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Waddie
09-27-2013, 10:04 PM
Should computers be allowed in sailboat racing events? Apparently, the defender (USA) borrowed a foil stabilizing computer from Boeing midway through the series and picked up some amazing speed. This modification was allowed. There is serious rumor of a protest by the losing team. Of course, there is a lot of speculation in all this, but how automated should racing become? Anyway, this is an interesting read.


Breaking down the Oracle “advantage”

1. It is well recognized that Oracle was having serious foiling stability difficulties at the outset of the regatta and that their performance could not match that of ETNZ.
2. Half way through the series it was acknowledged that Oracle had fitted an automatic control to their hydrofoil trim, and that this modification was approved by the measurement authorities.
3. Since this modification Oracle’s performance has almost unbelievably improved. This has been “explained” by skipper Jimmy Spithill as being due to the superhuman efforts of the crew to improve their handling skills. However, in view of the intensive training Oracle were able to do, prior to the regatta, with their highly skilled team partner, it seems unlikely that only now have they discovered the “magic bullet” they clearly have. It is much more likely to be the result of the modifications, possibly enabled by their surprising decision to use their lay day card and the subsequent lucky postponements.
4. It must be remembered that this is the first time that this contest has been sailed by yachts “flying “ on Hydrofoils and it is probable that new and different criteria should have been applied.
5. In the aeronautical world it has long been known that the stability of swept wing aircraft can rapidly be lost by uncontrolled yaw leading to a dangerous situation known as “Dutch Roll”.
6. A device known as “Little Herbie” was developed during the commissioning of the Boeing 747 Jumbo Jets over 40 years ago, to overcome this tendency. Little Herbies, or “Stability Augmentation Systems” (SAS) as these are now designated, are equipped with sensors such as Accelerometers and Gyros which can detect and instigate corrections to stability with a speed and accuracy which exceeds the ability of even experienced airline pilots. They are therefore now installed in virtually all swept-wing aircraft.
7. The “legality” of this device has been justified and accepted on the basis that it does not actually “drive” the trim of the foils…..this is still performed by the muscle power of the crew, via hydraulic linkages. That may be so, but the device, using its sensing and directives, has been described as “automatic”. This implies that the trim of the foils is determined by what can only be described as “superhuman” technology. If this technology has been used to overcome the foiling stability difficulties of Oracle it will have enabled the use of higher speed/lower drag foils which the crew would otherwise be unable to manage. This would give a significant speed advantage during foiling. This has been clearly in evidence since the modification. Improvement in stability and speed has been staggering.
8. The high speed/low drag foils do have a downside in light conditions where, due to their lesser lifting characteristic, foiling is difficult or impossible. This was also clearly seen in the abandoned Race #13 when ETNZ were only 4 minutes from the finish, with a lead of over 1000 metres.
9. ETNZ appears to have worked within the constraints of accepted yacht racing rules and the special America’s Cup 2013 racing Rules to achieve foiling with these craft. This has been at the cost of using foil characteristics and controls which can be successfully managed by a skilled crew while having to make some concession to pure speed.
10. Although there is risk of being derided for being a “poor loser”, or a “bad sport” it cannot go unnoticed that Team Oracle have already been penalised for cheating, that previous Defenders have been noted for sailing very close to the wind of rule compliance. The recent outpouring of bluff and arrogance from Jimmy Spithill may well be part of a plan to trail red herrings and to draw the attention off the real technological reason for their quite literally astounding comeback.
11. The question is whether the use of a device which can enhance performance in excess of that achievable by human endeavor should be allowed in a sporting contest?
12. Is this grounds for protest? At least we should all be aware that this is how desperate sporting entertainment has become.




We also saw this from another source: The yanks put a computer on board after they were down 8 – 1, and should not have been allowed to make this change mid series. So I said why didn’t the Kiwis put one on too, and he said they didn’t have the fun tickets. This computer came out of Boeing, and is the latest in technology, and this made the difference to their boat speed, foil angles and all that other **** that navigators used to wank away about, and was implemented automatically on board, where as the poor cousin Kiwis still had to do all theirs manually. So there you go this is what the press is saying in NZ, but don’t know how true all of this is. Could be sour grapes…

http://sailinganarchy.com/

regards,
Waddie

MiddleAgesMan
09-28-2013, 12:34 AM
I don't believe a word of it.

Ellison spent a couple million on two new sets of foils and that is what made the difference. Different foils for different conditions was allowed as long as they made their selection and stuck to it for the day.

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 01:10 AM
"2. Halfway through the series it was acknowledged that Oracle had fitted an automatic control to their hydrofoil trim."

The veracity of the claim is, apparently, not in dispute.

skuthorp
09-28-2013, 03:45 AM
Sounds dodgy to me if it's true. Surely the boat and equipment may not be substantially altered after the series has started?
But if it ends up in a court then it won't be the first time that the only winners were the lawyers. That's why I have no interest in the series.

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 04:12 AM
Immediately after the race it was reported that principals in the Oracle camp went into hiding so as to avoid receiving another challenge.

Makes me wonder whether they were avoiding being served notice of protest too.

