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  #46  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:58 AM
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philSweet philSweet is offline
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I think the most important decisions relate to the philosophy behind the purpose of the crew. What are the essential aspects of sailing that must be performed by the crew. Are they just along for the ride? Are they actors for the TV, like Kevin Costner in Waterworld, who never controlled anything on the boat. It was being sailed by a crew in the hull hidden from the cameras. The tech exists to builds a robo-boat that is faster than a crewed boat, and will learn faster as well. The cost is probably lower when compared to paying a crew for several years. This issue was easily dealt with 150 years ago with a couple of sentences in the rule. Today, it's going to take a lot more than that unless you either allow robo-boats, or exclude virtually all forms of assist except for displays.

What I want to see is a boat that is sailed and controlled entirely by the on-board crew in real time.

a. Zero energy storage, either human or regen/feedback. Zero information storage. No PID control schemes, no adaptive behavior on the part of the boat.

b. Sensor data routed to video/audio display only. No adaptive or sequenced control via sensor data. Process the data and display it any way you choose, but no direct connections to control elements whatsoever.

c. Any system of mechanical feedback shall have a response time of no greater than 1/20 of a second. Basically, you can engineer proportional control and very highly constrained differential control and no integral control using mechanical linkages. No fluid elements allowed in feedback systems, they must be downstream of any fluid component.

d. Any hydraulics must be simple one motor, one pipe circuit, one actuator system. No manifold. No communication of any sort between different hydraulically governed controls. No adaptability. Hydraulics for power transmission only. Requiring hydraulics to be restricted to a ram, a pipe loop, and another ram would be fine by me.

e. No wands, even if they do have the response time (unless they output to a display only). They represent a "smart boat" that knows where it is supposed to be. I don't want that. I want to see a dumb boat sailed by a smart crew. If you allowed wands, you might end up with thirty of them on a boat and you are back to the robo-boat thing. The mechanical feedback controls that I'm willing to accept basically cover material properties of elasticity and damping. Any control response that is in the range of human capability, say .2 second and longer, is the sole responsibility of the crew and must be accomplished entirely by crew exertion on that particular control. (This is a normal way to differentiate between control mechanisms. If they differ greatly in response time, then they are basically independent of one another and do not cause interference or adaptation problems. Their effects can basically be superimposed on one another.)

The above will hopefully make it easier for the crew to train effectively at an early stage of development and to emphasize the importance of crew coordination.
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  #47  
Old 10-06-2013, 10:22 AM
michael pierzga michael pierzga is offline
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its more logical to ask the billionaire challengers what they want.

Perhaps Full diesel hydraulic foilers , no crew , remote controlled by retired Americas cup tacticians, under the watchful eye of billionaire owners in the broadcast booth . This would free up a lot of cash for the all important facebook generation marketing hype.

Drones are in these days. yacht racing needs to moderize...upgrade from the flintstones types in foul weather gear

It makes sense. You can hardly call the present situation sailing. Why degrade sailors into hydraulic pumping switch flippers.. Just eliminate them and start foiling
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  #48  
Old 10-06-2013, 11:45 AM
P Flados P Flados is offline
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Phil,

Some amount of automatic response is built into almost all high performance soft rigs and how a boat is balanced between dagger/keel and rudder.

A simple control schemes such as one wand into one flap on a foil are not that much different. And at the AC level, a simple active control is probably cheaper than all the design cost that went into stable foiling without flaps.

Given the OR leadership I do expect foiling multihulls. To be suitably impressive, the AC will probably stay in boats that big are enough such that either grinders or motors are essential.

If they keep the grinders, I actually like the idea of more stored energy (a couple of minutes worth) for safety. The near capsize by ETNZ is just one example of how loss of grinder power at the wrong moment could result in destruction, injury and even death.

I am however for making crew skill essential.

It is easy to demand a complete disconnect between anything digital or electronic and the actuating devices.

If we could figure out proper rule wording, I would also like to prohibit any displays that provide dynamic, electronically specified "targets" specific to an adjustment. In other words make the crew decide on how to control foil, wing, sail or rudder based on the conditions, not some computer.
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  #49  
Old 10-06-2013, 12:14 PM
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philSweet philSweet is offline
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Michael,

Yup, you can do it your way or my way with relative ease as far as rule writing is concerned. It's the middle ground that gets messy and that will be dominated by highly technical discussions by specialists with grey hair and big computers. I don't see that helping anyone but the lawyers. The race is supposed to be decided on the water. The key word here being "decided". Let the humans do the deciding, not the automata. Trying to specify just how smart a boat can be, without actually specifying the design detail by detail, is going to be a tricky business.

