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Azure

The spectator value of different crew size - any opinions?

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I kinda think the playing area of the sport isn't necessarily the ocean; it could be viewed as the deck of the boats.  So instead of designing a boat that is entertaining going across the water, design a boat that is entertaining to watch the crew do stuff on.  Then design the boats and the race from that.

How many crew? What would they be doing? What kind of boat and rules get us there?

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Regardless of the type of yacht I think you need to have enough crew that the tactician can actually be just the tactician and you certainly don't want him grinding! Otherwise it just doesn't feel like big boat racing to me.

The crew was too small this time, but plenty big enough last time so anything from 8 to 11 is probably sufficient to make it feel like big boat racing, that said from a spectator view there is probably no negatives from there being more crew than that.

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Part of that is the crew doing different things, and doing them skillfully. Sail evolutions, foredeck work, and all that stuff is a lot more interesting than watching a bunch of guys with their heads down grinding away for 25 minutes. 

If you eliminate stored energy maybe that changes the type of boat or the manner of sailing them. 

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Yep, it all comes down to the degree to which stored power -- included the energy stored in the crew -- can be used and how.

Is it really more "yachting" because the stored power is transferred by line rather than oil pressure?

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On 7/25/2017 at 5:43 PM, Boybland said:

Regardless of the type of yacht I think you need to have enough crew that the tactician can actually be just the tactician and you certainly don't want him grinding! Otherwise it just doesn't feel like big boat racing to me.

The crew was too small this time, but plenty big enough last time so anything from 8 to 11 is probably sufficient to make it feel like big boat racing, that said from a spectator view there is probably no negatives from there being more crew than that.

I'm an outsider, so I fall into your latter category.  If there are too many people it seems like there isn't a shortage of resources (people) and everything is so organized that there is nothing to watch.

On 7/25/2017 at 6:38 PM, TodB said:

Part of that is the crew doing different things, and doing them skillfully. Sail evolutions, foredeck work, and all that stuff is a lot more interesting than watching a bunch of guys with their heads down grinding away for 25 minutes. 

If you eliminate stored energy maybe that changes the type of boat or the manner of sailing them. 

I agree that grinding it boring, but it can add fluff to the spectacle, for better or worse.

On 7/26/2017 at 4:09 AM, rgeek said:

Yep, it all comes down to the degree to which stored power -- included the energy stored in the crew -- can be used and how.

Is it really more "yachting" because the stored power is transferred by line rather than oil pressure?

I agree, but I wonder that if you automate too much, you could have one or two guys sailing a 70 foot boat.

 

I personally wish they'd figure out a way to get about five guys on the boat and create enough work for about 7 crew.  Then you could see the activity and strategic trade-offs that make it interesting to me.  In a way, the way the Kiwis adapted in design was a subtle version of this, and was somewhat interesting, but actually watching guys adapt on the fly might be pretty good.

I assume cats generally favor lighter crew weight?  If so, maybe that would affect some of this.

I'm not saying change everything, but maybe looking at ways to add spectator appeal from a different vantage point might have merit.

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You can design a boat that's interesting to look at - but if the design decision was motivated for TV as opposed for getting around the course the quickest, you'll lose.

That being said - if you wanted something visual, you don't one design the boat (you want contrast between boats) - just restrict control technologies.

Ban roller furling. Ban pedestal grinders. If you want to go nuts ban geared winches. 

There will be a lot of mishaps and shits and giggles, but you get to watch the crew do interesting stuff I suppose.

The reality is we're getting to the point where advanced technologies make crews a liability in a controlled event like AC, unless you create specific conditions that make them a requirement. If you give a team a blank slate with very little limit re power source, they can probably engineer a very reliable and light hydraulic control system (like ETNZ), have 2 guys sail the entire course and the rest just sit/lie windward on a monohull the entire time without doing anything except being stacking ballast.

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