This is beginning to show signs of becoming very ugly.

Paul Pless
09-28-2013, 08:08 AM
I much prefer the foil computers of these boats to the fooking two stroke bombardier winch engines of the last boats. Now that was ridiculous. . .

Waddie
09-28-2013, 11:53 AM
I much prefer the foil computers of these boats to the fooking two stroke bombardier winch engines of the last boats. Now that was ridiculous. . .

Only one boat had a foil computer. The winner. (If the story is true)

regards,
Waddie

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 12:08 PM
(If the story is true) regards, Waddie

Whadya mean, "if the story is true"?

You posted it.

Mike

MiddleAgesMan
09-28-2013, 12:59 PM
"2. Halfway through the series it was acknowledged that Oracle had fitted an automatic control to their hydrofoil trim."

The veracity of the claim is, apparently, not in dispute.

An unattributed article from Mauri Pro Sailing via Sailing Anarchy is not the pinnacle of Truth any more than the stuff we get from Faux News.

Waddie
09-28-2013, 01:05 PM
Whadya mean, "if the story is true"?

You posted it.

Mike

Come On' Man - even in the original post, and in the quotes, it was acknowledged that there is some skepticism about the whole thing. That doesn't mean it's untrue, or true, but that there is probably more to the story, and more information is going to come out. Quit tryin' to play "gotcha" - it ain't workin'. Jeeeeze......

regards,
Waddie

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 01:21 PM
Relax man, I've been checking it out on line and elsewhere, I think it is true.

Ya, the op states that a lot of the stuff is "speculation" and some of the 12 points state as much, but other points are written as "acknowledged" facts.

Are you questioning the "acknowledged facts" or the grey issue of ethics?

I haven't seen any refutations anywhere. No denials or denouncements. If it weren't true, you'd expect to find some, wouldn't you?

Get where I'm coming from?

Mike

Waddie
09-28-2013, 01:40 PM
I'm more focused on the "grey issue of ethics". How much computerization should we allow into racing? My son-in-law is an airline pilot and he says the plane he's on now doesn't even have a joy stick of any kind. The plane lands itself. It's like the pilot and co-pilot are only there as a backup system. If they can do that much automation through using computers on aircraft, and the computer on Oracle is just such an example from Boeing, how much of the "thinking" involved in racing should be turned over to computers? Should racing be a test of human skills or computer software?

I don't think this is just an academic exercise. Computer are automating everything, everywhere. How about a boat race with no human crew? It will soon be possible.

regards,
Waddie

Paul Pless
09-28-2013, 01:45 PM
I'm more focused on the "grey issue of ethics". How much computerization should we allow into racing? My son-in-law is an airline pilot and he says the plane he's on now doesn't even have a joy stick of any kind. The plane lands itself. It's like the pilot and co-pilot are only there as a backup system. If they can do that much automation through using computers on aircraft, and the computer on Oracle is just such an example from Boeing, how much of the "thinking" involved in racing should be turned over to computers? Should racing be a test of human skills or computer software?

I don't think this is just an academic exercise. Computer are automating everything, everywhere. How about a boat race with no human crew? It will soon be possible.

regards,
Waddie

There has long been a similar debate in auto racing. Especially with regards to traction control and active suspension design.

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 01:45 PM
Robot Racing and Battling Banks.

Paul Pless
09-28-2013, 01:47 PM
Robot Racing and Battling Banks.what's your opinion of traction and launch control in f1?

its generally accepted that the FIA acquiesced and legalized traction control because they were incapable of policing its use. . .

Full Tilt
09-28-2013, 01:59 PM
Neither system is currently used in F1 and I don't consider them to be in any way comparable to introducing a computer actuator half way through an athletic competition.

Waddie
09-28-2013, 04:26 PM
I wonder if the challenger was offered the same setup by Boeing for their boat? Were they even aware what was going on - or I should say - was it explained to them in such a way that they fully understood what an advantage the piece of equipment could be? I'm sure the crew still provided the muscle power to trim, but they were probably provided a number to hit by the computer. I thought instructing the crew how to trim was the captain's job, and reflected his skill as a skipper.

regards,
Waddie

MiddleAgesMan
09-28-2013, 05:31 PM
If there is such a automatic control and if the rules committee approved it for installation in the middle of competition and if such a control--designed for aircraft--actually works for a hydrofoil, then what is the big deal other than all those IFS?

MiddleAgesMan
09-29-2013, 09:20 PM
According to this article there was NO computerization of the foil controls (or any other controls). The article also refutes what has been said (and repeated by me) that Oracle got new foils built and flown in from New Zealand during the series.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sailing-oracle-sailors-learned-flying-183502092.html

According to the Oracle spokesman the so-called computerized foil controls were simple electrical switches (stock, right off the shelf) that allowed a human to quickly actuate controls for the foils and other surfaces, as needed. These switches were installed before the series started (in August) and were approved by the rules committee. Team New Zealand filed an appeal but missed a deadline.

