Francis Vaughan

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Francis Vaughan last won the day on January 27 2019

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About Francis Vaughan

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    Adelaide, Australia

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  1. Francis Vaughan

    Forward Facing Sonar

    The OSCAR system info is pretty light on detail. Given the price I would not be expecting much capability in the FLIR system used. You don't get much resolution or signal to noise until you pay serious money, and then you run into dual use technology restrictions. This is what real systems look like: The video promo only suggests an ability to avoid objects of the order of other boats and floating containers. Which is a long way from the requirements mooted. To be fair, it isn't exactly an easy task. Modern commodity AI is well suited to video recognition tasks, and picking a boat or container from waves, breaking and rolling, is a good use. Training up a commodity neural net processor system for the task is quite reasonable. The fun part is tuning the system to balance false positives. But beyond that, and things are going to get difficult fast. Something barely afloat with waves breaking over it is going to be a much harder task. OTOH, there are aspects of AI techniques that could do a better job at this than a human. But you need the input data to be good enough, and as above, the OSCAR system is going to be pretty limited on this front. As to detecting mammals by their heat signature, I don't think there is any chance. Minimally you will need a cooled FLIR, which is a whole step up in cost, weight and complexity, and not trivial to obtain even if you have the money. Even then, there is no chance of seeing them beneath the water, only when breaching, and that isn't going to be enough. For races like the VG, where we saw boats taken out of the running by actually running into other boats or large buoys whilst their skippers slept, well there is a case. But I doubt the technology is going to help much avoiding cetaceans or the detritus of modern society.
  2. Francis Vaughan

    Sydney to Hobart 2019

    Seems we had this exact same conversation in 2017. Nothing if not consistent. IMHO the only thing that makes the tack look close is the amount of money involved if they touched. Otherwise SW nailed the move, unlike WOXI in 2017, when MR overcooked it, badly.
  3. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    It is worth reading the cited articles. The one from gCaptain covers most of the questions raised and only takes a few minutes. AIS is very likely going to become a self limiting technology very soon. A core problem is that it is intrinsically designed to only cope with limited number of vessels or other sources within the range of its visibility. This is due to the fixed number of slots in the time domain multiplexing. The design of the system assumed it was legitimate navigating vessels that would be fitted with systems. Once an area becomes cluttered with AIS transceivers operations can degrade, and real live moving vessels may become invisible as illegitimate transmissions soak up slots. In a crowded seaway this is not going to end well. Class A units are more immune, but not fully, and class B units (as carried by most small craft) are second class citizens. The gCaptain article notes that in US waters it is prohibited to use AIS on things like fishing nets. It is also illegal in the US to modify the MSSI of the AIS system - it can only be set by the vendor, and must be that of a real vessel. However the problem is that, like so many problems of international scope, there is no overarching enforceable agreement. In many countries you can simply buy an AIS unit off the shelf and code it to transmit like anything you like. You could, in principle, make your fishing nets look like a Panamax container ship. The utility of AIS may become more compromised as technology becomes more easily available to spoof it. Whilst it would be a nice idea if there was an effective way to mark nets and the like, AIS isn't it, and allowing AIS's prime function of enhancing safety at sea to be compromised by allowing unintended use of transceivers is not going to end well.
  4. Francis Vaughan

    New Hugo Boss Spotted

    Pedantically, if it is an adjustment it isn't a fuse. The point of a fuse is that it breaks instead of something else. You want the thing that breaks to be the one that leaves you in the safest possible state relative to any of the things that the fuse is protecting failing would leave you in. If you break a foil you are probably out of contention to win the race. You can still reasonably expect to complete the race. (Which given in the VG completion gets you automatic selection into the next race is pretty important.) But drop the rig and you will not only not complete the race, but depending upon circumstance, may well be in serious danger requiring outside assistance or rescue, up to and including loss of the boat. The best fuse is something you can replace, and get under way again. It would interesting if there could some sort of cassette design that let the foil swing up with a replaceable link. Lots of additional complexity and weight, and more failure modes. Time will tell how useful such an idea might be. The nature of the game is that skippers will push the boats as hard as they dare. Load cells in the rig provide real time readouts of loads, but as noted earlier, maximum safe loads become targets rather than limits, and the entire boat is always on the ragged edge of failure. There is no easy answer. It is behoven on the designer to design in safe failure. That is just good engineering. But how you balance this against ultimate speed isn't trivial. Eventually it is risk reward, with steps in the functions, and lots of unknowns. You can design a boat so that, so long as nothing goes wrong at all, it is faster than anything else. But you will pay the price that it is more likely to break. If all you care about is the win, and second place is no better than not finishing, the choice is easy. But in a fleet of boats designed with this mentality, a boat that pulls back a fraction, and has more resilience, may well leave many broken boats in its wake. But it would require every ultimate design boat to break in order for it to win. Pure luck probably means one of the ultimate designs doesn't break. Overall there is a spectrum of design decisions possible, and skippers will be a big part of the process. Eventually it is good for the breed. As the old adage says: good decisions come from experience; experience comes from bad decisions.
  5. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    Last leg up through the Suez Canal on the back of a freighter? It is getting just plain weird.
  6. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    Last time they added a virtual waypoint to the route around Santo Porto, making the leg closer to 2,000nm. So going to Capo Verde is about double; but with a pitstop it is closer to two 2,000nm legs. So each leg is no longer than last time’s first leg. It is odd. But if this is the intent, not totally insane. What is odd is that it will add nearly a week at the start of the race. Makes me wonder if there is some sort of timing constraint they are working around. Most likely involving commercial interests. Or maybe there is some insanely rich enthusiast on Capo Verde that wants to see the race.
  7. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    I would guess it is a stop that breaks the first leg, Alicante to Lisbon. Last race they were diverting the boats out and around islands to make the leg a bit longer. Putting a pitstop at the turning point makes little difference to the race. Being on the first leg it might be a good opportunity to shake any small bugs out of the boats.
  8. Francis Vaughan

