San Francisco, CA – With the thrilling race finish now a memory, much of the evidence of the 34th America’s Cup is gone from the San Francisco Bay area. What does remain, though, is the continued challenge of understanding and forecasting wind behavior for the area. To help address these challenges, wind observation sites installed by WeatherFlow, Inc. for the event, by-and-large, will remain in place and continue to provide high quality and reliable data for numerous interests.
The core of the America’s Cup wind observation system was a network of pre-existing WeatherFlow sites installed throughout the Bay Area, covering Bodega Bay south to Santa Cruz and inland from Rio Vista south to San Jose. These observation sites were originally installed to meet the needs of the growing wind and kite surfer communities over the last decade. For the Cup project, a wind climatology study was performed by WeatherFlow’s Bay Area expert, Mike Godsey, at the request of the America’s Cup committee to determine favorable locations for additional wind sensors. In addition to new stations, a small array of sites in the central bay entrance region were retrofitted with higher precision instruments, advanced communications, and upgraded power hardware.
A fundamental goal for both WeatherFlow and the America’s Cup Race Committee was to install additional sites at strategic locations within the event domain such that the majority of common synoptic and meso-scale flow patterns could be resolved at a minimum expense. Six additional observation sites were deployed, including two temporary sites on the base and top tower of the Golden Gate Bridge. The system performed almost flawlessly during the 4-month event with just a single two-hour system outage and one failed sensor replacement. WeatherFlow was able to deliver 1 second wind samples every minute to both the committee and each of the teams via a custom communications system built with three layers of redundancy (GPRS, VHF, and POTS). The communications system allowed for transmission to occur uninterrupted even when cell phone networks became stressed with overuse.
WeatherFlow’s America’s Cup installation and system performance is best summarized by Andy Hindley, Director for the America’s Cup event: “WeatherFlow provided great service coupled with reliability and high quality data – you can’t ask for more. Not only are they an easy company to work with, nothing was ever too much trouble. If the America’s Cup remains in San Francisco, WeatherFlow will be getting a call.”