Thursday, February 28, 2013

Premiere in wind tunnel: Audi Sailing Team Germany tests in Ingolstadt

An extra gust of wind for the German sailors: Audi Sailing Team Germany trained yesterday in the wind tunnel of Technical Development (TE) of AUDI AG: where production cars, professional swimmers, skiers or cyclists normally come under the microscope, Audi assisted the national sailing team for the first time for an entire day to optimize their performances.
Two dinghies and a sea of data – things were quite stormy in the state-of-the-art Wind Tunnel Center in Ingolstadt. After extensive preparations, four young professional sailors from Audi Sailing Team Germany threw caution to the wind and weathered the gale winds in a 470 two-man dinghy and a 49er FX Skiff. Target of the activities: perfecting the posture of the helmsman and bowman and finding the optimum garments for the forthcoming competitions.

The 470er crew consisted of last year’s Olympic starter Patrick Follmann and young sailor Julian Stückl. Tina Lutz and Susann Beucke, winners of the German 49er FX Championships 2012, also travelled to the test. Under the watchful eyes of Joachim Hellmich, coordinator of Audi Sailing Team Germany, the four athletes were extremely enthusiastic about the training session: they ran through various wind scenarios, which had actually been recorded under real conditions at the Olympic summer games in London and during the Kieler Woche. Sometimes standing, sometimes sitting or hanging overboard in the trapeze – the sailors successfully defied the strong winds originating from the almost 2.6 Megawatt turbine and opposed wind speeds of up to 60 km/h in different sailing garments.

“That was a successful, but unusual training day. Perhaps the most unusual that we have ever had,” says Joachim Hellmich. “Thanks to the data we collected we now have a much better idea of which posture is the best for each activity on the boat. Our clothing partners will certainly also be able to benefit from the measurements in the Audi wind tunnel.” Susann Beucke, helmswoman for the 49 FX added: “After we jumped from the 470 into the new women’s 49er FX Skiff, tests with our boat like here in the Audi wind tunnel are a welcome opportunity to familiarize ourselves with the new Olympic class. A unique chance for Tina and me to optimize our trim considering aerodynamic factors.”

The Ingolstadt based automobile company supports the Audi Sailing Team Germany as main sponsor and premium partner since 2010. The test day in the wind tunnel was just one way of boosting the German national sailing team for the forthcoming challenges in international sailing. The work is already aimed at the next Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. Among the promising candidates is also Laser sailor Philipp Buhl, who is also a squad member. He only recently received the ‘Sailor of the Year’ accolade at the presentation of the ‘Sailing Team Germany Award’. In addition to the European title, the 23-year old from Sonthofen also scooped double gold and bronze at the ISAF Sailing World Cup last year.

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