Auckland, New Zealand: Attendees from around the world at the fifth High Performance Yacht Design (HPYD5) conference last week enjoyed a busy schedule of technical papers, networking with fellow specialists, visiting world-leading hi-tech companies and making the most of a unique opportunity to observe close up the local stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.

Conference visitors also had the opportunity to visit the factories that manufactured the wing masts for the last America’s Cup – Core Builders Composites in Warkworth and Southern Spars in Henderson as well as visiting Auckland University’s Newmarket campus – home of the Yacht Research Unit and the Centre for Advanced Composite Materials.

“Auckland HPYD is now firmly established as one of the big three yacht design conferences in the world,” said conference chairman Graeme Finch. Along with similar conferences in France and America, it offers those in the sailing field outstanding opportunities to stay current with advances in the field. Naval architects, engineers, builders, designers and researchers from 15 countries attended the conference.

Lars Larsson, Professor of Hydrodynamics at Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden, was making his fifth visit to Auckland for the conference. Of special value he said, was the opportunity for academics and those in industry to meet and share knowledge. 

Larsson who specializes in computational fluid design (CFD) noted the advanced skills of the next generation and the general pace of change in the field, with faster performance, helped in particular by the tremendous changes in materials and material technology. 

Patrick Bot, assistant professor at the French Naval Academy in Lanvéoc-Poulmic said it was especially good that the three most important sailing yacht conferences in the world were now coordinating their timing to avoid conflicts and overlaps.

The other gatherings are the Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium in Annapolis, organized by the Society of Naval Architects and Marine Engineers (SNAME) and Innov’Sail a similar conference hosted by the French Naval Academy.

The program for HPYD5, with its list of all papers, can be found at 

Proceedings are available as printed papers for NZ$200. 

The conference for those who make it their business to push the performance boundaries of sailing yachts was organized by the Royal Institution of Naval Architects (RINA) NZ and the University of Auckland

New Zealand Trade and Enterprise was the principle conference sponsor. Gold sponsors included Gurit, North Sails, Southern Spars, Callaghan Innovation, the Volvo Ocean Race and Auckland Tourism, Events and Economic Development.


Graeme Finch
+64 21 990 048

Keith Taylor

+64 21 534 84

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