Francis Vaughan

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Francis Vaughan last won the day on February 1

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About Francis Vaughan

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  1. Francis Vaughan

    New imoca boats

    I doubt you would see flutter in a solid steel fin. But loads in the pivot could be pretty interesting. Then again, a flutter like end to end torsional mode could lead to pretty catastrophic issues.
  2. Francis Vaughan

    New imoca boats

    It is interesting to look at the IMOCA 60 rule. It is pretty prescriptive about the design of the fin. Page 36/37 http://www.sailing.org/tools/documents/ClassRulesIMOCA2018V1.0-[23695].pdf Materials and resonant frequencies defined. However I would worry that some of these numbers may need revisiting in the light of a keel fin half out of the water and the other half ventilating right down to the keel bulb. Assumptions about the amount of damping and the frequencies of vibrations seen may be way out. In principle I would imagine the stresses would actually be less than the slamming loads the fin was originally envisaged to be subjected to. But weird things can happen. This thing looks to have the possibility of finding a whole new family of failure modes.
  3. Francis Vaughan

    VOR 2019-2020

    One clear danger for the crewed 60 is that a team needs to find enough sponsorship money to start the build well ahead of the race. 2 years would be good. 18 months marginal at best. But the forces delaying money are going to be strong. The option of a 65 entry means a team can enter pretty much as late as they like. I can see potential teams dithering around getting the needed cash early enough to commit to a build, all the time knowing they have a plan B. There will be a case of "we will if someone else does" for a new boat. The RO may well need to be actively getting together a group of teams who all agree to go with a new boat. Otherwise nobody will. There is a little bit of wiggle room in previous statement that might provide some leverage. Early on there was mention of grandfathering existing IMOCAs - which is course they always do. Whenever the rule is tightened to remove some element of speed older boats remain legal. What was interesting is that they saw the need to explicitly mention grandfathering wrt the new crewed boat. This may imply that there is a desire to shift the IMOCA rule to a point where it is fundamentally built around the needs of a crewed race (in terms of strength and maybe other aspects.) This could mean a mandated increase in weight. There would be a flurry of build to the existing rule for th VG competitors, as the next generation would be heavier, and perhaps not as competitive in SH racing. But if all IMOCAs built after (say) the end of this year are crewed RTW ready, no matter what the intended race, there might be some boats no matter what. OTOH, we might see no new builds at all, with all the builds for the next VG already complete. Then we might see IMOCA pulling out of the deal once it becomes apparent what has happened. The RO has only made a few odd statements about the crew rules for the 65 class. An emphasis on young sailors - well that could mean that they will mandate a crew that has a limited number of experienced sailors aboard, and is thus not as attractive to teams wanting to field a very strong race winning group. It becomes a training race where competition at a lower level. Imagine a fleet of TTToP teams. No mention of gender balance. Seems the RO is leaving the door open to having no gender rules for the 60s, and might only impose it on the 65s. That might attract the dinosaur teams to the 60 over the 65. IMHO it would probably also doom the race. There is quite a while before the next race, but if they don't get things sorted out pretty quickly, I predict 6 65s on the start line and no 60s. Shortly followed by the race winding up. With no clear decision making, and a lot of confusing options on the table I fear we will see a slow demise.
  4. Francis Vaughan

    VOR 2019-2020

    Running both classes like that has the potential to wreck the race. Do you run a team in the one where lots of money wins the race, or run a team in the one where sailing ability wins the race? My prediction is that there won't be enough (if any) IMOCA-60s built to the crewed spec. Building one is all downside. You are at risk of building a boat that can't win the race, no matter how well you sail. You risk building a boat that is a one race orphan. Useless for competitive SH racing against other IMOCAs and no good in the crewed race. Basically a Green Dragon. Alternatively you spend less money, and race in a VO65. You have no technical risk, as the boat is a known thing. You can hand the boat back at the end of he race, and not worry about residual value.
  5. Francis Vaughan

    VOR AUCTION - OPPORTUNITIES LOST & STILL THERE?

    Would appear to be design 826: NEXT GENERATION IMOCA OPEN 60 http://www.farrdesign.com/784-copy-2.html The boat is envisioned to be easily adaptable for singlehanded, doublehanded or crewed sailing with specific consideration for the Volvo Ocean Race courses and the implications of sailing with 5 crew and an onboard reporter. Hard to imagine Farr would just walk away from the VOR. Whether this has legs is another matter. Amusingly the renderings on their web page, and the above quote call it the Volvo Ocean Race, but they have blotted out the VOR logo on the bow in the little teaser - even though it is clearly the same rendering.
  6. Francis Vaughan

    Clipper wreck report

    Cellular assist isn't a replacement for GPS, it is a way of getting the GPS to gain lock faster. By themselves the noddy GPS chips used in iPhones and iPads can get a location fix. But they are not swift at doing so. And in a lot of place GPS can be challenging - places phones get used a lot - like cities. So a helping hand is good to get GPS happening in a timely manner. Once you have a lock, the GPS should remain pretty happy. But the power drain is never trivial, and the temptation to turn the unit off to preserve battery is ever present. So you end up needing to warm start the GPS again. High end GPS chipsets are pretty good at getting a lock from warm start very quickly. Many channels and some seriously slick algorithms for dealing with less than perfect reception. Your iPhone's chip isn't one of them. Use of things like cellular assist, or mapping the MAC addresses of all the WiFi points on the planet are a big win in getting a phone or tablet to lock quickly. The test is to ensure your phone or tablet does not currently have a lock, is not in range of any cells or WiFi hot spots, and then see how long it takes to sort the location out. It will do it. Whether it will do it in the time you would really like it to do it is the question. (the first ever iPhone didn't have GPS, and did only use cell locations. It was not bad really. You could typically get to within a few hundred metres, sometimes better. Not enough to navigate on the road with, and useless outside of cellular range. It is possible this early limitation has become a confused story over time.)
  7. Francis Vaughan

    VOR AUCTION - OPPORTUNITIES LOST & STILL THERE?

