Francis Vaughan

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Francis Vaughan last won the day on January 27

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About Francis Vaughan

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  1. Francis Vaughan

    New imoca boats

    Deck spreaders already cause significant misery in terms of space needed. It is interesting that Initiatives Coeur doesn't seem to have them. I wonder if they have crunched the numbers and the tradeoff has swung away from such a rig. (Good thing IMHO if true.) The foils motion looks half-way to an AC75 fully articulated setup. A little relaxing of the rules and they could define retracted to mean swung vertically up. (Maybe then bring in a rule for maximum total beam when docked, and work on allowing more boats in the VG. Costly change I suspect, but opening up more VG positions might be considered worth it.)
  2. Francis Vaughan


    It just screams bland corporate anonymity. There are thousands of corporations around the planet with basically identically bland logos. It could just as easily be a bank, insurance company, or a manufacturer of jellybean widget parts. Companies with meaningless and stupid corporate "mission statements" and catchphrases like "exceeding your expectations" and other inanities. Remove the race's name, keeping "Round the world since 1973" and you could easily believe it is a: travel agent, airline, cruise line, or a drill site services company. It guess it is hard to differentiate yourself when being so painfully corporate. I bet this didn't come cheap either.
  3. Francis Vaughan

    VOR: How to Quantify Risk and Uncertainty?

    I suspect there may be a misunderstanding about the risk here. I’m assuming that risk is tactical risk, not personal risk. We clearly see a few cases where we assume that a boat back in the fleet has taken a tactical risk. Hero or zero moves into uncertain weather usually. Scallywag wining into HK, Ericsson 3 wining in Brazil. Even then these are not considered risky by the navigator aboard The difficulty is that these moves are rare. Usually the navigator as a clear plan or plans and works with the conditions they are given. Where there is more question of risk is as the race progresses and the question of covering your main rival versus sailing your own race comes into play. This can become a question of letting another boat gain one point on you by following them versus the risk of breaking away and winning or losing badly. We saw more of that. Uncertainty in weather will contribute to that problem. No doubt, as the race reached about 1/3 distance the pecking order started to appear and tactics started to be determined by position on the course relative to rivals, not just the fleet as a whole.
  4. Francis Vaughan

    VOR: How to Quantify Risk and Uncertainty?

    Spread of the fleet is probably a poor surrogate for uncertainty. There are many reasons for the fleet to spread, but a critical one is simply experience, and over the course of the race that changes. Last race we saw only a couple of teams start in a fully ready form, where the team was experienced both racing the boat and racing together. There were all manner of difficulties down the fleet, including late starting teams, teams with major last minute upsets, and very inexperienced teams. The gaps closed as the race progressed, but not in a uniform manner. Secondly, weather can and does cause restart events in a leg. The entire fleet can be bunched up by the weather, to the point where for all intents the race is restarted as the weather changes. The nature of the weather is such that there is a non-linear relationship between options and how far apart the boats are. You will see boats sailing in much the same weather system, with much the same options, but then there is an event horizon, a point where the options suddenly change. Capturing that step change isn't going to be trivial. In some circumstances the boats can outrun the weather, and this makes things very complex. Boats can sail to avoid poor weather, or even look for stronger stuff. The dynamic nature of the relationship between boats and the weather may lead to fine grained risk taking opportunities that are very hard to divine. As Jack notes - overall you need to know what the boats knew. One interesting thing the boats had we didn't get to see (not without spending real money) is the set of ensemble meteorological predictions. These give the navigators an overview of meteorological uncertainty. If you had access to the historical sets of these predictions you might be able to create a metric of forecast weather uncertainty, and see how that relates to decision making. Historical data for these forecasts is often free (timely access is charged), but you face a lot of hurdles in accessing it and processing it. It is an interesting idea, but there is a lot that goes into the decisions made on the water. Top teams had on-shore met and nav experts that did a lot of background work, and before a leg would create a play book based upon the expected range of weather systems, something that acts against overly risky decisions on the water.
  5. Francis Vaughan

    New imoca boats

    He may well be a lot less busy, so able to deliver a design, oversee the build etc, sooner as well. Hard to imagine that designers are just sitting back waiting for the phone to ring. They will all be actively pitching to prospective teams. One suspects that what that pitch is will vary rather a bit. What teams are looking for likely varies as well.
  6. Francis Vaughan