Rum_Pirate
09-29-2013, 11:08 PM
According to this article there was NO computerization of the foil controls (or any other controls). The article also refutes what has been said (and repeated by me) that Oracle got new foils built and flown in from New Zealand during the series.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/sailing-oracle-sailors-learned-flying-183502092.html

According to the Oracle spokesman the so-called computerized foil controls were simple electrical switches (stock, right off the shelf) that allowed a human to quickly actuate controls for the foils and other surfaces, as needed. These switches were installed before the series started (in August) and were approved by the rules committee. Team New Zealand filed an appeal but missed a deadline.

So Oracle had electrical operated controls?

Weren't the foils supposed to be operated by crew power and not electrical power (remember the 4, 6 or was it 8 cylinder power in the last AC) ?

"copied directly from the Rule Book: "RRS42 Propulsion states: A yacht shall compete only by using the wind and water to increase, maintain or decrease her speed. Her crew may adjust the trim of the wing, sails, rudders, daggerboards and hulls, and perform other acts of seamanship."

The vital words are at the opening of the second sentence 'her crew' - meaning that an automated adjustment which works independently of crew intervention is illegal."




10. Although there is risk of being derided for being a “poor loser”, or a “bad sport” it cannot go unnoticed that Team Oracle have already been penalised for cheating, that previous Defenders have been noted for sailing very close to the wind of rule compliance.

The recent outpouring of bluff and arrogance from Jimmy Spithill may well be part of a plan to trail red herrings and to draw the attention off the real technological reason for their quite literally astounding comeback.



The SAS installed onto the Oracle boat after they played their postponement card was independent of the crew, which makes it illegal.
Disgruntled members of the Oracle team are blowing the whistle on this. They are saying that their boat just wasn't good enough to match Team New Zealand so they had to play their postponement card so that they could install the SAS half way through the regatta.

They are also saying that the SAS was so good that they didn’t run it at full pace because it would have made it too obvious, and instead they slowly increased their speed and called it improvements in their skills and learnings about the boat, neither of which were true.

They are also saying that the speed they sailed at in the last race wasn’t at the top of the range of the SAS, and that they couldn't switch it on to full speed because to win by too great a margin would have been too risky, ie it would have been too obvious.

MiddleAgesMan
09-30-2013, 07:35 AM
Tell that to the rules/measurement committee that approved the installation.

You could argue the same about hydraulic power which can be stored and deployed to do work that a mere human could not do in the time it takes for stored hydraulic power to do it.

Full Tilt
09-30-2013, 08:05 AM
Tell that to the rules/measurement committee that approved the installation.

I'm going to do exactly that!

Anyone got the phone number for Ellison's back pocket?

MiddleAgesMan
09-30-2013, 12:23 PM
So Oracle had electrical operated controls?

Weren't the foils supposed to be operated by crew power and not electrical power (remember the 4, 6 or was it 8 cylinder power in the last AC) ?



Electrically actuated is not electrically operated. Actuators opened and closed hydraulic system valves allowing the stored hydraulic power to do the work of raising, lowering and tilting the foils. TNZ had foils that were operated by hydraulic power as well as by rope. Not as back-up, just a duel system where rope did some operations and hydraulics did another. Oracle had foils operated solely by hydraulics which was seen as a weakness by some.

So you may ask, where did the electrical power for the actuators come from? Well, maybe from batteries or maybe from electrical charges stored in capacitors. If hydraulic power stored was allowed it isn't much of a stretch to see electrical power (from a grinder) to be stored.

Full Tilt
09-30-2013, 01:18 PM
If hydraulic power stored was allowed it isn't much of a stretch to see electrical power (from a grinder) to be stored.

Are you saying the winches have generators in them?

Full Tilt
09-30-2013, 01:58 PM
Again, TNZ lost because they weren't fast enough.......

Or Team USA were just better 'hiders'.

MiddleAgesMan
09-30-2013, 02:35 PM
Are you saying the winches have generators in them?

Are you saying winches didn't drive the hydraulic system?

Rum_Pirate
09-30-2013, 04:10 PM
Or Team USA were just better 'hiders'. . . because they had been caught cheating once before?

Full Tilt
09-30-2013, 04:13 PM
No, during the commentary after the final race it was mentioned that certain persons were actually hiding to avoid being served with a notice of challenge.

Rum_Pirate
09-30-2013, 04:48 PM
No, during the commentary after the final race it was mentioned that certain persons were actually hiding to avoid being served with a notice of challenge.

Now that is sad . . . and very unsportsmanlike.

Hwyl
09-30-2013, 09:43 PM
My gawd what a lot of misinformation.


Itwas the officers of the Golden GAte YC who were hiding, not the Ellison crew. The GGYC is a pretty lowly blue collar club that was co opted by Ellison to be the challenger of record (it has to be a yacht club).

The hydraulics cannot be above 10 bar (145 PSI)at rest, so no real stored power. The coffeee grinders are hydraulic pumpps and have been for some time. I suspect that when Sir Ben shouted "Grind your arses of boys" it was to maintain pressure on the foils.

Larry Elliison owns Oracle, he did not have to go to Boeing for software, I could have written that program. TNZ is partly sponsored by Dell.

There is something dubious, but it appears TNZ is letting it go.