    That is little short of just plain weird. Still, if you are the owners of the race, it is nice to be wanted. Anything that breaks the team/stopover link is a good thing. But how this would fit into the race schedule is not clear.
  8. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    Discussing nationality rules one needs to remember which end is dog and which end is tail. Nationality is good when it enables greater involvement from the public that leads to greater value for sponsors. Or enables buy in from sponsors. One adds as much or as little as is needed to get the benefits, and no more. Less if it starts to impinge on the ability of teams to assemble a crew. Nationality could be as weak as having the flag flown. Probably want at least one crew member. After that it is just down to a team tuning the mix to suit each sponsor. In an ideal world, when every country has a contingent of top flight professional ocean racers to pick from, we could imagine a more draconian rule; but we don't have that, and it is a waste of time worrying. I would love to see a boat fully crewed with aussies, under an Oz sponsor. I would also love someone to give me the winning numbers for this weekend's lotto draw. Both are about as likely. (And if someone does give me the numbers, I won't be using my winnings to sponsor a team.) I find it odd that the VOR has not highlighted the individual nationalities of the crew members more. They do make it pretty clear - they have little flags next to crew member's photos, and wet weather gear has names and flags on. But that seems to be about as far as it goes. They have the basics, but never seem to leverage it. Nationality interest doesn't just need to revolve around the boat or team.
  9. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    Ach! Too true. I never regarded it as a leg. Just a split stopover. No matter what numbering they used.
  10. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    You know something the redress committee didn't Francis I wasn't referring to the collision. I was referring to their inability to start the HK to AKL leg. That was not all their fault. If they had been allowed to perform a repair in HK they could have started the next leg. But the class rule forbade any repair that didn't bring the boat back to as built. So they had to wait for Persico to fabricate the section and have it fitted to Boatyrad and class association approved specification in NZ. They could reasonably have sailed on an overbuilt overweight repair and had the Persico built section fitted once they arrived. None of this has anything to do with their strange request for redress for the prior leg.
  11. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    It does. But it only works when you have the usual regatta reverse points scheme. That doesn't lend itself to bonus points quite so well, but could be made to do so. Going this route may be the best answer to balancing the problems. No matter what one comes up with there will be edge cases where things go awry, but trying to get a more clearly equitable scoring in place is worth doing. Something with a non-linear points allocation is still worth keeping - encouraging winning over just sailing consistently helps.
  12. Francis Vaughan

    New imoca boats

    It looks to me more that you can't see any of the core, and that a layer of unidirectional carbon from the inner part of the layup has been folded over covering the core space. But the contrast isn't great and it is generally a bit of a mess.
  13. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    It is never going to be perfect. This race really underlined the problems that happen when you hit the edge cases. Part of the problem is that the teams will race to the rules as they stand. With no real penalty for not completing a leg, once you are DFL, there is incentive to just throw the leg and get on with the next. V11: the rules pushed them from many angles. The HK accident became their choice to retire. Sure, if they had somehow managed to limp the boat across the line to claim a place - whilst there was a dead fisherman in a morgue somewhere - we would have pilloried them. But they could have. I don't think anyone thinks they did the wrong thing by retiring. Not starting the HK-AKL leg was just plain ridiculous. And it wasn't all their fault. Arguably it was one of the failings of the OD rule. If this had been on VO70's they would have patched the hole in a week and sailed the leg. But the VO65 class rule and the boatyard control the repair, and they dictated that the repair could not be effected in HK. So there went another leg. Finally motoring from Port Stanley. Nuts. But there was no incentive to do anything but. Hard to know why they lost the mast. But given some of the other problems with the masts on the same leg, it isn't a sure thing it was the crew's fault. Another loose spreader as seen on TToP at almost the same spot would have done it. But the core point is that there was no disincentive to just throwing the leg and motoring. Not competing in or finishing a leg should not rank you as effectively finishing right behind boats that did complete the leg. OTOH, you need to avoid the situation where a single bit of bad luck wipes you out of contention. Scoring needs to allow you to redeem your failures. The scoring system used is not good at this, and clearly not good at discouraging DNF, DNS, RET. (It is absurd that any problem that sends you to the back of the fleet, even if you finish, has a points penalty that depends upon the number of entrants in the race. Fine if every boat is an equal contender for the prize, but that is rarely the case. Your points penalty, and who wins, the regatta may depend simply upon how many back markers turn up.) Last year I was wittering on about a Condorcet system. I might revive the idea and have a more concerted play with how it might work. But in its raw form it won't address the problem of leg completion. That is a balancing act, and you will never get it perfect.
  14. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    Which is a big "if". No matter how you look at the question, there has been essentially zero progress on improving the safety of oceangoing multis. As much as a lot of us would love to see these beasts flying around the planet, the continual monotonous rate of accidents leaves me with little confidence they are ready, or will be in the foreseeable future. OTOH, for PB to want to have a go on a carefully controlled record breaking run, one can hardly blame him. Most of us would love the chance. But there is a big difference when you can choose your time and weather, and stay within easy range of rescue, versus a RTW race.
  15. Francis Vaughan

    VOR Leg 11 Gothenburg to The Hague

    Well there it is. A worthy winner. No triple crown. I really hope we see a NZ entry next time. PB and BT will be hungry. Maybe see BB again. I remain gobsmacked how Niall can talk non-stop for so long and say so little. He doesn't seem to take breath.