<edit cross posted with P flados, the above in respose to Michael's post.
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  #50  
Old 10-06-2013, 12:56 PM
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philSweet philSweet is offline
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P Flados

Concur with your objection to explict targets, but a restriction on this is much harder to pull off. It's never been questioned that you could mark a rope to identify a precise jibsheet or halyard position. The key here comes back to adaptability and what it comprises. An indicator set to single reference before the race is no problem as far as I'm concerned. An automated polar plot reader that displays what it thinks is the exact optimum heading is not really doing anything that hasn't been done for a century or more, it is just doing it in a very readable manner. I think you have to respect the speeds that these boats travel and not hamstring the crew with time consuming distractions. The race is really about giving the crew the option to attack the opponent at a time and place of their choosing, and a simple readout of what is best vmg doesn't help much in that department. A full-on game-scenario VPP running on board and feeding tactics is another matter. But how do you prevent that in practice? The whole thing could fit on a microdot. How would you prevent an aide that displayed the best instant to lee-bow tack the opponent? An easy masthead optical sensor could do this. I was surprised how bad the early lee-bowing attempts were. I would have thought they had a big red light for that. So in the end, I think we will see the some of the race script being written by computers on the fly, but that we can still insist that the crew coordinates all of the maneuvers and drives the boat.
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  #51  
Old 10-06-2013, 07:54 PM
P Flados P Flados is offline
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Phil,

I was not even thinking of gadgets to aide in tactical choices. Kind of makes my head hurt to even consider digital aided tactics.

For simple execution of sailing fast, I would still like to see some push back to keep boat handling as a crew effort instead of a just do what the digital devices tell them to do.

There is a difference that can be drawn.

I have no problem with anything that is a "configuration indicator" or "speed indicator" or the like.

If the "target" is just a predetermined configuration for a specific mode, it is really just like many trim "settings" that we are familiar with.

If the "target" indication is from a device that computes optimum configuration using real time dynamic inputs, you start removing "crew skill" from the equation. If it is a simple routine or mechanical device that indicates something change twist to lower center of force based on foil load, it does not sound so bad. However, it would be hard to imaging where to draw some kind of line in the sand other that just prohibit any use of dynamic inputs to specifically tell the crew to make an adjustment.

For many types of sailing, digital help in sailing seems OK. For an inshore race around the cans setting, I would rather see a "premier event" like the AC even more "pure skill" in boat handling.
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  #52  
Old 10-06-2013, 08:07 PM
markdrela markdrela is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
Phil,
If they keep the grinders, I actually like the idea of more stored energy (a couple of minutes worth) for safety. The near capsize by ETNZ is just one example of how loss of grinder power at the wrong moment could result in destruction, injury and even death.
Earlier AC boats had some hydraulic energy storage, so it's hard to see why this should be objectionable. On the Young America boats in AC2000, for example, the sail trimmers in had their forces multiplied by a "power steering" mechanism on the rope reels. They would have to pump up the reel mechanism occasionally (but not continuously) with a ratcheting lever. I assume the competitors had something similar.
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  #53  
Old 10-06-2013, 08:29 PM
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Doug Lord Doug Lord is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by markdrela View Post
Earlier AC boats had some hydraulic energy storage, so it's hard to see why this should be objectionable. On the Young America boats in AC2000, for example, the sail trimmers in had their forces multiplied by a "power steering" mechanism on the rope reels. They would have to pump up the reel mechanism occasionally (but not continuously) with a ratcheting lever. I assume the competitors had something similar.
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Mark, thanks for the info-I had not realized that!
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  #54  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:22 PM
xarax xarax is offline
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Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
you either allow robo-boats, or exclude virtually all forms of assist except for displays..
So, black or white ? There can be no grey area, no middle ground that can possibly satisfy our joy when we invent machines with our brains AND when we control them with our hands ?

Quote:
Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
a. Zero energy storage.
A humble spring, or an elastic string, does store energy...

Quote:
Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
Process the data and display it any way you choose, but no direct connections to control elements whatsoever.
Are you allowed to use a computing device, either an electronic/digital or a mechanical/analogue one, which will tell you what you should do ( what o/'off button you should push or pull, and when...) at any instance ? I guess not ... So, according to your philosophy, processing of the data should not be allowed. The sailors should decide what to do by having access to "raw" data only ( speeds, directions, loadings, etc.), not to any "salad" of data prepared by a "computing"/ processing device. They should use their own brains to combine them...Just as said here :
Quote:
Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
prohibit any displays that provide dynamic, electronically specified "targets" specific to an adjustment. In other words make the crew decide on how to control foil, wing, sail or rudder based on the conditions, not some computer.
Quote:
Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
c. Any system of mechanical feedback shall have a response time of no greater than 1/20 of a second.
Even when one trims a soft sail manually, it does not respond within such a small time interval - there are always some delay because the ropes and the fabrics are always elastic, AND the flow of the air current needs some time to shape a soft sail and stabilize it in the position the trimmer has anticipated . I guess that 1/20 of a second is too small for most wheel-rudder systems, too.

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Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
The mechanical feedback controls that I'm willing to accept basically cover material properties of elasticity and damping.
Good point, although something like a spring or a shock absorber stores some energy, and can be argued that it stores some "information", too - it "remembers" the timing and the amount of the previous loading, and so its next reaction can be calculated and utilized as an automatic way to smooth out the effects of the waves on the foils or the hull, or of the wind on parts of the wing, for example...

