Artemis Pitchpoled; 1 Dead

Discussion in 'Multihulls' started by Earl Boebert, May 9, 2013.

  1. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    Well said PF.
     
  2. P Flados
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    P Flados Senior Member

    Cut,

    Now back to your earlier post.

    None of us are saying that the loss of life was an "expected outcome" or "no big deal". None of us are saying that there is no room for improvement.

    Yes this is a leap in technology. Big cat course racing boats with wings and foils is "really new" and more risky than doing the same old thing over again with some minor change to make the boats "kinda new".

    However, I am betting that the participants knew this when they signed up. Some of them may have mentally underestimated their own risk (it can't happen to me) and a few may have even thought "I do not like the risk, but I am going to do it anyhow". Most of them were probably more eager than not given the rare chance to be a part of teams that would push course racing to new levels of performance.

    Also consider that the 45s gave them all a taste of fast multihulls with wings. The PPs on these boats had enough falling crew near misses to educate the participants.

    If they finish out this round and push for smaller boats next time they could come up with many reasons: to increase participation, to give unrestricted foiling a chance, to make it more like something average racers can relate to, etc.

    However, I do not think the AC crowd is ready to let go of the raw speed they have tasted. I also do not think that anyone feels that fast cats are really "low risk" compared to other choices.

    I am betting that the game has changed, the players understand it, and plenty will be willing to play.
     
  3. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    This is the first death in the Americas Cup series, since it's inception. A considerable record, particularly in light of previous incidents in the series.

    The cats aren't too fast, nor particularly unsafe. They aren't under engineered, quite the opposite in fact. Yes, they're on the edge as all race boats are. If you look at powerboat racing, many more incidents, a significant percentage resulting in fatalities show, but the designers, builders and even the rule committees make adjustments, which is what will happen once this event is fully sorted and investigated.

    This is the natural evolution and really the only way high end racing can continue. You can try to account for eventualities, during the design process, but reality has a nasty habit of pointing out, what in hindsight might seem obvious. The Apollo 1 simulated internal power tests, that went horribly wrong showed considerable lack of foresight, viewed in hindsight, but the resulting redesigned space craft addressed most of these issues, even though the ignition source was never really identified. You just can't foresee everything, so you move on and learn, sometimes with the pain of a lose like this, driving your efforts. Race cars, race boats, even the binding used on a skier's skis have all benefited from these loses as well as just plain old education, from mistakes and lack luster performance evaluations. This isn't a harsh overview, but a realistic and inevitable approach, that's taken by everyone, sometimes forced like this, though more often discovered, through the very testing the Artemis team was conducting at the time.
     
  4. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    I imagine the questions the police are asking are things like Were the helmsman and crew told not to push the platform? Were they just supposed to get used to the 72 size while waiting for the new boat? Was nothing mentioned about potential weaknesses? What were the builders, designers, and financiers aware of? Was everything communicated to everybody?

    Obviously with experimental racing designs there are going to be limits that are found the hard way but it is good for the sport if the guys that play these games get the right toys....err tools.
     
  5. redreuben
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    redreuben redreuben

    Par, thank you the most sensible overview to date.

    Besides, it's all Dennis Connors fault.
     
  6. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    So I understand that you watch technology, not sailing races.
    Now, that may be the crux of the matter.

    We have those who see AC as exhibition of technology, and we have those who would like to see more seamanship. Right now the technology is predominant, the seamanship is almost excluded from the show.

    Cheers
     
  7. oldsailor7
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    oldsailor7 Senior Member

    " the seamanship is almost excluded from the show."

    What utter nonsense. :rolleyes:
     
  8. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    This is definitely true, and it is so nice and refreshing to see Doug's overwhelming enthusiasm for everything that floats and has foils below it. :)

    I can understand all the arguments in favor of technology which have been given so far. I just think that this AC has become a car race. A lots of tactics, strategy and sailing wisdom have been taken away from the competition, in favor of sheer speed. It has all been taken to the extremes, up to the point that having the best crew and the best boat can mean nothing if the wave-piercing bow stumbles into a right combination of wind gust and sea chop, and pitchpoles.

    For some reason, someone has decided that speed is everything, and that there's no fun without speed. A bit like tendency in modern movie industry, where someone has decided that there cannot exist a good action movie without high-paced frantic car chasing and over-exaggerated computer-generated explosions and demolitions.

    Well, I disagree with the premise that speed is all that should count. Like someone said before, the old AC boats, though not being fast in absolute terms, have given us some very exciting races, brilliant demonstrations of tactics and intense backstage stories. The current format has taken away many of these dimensions from the AC, while undoubtedly increasing the technology level. Will it pay, in terms of popularity? We'll have to wait and see.

    In order to restore more strategy, tactics and seamanship to the race, the race field should cover a much wider area (because of high speeds attained by these boats), allowing for higher local variability of weather conditions. But than the race would become almost impossible to follow live by spectators on the shore or on the boats around the race field.

    Well, anyways... The show will go on as it is, I guess, we'll see the results it will yield.

    Cheers
     
  9. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    I have yet to read something sensible and argumented written by you in this thread.
     
  10. PAR
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    PAR Yacht Designer/Builder

    I agree that's it's "utter nonsense" that seamanship isn't a huge part of the equation. In fact, seamanship is far better on these boats, as everything happens so fast, they have to be damn sure they've got it right or incidents can occur. An accidental jibe on one of these, can mean a lot more then a broken boom, for example.

    I like the fast pace, relatively short course and near shore action. It will bring what has been missing from a long, old and stodgy sport. Yacht racing has never been confused with a real spectator sport, now add some speed and the potential for a wreck or capsize and whoa, a "market share" you can sell to advertisers, which is the whole point, not the actual winning of an old silver mug.

    What is lost on most sailing fans is what the A/C actual is and has been for some time. It's pretty much like the Olympics - an event that can generate significant market exposure to venue and vendor's products and services. You didn't think it was a boat race did you? Come on folks, when was the last time you saw a race of any type, where the participants didn't have a Niki logo on their shirt, car, boat or aircraft? Do you really think 10's and 100's of million dollar contraptions would be built and campaigned, without substantial research into the investment potential, of these sort of venues? Sailing - really? They could go out there and dance on deck with hoop skirts and clown noses, if they could justify enough positive exposure to the products, with sailing as a side show.

    It's about money folks, lots of it. Those spending the big bucks want the best of the best, fast, maybe a little scary too. They have this right after bellying up 10's of millions. The same thing occurs in each sport. Ever seen a slow car race? How about airplanes going around pylons at 60 MPH, of course equipped with ballistic chutes, just in case? The days of old, where a dad and son build a contrivance in their garage and win at the Indy 500 have been long gone - over a half a century ago. Try to keep up will you ;) . . .
     
  11. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    A race is a race - a group of teams, each trying to be the first one to cross the finish line. In many racing sports the speed eventually comes from that aspect - the necessity to arrive first. Not because the rules say explicitly "maximum possible speed is the objective of this sport". The rules serve to carve the direction in which the governing bodies want the sport to go. The teams then choose the best way to arrive to the victory within the framework of established rules. It might be via the speed, or the maneuverability, or the tactics, or the sapient mix of these.

    You have mentioned car races. Let's can take the F1 car racing as an example, as it was for many years a paradigm for many racing sports (and I'd say it still is). With the current technology development, F1 cars could have been much faster by now then they actually are. So why are they not? Well, a comprehensive review of the modifications to the F1 rules is available in this Wiki page: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Formula_One_regulations

    Apart the initial period of nearly no-holds-barred situation, it was soon realized that safety had to become the objective n.1 to pursue by the F1 regulators, followed by the reduction of costs. Very soon it was clear that speed was the enemy to fight, because it was reducing the safety of the competitions. We are no longer living in the ancient Rome, where people were having fun sitting in the arena and watching other people being ripped apart by lions. A death of a driver during the race does not increase the audience of the sport. No, quite the contrary happens. So the number of fatal accidents had to be reduced, and hence the top speed had to be reduced, driver's protection had to be increased. Which is why we have today's F1 cars with severe limitations in nearly every aspect of their construction - with the declared goal of limiting the maximum speed and the teams' costs, increasing the driver's and spectators' safety and the overall spectacularity of the races.

    Hence, there is nothing wrong with the speed reduction, if it puts more emphasize on other aspects of boat construction and racing. It has been done, is being done in other racing sports, with no detrimental effects on the technological progress. Quite the contrary - developing technologies relevant to slower speeds makes it easier to transfer these technologies to everyday use. F1 car technology is again a prime example of this.

    So, I do not think that AC should return to the slow multihull at this point. But I do think that now that we have multis the efforts should be concentrated towards making the races become safer, more strategical and tactical, more clearly won by the human factor and not by a casual nasty wave or wind gust.

    An exhibition of pure muscles might be a nice show, but after some time it becomes annoying. Watching a good race tactics, decided according to locally variable weather conditions, boat characteristics and opponents' moves and decisions is a much more interesting and long-lasting experience. Imo. :)

    Cheers
     
  12. Gary Baigent
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    Gary Baigent Senior Member

    You need to re-read yourself, Daiquiri, objectively, what a load of flannel.
     
  13. daiquiri
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    daiquiri Engineering and Design

    Thanks, I'll do it. Keep up with good contributions.
     
  14. cavalier mk2
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    cavalier mk2 Senior Member

    Hmmm team with the best witch doctor to smooth out those gusts could win. Maybe if I print out some cards and get a costume I can get a ride on one of these boats. I'd have to get on the payroll, if I'm paid for results I won't be making money....but for the team that has everything......
     

  15. CutOnce

    CutOnce Previous Member

    Paul:

    I rarely disagree with anything you write, but I see Daiquiri's point. I agree with his corollary between Formula One and this event.

    I'm not so certain your analysis is correct regarding mass market appeal. The current market champion of mass market advertising platforms is a former British son of factory workers named Mark Burnett. By every analysis he has figured out how to provide entertainment to the masses and generate money from the sponsors associated.

    If edgy, scary competition is the right formula, why is Survivor a perennial rating champ and his own Eco-Challenge a minor league player? Because one (Survivor) appeals to the viewers as something they feel within their grasp, while the other (Eco-Challenge) scares the bejesus out of them.

    If your premise was true, advertisers and sponsors would line up for Eco-Challenge and Survivor would be dismissed as pre-digested fluff.

    As designers and enthusiasts the people here at Boatdesign.net value technology and advancing the state of the art more than the general public. Perhaps a little too much when viewed from 30,000 feet. Your designs are brilliant - combining the practical, functional and affordable into buildable boats with a sense of tradition and aesthetics. But they do not generate the interest that extreme designs do in the trade press.

    It is easy to preach to the choir and much harder to preach to the congregation. We have to remember that if the goal is increasing participation in our sport and gaining ground in the population in general that they are the congregation, not the choir.

    I do quite well appreciate the advancement of technology and state of the art - or I would not be following this forum or topics. I just think that sporting events and state of the art development are not necessarily a good fit together.

    --
    CutOnce
     
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