problems is that the majority of these teams are relatively low budget and the resources required to develop a system would be well beyond their means. SAFRAN are a French defense company so I assume they would stand a better chance than most people. You also have the practical aspects of the the environment in which the system would be trying to work. These boats move very fast and the boats heading is not always constant as the wind angle changes, the boats angle of heel changes and the fore and aft trim of the boat is always moving as the boat passes over the wave. So unfortunately at this time I don’t think it is possible to bring such a system to reality.
Question submitted by Jim, Denham, USA