    THE IMOCA thread, single/double handed & TOR

    I think you just answered ctutmark’s question about the drain holes on Paprec.
  9. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    No. Ironic that the attempt to align with IMOCA comes at the point where the single handed IMOCAs are really starting to optimise around their nature, and the advent of foils will probably drive that optimisation even harder into a different regime. So the design space will bifurcate in a manner that was not in any script demanding a multiple role boat. Any chance that a race contender boat could be a contender for both race roles is well and truly gone. On the up-side, a clear division is likely a good thing. Big dick comparisons between a crewed race with multiple stops and a single handed race with no stops was always going to be embarrassing when the boats used were essentially identical.
  10. Francis Vaughan

    THE IMOCA thread, single/double handed & TOR

    Looking at the shape of the opening and the shadow in the hole it looks as if it is angled both forward and upwards, and looks as if it might intersect the deck near the midline forward of the mast. Given its size (not exactly small), and that angle, suggests it is intended to drain significant volumes of water from that area of deck. Maybe there is a more human friendly area there (ie actually concave), and it needs draining under some circumstances. Or maybe there is a magical sail handling setup that makes life easier for the skipper, and that needs a serious drain. But why the drain would be an add on, dunno, still seems odd. The feathered edge of the paint seems pretty wide for a simple hole, maybe there was some more significant messing with hull. Or just a very enthusiastic painter.
  11. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    Groan. That is a pretty wishy washy release. "more announcements expected in the coming weeks". Lordy, "expected"? Seriously? This seems to be an admission that they are well behind. I'm sure there are negotiations ongoing, but it really doesn't sound good.
  12. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    Much of this is treading ground that has been covered many times. There really doesn't seem to be a right answer. Comparing TOR with F1 racing is not a great start if you have been following the current woes in F1. Everyone is waiting with bated breath for the 2021 rules to drop in the next few weeks. They are intended to be the saviour of a formula that pretty much everyone agrees is in deep trouble. Only 2.5 teams at the top end of the pack, a pile of struggling mid-fielders that consider a single podium finish as a major achievement for the season, and the strugglers, who could wink out of existence. Massive barriers to entry for new teams, and massive barriers to success for all of the teams not in the top 2.5. Worse, the racing is universally considered to be terrible. It is very hard to get enthused about, or support teams or drivers that simply have no chance, so you are left with Hamilton, Verstappen and Vettel - and watching their number 2 drivers mop up the minor placings. The idea that F1 is a hotbed of technical innovation is somewhat misleading. The level of one-design or highly restricted design is huge. The new rules will almost certainly constrain the design even further. Teams are forced to optimise in very narrow bands of aerodynamics, with restrictions on testing time, wind-tunnel use, and even the scale of models that may be built. Significant parts of the car are once design, and the race stewards peruse every bit of data gathered in the car and deliver stiff penalties for technical infractions. Repeating something that was observed in one of the last iterations of this discussion. TOR has no teams. They have entries that come together for a round of the race, and wink out of existence as soon as the race is done. Whether any of these entries manifests itself for the next race is something of speculation for ages after. Sometimes a new entry, badged with the same team logo, appears, often with little in common with the last time the logo appeared on a boat, and the professionals that inhabit the race are often left dangling looking for a ride until ridiculously close to the starting gun. Sometimes they don't get one. Sometimes there is an urgent call to arms as a last minute team is manifested out of thin air to make up the numbers. As has been noted - this isn't a way to make the race a success. But any race that only runs once every 3 or 4 years but demands at least 18 months commitment to be successful is going to have problems. All the hand wringing about OD or stopovers or the like, is subservient to the need to address the various elephants crashing about in the room. Sadly nothing has changed since this conversation last came around. Well we had grandiose plans for a fully crewed RTW series with boats and continuity, but the numbers didn't exactly close on that one. So we are worse than we were before the last race. OTOH, there may really be enough teams and interest to make the next one work. But the silence is not good. For once no news is not good news.
  13. Francis Vaughan

    THE IMOCA thread, single/double handed & TOR

    The trouble with aluminium is that there is no safe load where it doesn't propagate cracks. Which is its dark secret. Most other metals you can reason about when cracks grow or not. But aluminium has a use by date that is baked in. (This worries me with the rise of aluminium in car construction. There are good reasons why Jaguar bond and weld their aluminium cars, and don't bolt them. Holes are the enemy. The cars won't rust, which means they may last a very long time - where cracks might become the dominant failure - which isn't a happy thought if you own one.) Carbon of course is nastier in some ways. More complex to design and reason about the fatigue life, and subject to sudden catastrophic failure when it does let go. But silly strong when you get it right. Always had a soft spot for steel tube bikes. There was probably a bit more mileage in the technology, but carbon killed them off. But carbon bikes have a use by date as well, which steel didn't. (I still have a vintage Reynolds 531 framed road bike.)
  14. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    You could be right. I can’t say I have had enough enthusiasm to keep track. Which is a worry. If a fanboy like me is bored with progress, it doesn’t bode well for engaging a wider audience.
  15. Francis Vaughan

    How about a The Ocean Race thread?

    And another VO-65 entry.