    Ah. Thanks. Sanity.
  7. Francis Vaughan


    Currently the rules are mute on the capability of the AP. The idea that a fully crewed race can be one where there is no helmsman just seems totally wrong. It sure as hell will alienate the casual viewer. Mandating an AP of highly restricted capability would seem a very good idea. Good to allow teams a break when conditions allow, but with clear negative implications for performance. A system with unfettered access to data and compute would lead to a very poor outcome for racing.
  8. Supports my general view that most of what MR said was knee jerk off the cuff stuff that was uttered without engaging the brain. "Ours was" is the typical "it can't possibly be our/my fault therefore the light was on" as opposed to "I know someone checked and they would have told me if there was a problem." It never got better from thereon in. Just moving goalposts as to why it could not possibly be their fault.
  9. As you note, it isn't a direct 1-1 relationship, but, and I'm sure you have already given this some thought, the implications of the reasonably direct relationship between Tx and Rx performance of an antenna leave yet another set of questions for the continual WOXI psuedo-technical excuses. If BJ couldn't see WOXI, and if it was an antenna fault on WOXI, it is reasonably likely WOXI couldn't see BJ. That would hardly go unnoticed. Indeed, if the antenna was faulty as claimed, WOXI would hardly have ever seen another boat on AIS. Still, in the spirit of trying to move toward making the future better, I won't belabour the point.
  10. Francis Vaughan


    To be fair, they are a lot further ahead of the game than the equivalent time in the cycle in other races. But in all a very weak 30 minutes. More a placemarker to say "I'm not dead yet". I'm not much of a fan of the new logo, but it is better than the last one. All very corporate, and dull. And I still don't like the name. It is too anonymous and yet overclaims. I prefer my suggestion. A NZ entry is a pretty good sign. Sadly I have little hope that there will be an Oz boat. (Maybe if I get my numbers right for the next mega-draw.)
  11. Sigh. The word “shall” does not brook interpretation. Does compliance with the RRS require a caveat in use of “shall”? Does a rule such as “shall keep clear” require a caveat? You can say it is arguable all you like. No court, jury or person who understood the English language would agree with you. Certainly not any IJ for a major race. The idea that there is “non racing time” during the race suggests you have little clue about how races are run. Unless the SIs explicitly provide a mechanism for suspending racing, you are always racing. Very few races do so. The rules have been honed over the decades and evolved in the face of far smarter attack than this. You can be assured that “shall” cannot and never is subject the any question about times of application. If there is a point where a rule is not to be applied it is explicitly stated. It isn’t some sort of post modernist deconstruction.
  12. Seconded. The only things that have contributed to the lingering stink hanging over WOXI's win have been the contradictory and very public pronouncements from team WOXI about the technical nature of the failure. There are some very simple rules in public life about how to handle this sort of mess, and they don't seem to be understood. The CYCA is however another matter.
  13. Francis Vaughan


    The old 60s sailed with twice that aboard. All designs are compromises, the crewed IMOCA 60s will be able to avoid compromises made to make the boat viable for long distance racing shorthanded. The interesting question will be how far apart these compromises and optimizations pull the two, and whether there will ever be a viable dual use boat that is competitive. The more money that gets thrown at the CMC boats, the further they will pull apart. The CMC boats will be likely be sailed with two on deck at all times. Interestingly, the CMC rule retains an autopilot. That will make for a varied set of possibilities. Trimmer, grinder and autopilot? Not what I would have guessed, but time will tell what works in what conditions.
  14. Perhaps enlighten us. Why not protest? What part of making public his displeasure about the lack of WOXI's AIS does not protesting make in your theory? He could have protested and not whinged to the media. It would make no difference to your theory. Indeed it would have been all the more difficult for the CYCA, as WOXI would probably have been stripped of the win the second year running. If you were of a mind to make the AIS rule a target, that would be your best tactic. Not having a sook to the ABC.
  15. The lack of protest makes no difference to the argument. Protesting would have had the same effect as a media dummy spit. Moaning and not protesting is just being a dick. WOXI get no opportunity to clear their name, and the taint on their win remains forever (as it has.) Saying they "don't do protests" wraps the dickish actions in a veneer of honourable respectability. Don't look for deep thought conspiracies when simple human nature can explain people's actions.