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SYRF Announces new initiatives and Challenge Grant Opportunity

by Dobbs Davis on 19 Jan 2013

On Saturday, January 12th, the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation (SYRF) hosted an invitation-only luncheon at the Stamford Yacht Club to reveal its mission to support the science of sailing, and announce a new challenge grant opportunity for tax-deductible donations. The event attracted an impressive crowd of 120 sailors, owners, designers, race managers, rule-makers and journalists to hear such prominent sailors as Stan Honey, Steve Benjamin, and Peter Isler speak about the importance of SYRF to their work in Grand Prix-level offshore sailing and even the America’s Cup.

'This was a well-attended coming-out party for SYRF,' said Benjamin. 'We’re ecstatic with the huge turnout that came to hear about how this organization will now have an important and more prominent role in helping improve the game for a wide array of sailors.'

As Director of Technology for the America’s Cup, Honey gave an overview on how imaging and positioning technology is helping the America’s Cup, and said 'The mission of supporting science in sailing is a critical one, since this is a very technology-intensive game. In the past there has been tremendous progress made through various America’s Cup programs, but there are still many areas of research that are needed that are not a current focus for those programs. And yet the demand remains for ever faster and safer boats, so SYRF can help fill this gap.'

Along with Steve Munger, Pete Reichelsdorfer, and Gary Weisman, Honey and Benjamin are on the Board of Directors of SYRF, and US Sailing’s Jim Teeters is the President.

A presentation was also given by Teeters on the history of SYRF’s ongoing commitment to support research in aerodynamic modeling, development of the new HPR rule for high-performance boats, a new hydrodynamic research program in the study of Wide Light Boats. He also explained how these and other future SYRF-funded projects benefit a broad segment of the sailing community by supporting public, non-proprietary access to research results that designers and handicappers can use to better understand the behavior of performance sailboats.

America’s Cup navigator Isler gave a fascinating presentation on some specific examples of the importance of accurate VPP modeling to assist in offshore routing and navigation, and Benjamin gave an overview of the success of HPR, a new rating system for fast offshore yachts that is making its first stand-alone racing debut next week at Quantum Key West.

Projects funded by SYRF are now being selected under the guidance of the SYRF Advisory Council, composed of the sport’s leading international figures in research and design. This group helps ascertain areas of research needed and which projects would make the best contribution to furthering the knowledge base in these areas.

Advisory Council members include Teeters, Andy Claughton (Wolfson Unit, Southampton Univ.), Alessandro Nazareth (ORC ITC), Jason Ker (Ker Design), Phillipe Briand (Briand Design), Karl Kirkman (SAIC), Greg Loe (CSA Rule), Rob Pallard (NRC-CNRC), Rob Ranzenbach (Wind tunnel consulting), Jim Schmicker (Farr Yacht Design), Grant Spanhake (North PRG), James Dadd (RORC Rating Office), Shaun Carkeek (Carkeek Design Partners), Alan Andrews (Alan Andrews Yacht Design), Adolfo Carrau (Botin Partners), Mark Mills (Mills Design), Juan Kouyoumdjian (Juan Yacht Design), and David Lyons (ORC ITC). Honey and Benjamin are the Council’s liaisons to the Board of Directors.

At the luncheon an announcement was also made of the status of an ongoing challenge gift, as well as an exciting new challenge gift opportunity: SYRF was only $25,000 short of reaching its $100,000 matching challenge gift from a generous donor. And when this level is met yet another $100,000 will be contributed from yet another donor – a net gain of $300,000 in funding.

And in just the few short days since this luncheon, new donations have shrunk this $25,000 target to just $6300.

'This means a nearly fifty-fold impact that new contributions will now have to SYRF!' said Benjamin. 'There has never been a better time to make this support really count, and we’re very excited about this opportunity to have donors make a legacy impact for the sport.'

SYRF is a 501(c)3 organization, allowing contributions to be tax-deductible. Already there are 17 Leadership Donors who have contributed to SYRF to help support the science of sailing.

And making donations at any level is easy: just go to the SYRF website and make your pledge using SYRF’s secure PayPal account.

For more information on SYRF - its history, programs, contributors, and donation information – visit the Sailing Yacht Research Foundation website.

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