Quote:
Originally Posted by philSweet View Post
This is a normal way to differentiate between control mechanisms. If they differ greatly in response time, then they are basically independent of one another and do not cause interference or adaptation problems. Their effects can basically be superimposed on one another.
So, you say that, in a linear "open" or a circular "closed" control system, if the effects each mechanism exerts upon its neighbours are not immediate, the parts of this mechanism remain independent, and the system does not work as an integrated whole ? I can not understand this definition/differentiation, could you, please, elaborate on it a little longer, and offer an example ?

Now, here comes the most serious objection, that has to do with safety :

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Originally Posted by Earl Boebert View Post
I think that control system design should be unrestricted, both for safety's sake and because of the difficulty noted above of defining "manual" and "automatic." If you are going to race go-fast flying machines, deliberately introducing unknown risk by crippling control mechanisms is beyond stupid.
What would you reply to this ? My question is NOT rhetorical, I really have not yet made up my mind on the extend we should allow automatic devices, so we will retain the ability to ride a fast-moving vehicle, AND the joy to control it by our bare ands.
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  #55  
Old 10-06-2013, 09:38 PM
xarax xarax is offline
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Originally Posted by P Flados View Post
If the "target" indication is from a device that computes optimum configuration using real time dynamic inputs, you start removing "crew skill" from the equation.
just prohibit any use of dynamic inputs to specifically tell the crew to make an adjustment.
Well said. IMHO.
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  #56  
Old 10-06-2013, 11:35 PM
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philSweet philSweet is offline
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My reasoning for the black and white approach isn't that it's what I'd like so much as the practical difficulties of defining a grey area with a rule in this day and age. One thing you can track down with reasonable certainty is the flow of big power that drives the controlled elements. In contrast, most of the computational tech can now be implanted in one's head, including direct visual augmentation via stimulating the optical areas in the brain. So it's very hard to restrict the smarts available to the crew. I do not personally like the idea of advanced tactical aides, but I really don't know how one would police that if such aides were banned.

My comments about response rate encompass energy and data storage. If the response of a feedback loop is fast and doesn't anticipate the future or track long term trends, it can't be effective in adapting the boat's behavior to the crew. Little bumper blocks and other small, fast springlike objects won't run afoul of the rule because they can only do what they look like they were designed to do as long as the response is fast compared to human control. This is opposed to a system which responds slowly enough to regulate or govern the way a manual trim input is expressed at the controlled end. Any given human input should always produce the same result at the output.
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  #57  
Old 10-07-2013, 12:03 AM
xarax xarax is offline
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I really don't know how one would police that [advanced tactical aides will not be used if they] were banned.
I think I know a method : Honesty ! If the people that are involved in a sport are honest - or if there is no $$$ motive to push their soul into the darkness of cheating - there would be no need to "police" a mutually agreed rule that restricts help from an automatic control system or from an on-board or remote computer.
Do you believe that world-class chess players, for example, have implanted devices inside their ears that tell them the best move a nearby supercomputer has chosen for them ? They are competitive, they are aggressive, they are selfish and egoists in the highest degree, but they just do not find any satisfaction whatsoever in being cheap crooks. Why sailors should be worse, regarding honesty and fair play, than chess players ?
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  #58  
Old 10-07-2013, 12:31 AM
Grey Ghost Grey Ghost is offline
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Originally Posted by xarax View Post
I think I know a method : Honesty ! If the people that are involved in a sport are honest - or if there is no $$$ motive to push their soul into the darkness of cheating - there would be no need to "police" a mutually agreed rule that restricts help from an automatic control system or from an on-board or remote computer.
Do you believe that world-class chess players, for example, have implanted devices inside their ears that tell them the best move a nearby supercomputer has chosen for them ? They are competitive, they are aggressive, they are selfish and egoists in the highest degree, but they just do not find any satisfaction whatsoever in being cheap crooks. Why sailors should be worse, regarding honesty and fair play, than chess players ?
Probably on some chess forum there's a xarax who thinks that's going on right now. Chess hasn't been immune from accusations of cheating either.
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  #59  
Old 10-07-2013, 03:27 AM
michael pierzga michael pierzga is offline
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Larry won because he made the rules. He created an event which used money to eliminate the competion.

Any serious proposal to make the event more competitive would cap the budget at a level which allows normal millionaires to hire gold medalists and clever designers.

Boat type, size and race format are irrelivant .

Its all about money
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  #60  
Old 10-07-2013, 03:44 AM
champ0815 champ0815 is offline
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Well, finally it comes down to the decision if you want to honour the best sailor or the best designer.
If you want the best sailor, the only way is one design or, like in certain car rally events, change of race machine between the competitors after each race.
If you want the best designer, it will be like Formula 1 - a high sophisticated rule book and more sophisticated designers to tweak the rule restrictions to get an advantage over the competition. The driver still has to be talented, but the decision about losing or winning is made by the technical parameters of the race machine - Vettel wouldn't be on top of the ranking if he was driving a Force India car... .
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