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SAP’s Virtual Reality Experience Puts Fans On The Hull Of A Catamaran

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SAP, a German technology company with a rich history in extreme sailing sponsorships and analytics, has developed a new virtual-reality experience that places fans on a replica catamaran, where they can watch sailors race up close alongside a stream of relevant data.

“When you get to sit on the boat virtually, you almost feel how it lifts up and picks up speed,” said Milan Cerny, the technology and innovation lead of SAP’s Global Sponsorships business.

Sitting atop a trampoline on a mock-up of an actual GC32 Catamaran, users will wear headsets that place them alongside extreme sailors on the hull while being fed information from a number of sensors that toss key data points, such as real-time wind conditions, boat speed and water currents, throughout the race.

“We want to show how data comes into play, what it means to sail,” said Cerny. “It’s kind of a playful way for the fan to understand what’s relevant in which situations. For example, when the boat is doing a maneuver, it’s important to keep an eye on the speed to see how much speed the boat loses as it’s going through a tactile movement.”

The SAP+You: The Smarter Skipper experience is designed to provide fans with insights and transparency into the sport of extreme sailing, something they often can’t access when they’re watching races from the sidelines. It makes sailing more tangible, Cerny said.

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