An Introduction to the SAP 5O5 World Sailing Championships 2010


There seems to be a connection between enterprise software billionaires and sail racing. Larry prefers the bigger boats, while Hasso prefers getting wet:

For Plattner, sailing two man dinghies and jumping off his 505 into chest-high water to prevent it from getting racked on the beach at Crissy Field is a far cry from having a professional crew guide a Farr 40 or his MaxZ yacht into a slip at Porto Cervo or another yachting Mecca. ‘The 505 is a great boat and it offers the most competitive racing available. I love the 505,’ said Plattner.

‘Hasso Plattner and Peter Alarie (GER) Race 9, 2007 SAP 5O5 World Championships’ /AUS ©

If you don’t know anything about 5O5 racing, a video is available that gives a great overview of last year’s 5O5 World sailing championship in San Francisco, including Hasso’s team:


SAP sponsors the event, and provides competitors with access to information that helps them understand their performance, and how it compares to the other teams. Here’s a interview with US 5O5 sailors earlier this year, on the impact of SAP solutions on their racing:

In particular, last year’s competitors had access to SAP BusinessObjects dashboards packed with information about the conditions of each race:

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Ryan Goodman explained in a blog post last year  how they were created, using a a combination of SAP BusinessObjects Dashboard Design (formerly Xcelsius), and the Centigon Solutions GMaps Plugin:

505 Races“Based on date/time inputs and wind prediction inputs, the dashboard retrieves data from Local Knowledge software to plot ocean currents (yellow lines). The strength and direction of the current is visualized in a visual grid within the Google Map. Upwind laylines (red dots) are controlled by current, wind, and a profile based on the 5O5 boats. Local Knowledge software does all of the heavy lifting and returns laylines and currents through a custom web service.”

505 Races“Monitoring execution is the second challenge not easily achieved as conditions change. While the strategy tab relies on user input for wind conditions and a starting point, which ultimately affects the course itself, the race tab presents real-time views of this information . Real time GPS locations of all boats and marks (marks shown as red pins) are provided via Trac-Trac. On the fly, the dashboard retrieves laylines and routes based on real time information including wind conditions. Trac-Trac also provides additional information for each boat including boat direction and position.”

The video below from SAP TV explains the solution in more detail:

Business Intelligence software and sailing – two worlds apart? Not at the SAP 5O5 world championship. For the first time ever, SAP is contributing solutions from the SAP Business Objects portfolio to support sailors. An exciting demonstration of the similarities of business and sailing.

This year’s pre-worlds championships started this week in Aarhus, Denmark. There will be 120 teams from 11 different nations attending and Joe King and his crack team of BusinessObjects technology experts are already on site, working on supporting the sailors’ analytic needs.


The official championship starts on Friday the 30th, and you will be able to follow the action live on the official SAP 5O5 World Championship 2010 web site:, and access the dashboard using the “SAP Analysis” button on the left hand side: