The Big Race: Sunday: Coverage of F1 Grand Prix for BoatDesign.Net

Discussion in 'Powerboats' started by TerryKing, Oct 21, 2007.

  1. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    The Big Race: Sunday: Coverage of F1 Grand Prix in China for BoatDesign.Net

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    Hi Everyone. What a day! See those boats "burn out" in the LeMans start. Great high-speed race. Guido Cappellini in the #21 Tamoil boat has the pole position, and was never out of #1 position throughout the race. There was a dramatic crash near the end! These and more photos are at my album that went to newspaper publication: http://www.terryking.us/photoalbum/main.php?g2_itemId=3902

    I'll be putting a lot more up here later, more good tekkie stuff. And I want to put up a couple pieces of interviews with the Trask Brothers who are designing and building and racing their boats...

    Crashes are not all there is to Boat Racing or Car Racing, but they are an extreme test of the boat designs, drivers and rescue crews. This race had a significant crash in the last laps, and I was in a position to capture some of what happened. So after the start photo, above, we'll look at the crash. This happened in turn 2, and one boat ended up 'stable 2' upside down. Here's what it looked like to me, just as the spray fell, and the water still boiled around the boats:

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    Jonas Andersson (14-Red) is inverted, next to Philippe Chiappe(9-White). Boats are still roaring through the turn, and the Yellow flag is about to come out... Notice (below) that the angle of #14 is no longer flat. Andersson has popped the airbag located just behind the cockpit hatch. (Or it fired automatically? I'll check)

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    After earlier fatalities and injuries, a lot of engineering has gone into making these boats safer. There is a strong Crash Box around the drivers compartment, and the air bag system to allow a driver to escape an inverted boat. If that fails, every driver has to practice and pass a test where they invert him in a simulated cockpit box, with full gear and restraints on, and dunk him upside down in a pool. He has to get out by himself within 30 seconds AFTER a diver taps his back!

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    The Rescue Team boat roars up, cutting across the racecourse from the center. Andersson is opening the hatch now that the airbag has brought it clear of the water. The recovery-from-inverted system has two parts: the airbag, giving buoyancy right at the cockpit hatch, and two large ports that are blown open on the rear deck to intentionally and quickly sink the stern of the boat!

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    2 rescue divers help Jonas Andersson from his boat. The overall boat buoyancy and the sunken stern have positioned the cockpit just clear of the waterline. The Rescue boat has a drop-front like a landing craft, and an injured driver can be slid gently into the boat on a stretcher. No more pulling someone over the gunwale.

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    The Rescue Team slides Andersson into the boat.

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    He's up and off the Stretcher, as they check him out. He was not seriously injured.

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    Both drivers have been recovered by the two Rescue Teams.

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    Both Rescue boats head for shore to the Emergency Medical crews. Tow boats arrive to bring the boats in.

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    The recovered Andersson boat. The collapsible nose and pickle forks have done their job. So has the airbag system.

    The Osprey Power Boat Rescue Team has an impressive Flash Crash Movie at: http://www.btinternet.com/~carl.ogden/

    **more race and boat design photos to come...**
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2007
  2. Pericles
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    Pericles Senior Member

    Terry,

    More great pictures. Those hot air balloons in your previous shots are a novel way to watch the events. However, I wonder if they would be given authority to fly at any other venue? The consequences of an accident over the crowd would be a disaster. Exploding fuel tanks come to mind. Were they up on race day?

    Pericles
     
  3. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    They were up and giving VIP rides, tethered, as you can see in the photo below. They had their own brand LP bottles, with both liquid and gas takeoffs. They offered a ride, but I didn't have time. What I wish I HAD arranged was a ride in the two-seater F1 boat! I was running around all over the venue.
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  4. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Terry,

    Congratulations, great photos!! Only a few photos ever get published in the glossy mags, so this is far more detail and greater coverage than I've ever seen.

    Interesting note: with all the high tech equipment on board, it looks like the steering is plain old fashioned direct cable. Lightest weight, no hydraulics to break down, and it gets the job done, maybe?

    Thanks very much for sharing all these great photos, Terry!
     
  5. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Steering follow-up

    Charlie, I remember now that someone, maybe Ron Anderson (The designer of the Merc V6 engines) told me that they had now gone to "power steering" as there was so much engine torque and they needed very responsive steering. I'll try to find a reference to this. But you're right.. it's definitely cable to the engine steering bar.

    I'll post a few not-for-the-newspaper shots in a bit....
     
  6. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Some more tekkie photos..

    A few more from Race Day.. I want to go back thru and pull out some other shots that are interesting from a design standpoint. And, I need to write up some about the very interesting conversations I had with Ron Anderson, who designed the original Merc V6's and now works with the Emirates F1 racing team. He sure knows that engine! And the Trask Brothers who design, build and race competitive F1 boats. It was a privilege to have a reason to go ask these guys questions, and they seemed to be happy to talk with a 'reporter' who knew what they were talking about, somewhat.

    Here's a prop shot. Everyone keeps their props under cover, and those cute socks go on them until they're in the water. Maybe because they are sharp, or maybe because the other teams crew chief is sharp!

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    Heres a look down the sponson of the 2-seater version:

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    Speaking of stuff I was clueless about, I didn't know for a couple of days that the race had a LeMans start! I talked to the timing guy (Name??) who designed and built the timing equipment and ran it during races. He was happy to talk with someone who knew about Atmel microcontrollers, RF and networks, but who didn't know how the race started! He showed me the tattletale box that connects to a network of sensors on the dock connected by radio to the central Digital Start Time control. The 'sensor' is this clip which goes on the boat's steering bar. It has a magnet and a reed switch in it, that closes when the clip is pulled off as the boat roars out.

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    Here's one clipped on just before the start:

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    And here's the box. If you look closely, two boats aren't hooked up yet. If anyone jumps the start, their LED lights up Red, and they get a 1-lap penalty!

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    Oh, here's a frantic plug change with 4 minutes to go. Wish I had the Video...

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    I found a best-shot location for the start. It was in the stands in the middle of a huge crowd of Chinese people. Good thing I got over being embarrassed about pushing my way in to get the story, 45 years ago :) This couple and their little boy were very helpful, wanted me to take their seats and everything. I said, "No, I just need to lean on the railing here!". I was quite the spectacle I guess, as people in the stands took more pictures of me than I did of the boats. They were very friendly.

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    Next, here's the very first start shot, which isn't the one that was published, but which I like because it shows what the crews endure at the start!

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    Right after I wormed my way out of the stands, I turned around and saw this:

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    Then I ran up to the timing / crew controllers stand. Here each team has their consoles and computers which network with the race controllers to get all the current race data and lap times.

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    They're constantly on the radio to their drivers. "Push now, Push! Push! Push!"...

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    Oh, the BOATS are way cool and fast as hell!

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    A Crash and the Yellow flag comes out. The teams get this display on their computers, managing the Under Yellow order:

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    Um, couple more for now.. Philippe Chiappe's crew retrieves his boat after that nasty crash. They're yelling to the crane operator, (through an interpreter!) to go real slow until the water drains out. The crane operators were very expert, and one told me proudly (Through an interpreter) that he had built bridges and railroads across China. Hey, I got to ask everyone questions!

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    And to end, for now, I liked this: Guido Cappelini, the winner, is yelling "Comma! Comma!" to his crew to jump on the sides of his boat.

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    ...as they head out for their Victory Lap!


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  7. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Interview With Bob and David Trask

    (Placeholder.. working on this one..)
     
  8. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Interview #2: Bob Trask

    OK, this is out of order for a bit; I did two interviews, one with both Bob Trask (Driver and Designer) and Dave Trask (Mainly driver), and this one with Bob Trask alone, asking some more design-oriented questions. These are great, friendly guys, and really love the boats and the competition. Here are a couple photos, followed by the interview:
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    .. some small talk.. Bob is getting on his 4-wheeler to go back to the pits...

    TK: Ok, back to the boat design question: If someone gave you unlimited time and budget right now, and said, "Go take a year and think about something as different as this boat is from a 3-point Hydro of 20 years ago". You got any ideas?

    BT: Oh, we already have... We didn't worry about budget, budget wasn't a constraint for us, when we designed and built what we've got. It's an ever-expanding process. I don't think there's any one person in the world that can present themselves as an absolute expert on these things.. there's always refinements you learn, testing and racing. Yeah, the circuits changed and the boats have got to change for the circuit. This year is, say, the introduction of the Crash Boxes, so we've had to change the whole weight distribution in the boat, and as a follow-on effect of that we've made a couple of subtle changes to the boat.

    TK: So, do you see any possibility of some pretty radically different design coming along in 5 years? 10 Years? Is there something out there that could be really different?

    BT: It's hard to know what may come.. as a rule of thumb, or track with the expressions of new design ideas as a result of what's happened in the past.

    TK: Well, yes, but there's a fantasy part of that too, right? Let me ask you this: When you're running down the road, you're travelling, whatever, and your mind is running. Do you have fantasies of boats that don't exist yet?

    BT: Well, we've got a lot of design ideas at home... that we haven't started on yet. Which would, yeah, radically change the shape of the boat. Wether that's for the better or not, that's hard to know. The only way to know that is to build them, and see. But the main problem in developing a product that would go, and that would have the promise that we expected from it, it's hard to shift focus and go totally out of the box and try something else. The problem is that on the water by yourself you may be the fastest boat out there, but when you mix up with 24 other maniacs.. (laughs) there's other factors that come into play.

    TK: OK, there seems..(now, I'm trying to understand all this..) there seems to be two fundamental things in the equation. You know, one is obviously acceleration and top speed, once the boat is pointing in one direction.

    BT: Acceleration is everything..

    TK: Now there's another incredible part, OK?? And now.. you guys, (now what I learned is..) you're basically on the throttle all the way through the corner.

    BK: Yes.

    TK: Then you're doing exactly the steering that you hopefully intend, and you suddenly have this incredible G-force, you're going (Now I'm thinking vectors).. you're going this fast in this direction and then in less than a second, it seems to me, you're going that fast, 90 degrees to that!

    BT: Yep..

    TK: So the question basically is, how much speed do you lose in a 90 degree turn?

    BT: In a 90 degree corner we probably lose, uh.. something in the vicinity of uh,
    to be perfectly honest with you, I haven't looked at the telemetry to see, but I'm guessing maybe 30 - 40 miles an hour.

    TK: So, if there's any improvement in the way... because obviously there's a lot of friction losses, you're throwing a whole lot of water all over the place in that corner! And that energy's going somewhere.

    BK: Right.

    TK: So, that seems like one of the few places, where, if you could make that more efficient, you'd..

    BT: The compromise that you have there is.. One of the design boats we have is extremely fast off the beach, in a straight line, off the tail buoys, back with acceleration.. but, in the corners it doesn't hang on as well as what we've got. In straight water it's ultra fast, but in rough water it's not as quick as what we've got. So you really do.. and this relates back to my comment before.. you can build a boat that's super fast by itself, but when you put it in the company of 24 other boats, you lose the performance edge that you gained. And that's the compromise that we continually have to balance out.

    TK I heard some reference to 'active ballast'. Is anybody doing that??

    BT: You can't do it.. the weight shift in the boat is too quick to have any mechanism to be fast...

    TK: It seems to me that it's one second or less, from the time I see the *** end of the boat start to move, and the time I see the bow coming out of the spray, 90 degrees to the left. Is it really that fast??

    BT: We've got the telemetry where I could break it out and look at it..

    TK: You're running the boats with accelerometers and stuff like that, right?

    BT: They're always on the boat.

    TK: As a separate thing here, I'm working on stuff for [BoatDesign.Net]. Would it be possible to get one of those accelerometer graphs from you guys from a 90 degree corner?

    BT: Yes!

    TK: I mean, those guys would be interested in that kind of stuff..

    BT: OK..

    TK: Because to me that's the most mind-blowing thing that's happening out there in the design that you guys have, where you can control that. Get down on the water, and get that side force.

    BT: Yes..

    TK: And get around that corner and still be in one piece, and still be right side up!
    OK, Interesting Stuff! I thank you for your time, and I'd love to talk more when we can.

    BT: OK!

    -------------------( end )---------------------------------
    OK, two things: One, I'll ask for that through-the-corner acceleration graph, and two, as my wife would tell me, I talked a little too much in this one. Sigh...
     
  9. Guillermo
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    Guillermo Ingeniero Naval

    Terry,
    I'm impressed with this your outstanding contribution to the forums. Thanks a lot.
     
  10. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Terry,

    Yes, this is great stuff. Just the one interview you published has more depth of coverage than nearly any race article I've seen in the glossy mags.

    Thanks again for an outstanding contribution!
     
  11. charmc
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    charmc Senior Member

    Terry, your start photo was great. Talk about acceleration; looks like they are out of the hole in less than 2 meters!
     
  12. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Thanks! ..and more to do..

    Thanks a lot, guys! As "Professionals" we're not supposed to need that. But of course we do! I'm really motivated to dig more into the design of these boats and talk to the designers, before and during next year's race. If that all works out, I'll try to ask in advance from all you guys, what questions you'd like to ask these designers.

    And.. I WILL transcribe the interview with both Bob and Dave Trask, into the placeholder I set a couple of days ago a few posts before this...

    Apparently some of the photos will also be used in The World Of Powerboats (http://www.worldofpowerboats.com/) issue coming up.

    I now return myself to Real Life, where I have to knock down these cardboard boxes and carry them to the trash, and wash the dishes before Mary Alice gets home ;)
     
  13. Man Overboard
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    Man Overboard Tom Fugate

    Terry,

    As a professional photographer I would like to congratulate you on some excellent photojournalism. You had asked in one of your posts for advice on how to cover the races, and I think you did quite well, you must have some background experience in the field.

    I noticed in some of your distance shots you are having some low contrast/low sharpness issues; possibly the lens you are using. You can create an action in Photoshop that will automatically correct for known issues, or at least help. Below I have reposted one of your Pics as a before and after. Of course you would get much better results from the original.

    Which lenses are you using? Nikon or Canon?
     

    Attached Files:

  14. Tim B
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    Tim B Senior Member

    Congrats on the acceleration data, Terry. Let me know when you get hold of it. It is not dissimilar to some stuff I'm doing at the moment.

    I have NO financial or business interest in small powerboats. I'm more concerned with accelerations on big ships. All data is interesting, though.

    Cheers,

    Tim B.
     

  15. TerryKing
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    TerryKing On The Water SOON

    Acceleration in many axes..

    Tim, I'm going to be looking at some new low-cost MEMS Acceleration sensors. I THINK they read acceleration from 'rest' but also have Earth-Gravitation data. Which, I THINK means you can extract 'tilt' . AKA Heel angle, Pitch angles, Roll angles etc. OR you need a separate 'Tilt' sensor. Either way, I think some interesting data could be logged on many different boats.

    I'm almost unpacked (finally my stuff got from Africa to China) and so I will be back on this soon.

    But first, I'm putting the pedals on my bike and going for a spin. Interestingly, one of the few apparently-worldwide standards is that funny Right and Left hand thread on bicycle pedals. And a thin 15mm end wrench seems to work on one bought in US or Africa or China. Of course they were probably all MADE in China...
     
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