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Thread: Review Committee Recommendations might be hard to swallow

  1. #1

    Review Committee Recommendations might be hard to swallow

    There could be some belching in San Francisco before teams digest, and maybe sign-off, the 37 recommendations served up by the America’s Cup Regatta Director, Iain Murray yesterday.

    The recommendations come on the back of a fatal accident on the Swedish AC72, Artemis, and triggered the commissioning of a six person panel, by event organisers - current holder of the America's Cup, or the America’s Cup Trustee, and for this Defence is the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

    The public face of the organising body for the on the water racing is America’s Cup Regatta Management, headed by Iain Murray, who also chaired the Review Panel established soon after the death of double British Olympic Medallist, Andrew Simpson, on May 9.

    Murray and the Review Committee have been sharing their desk with the US Coast Guard for the past week, as it is the USCG’s responsibility to issue Special Local Regulations and an Event Permits to allow the America’s Cup Regatta to take place.

    Worst case scenario is that the USCG could decide the whole thing was seriously flawed, the AC72’s dangerous, and decide to shut the Regatta down. They have that power.

    That won’t happen according to Golden Gate Yacht Club Vice Commodore, Tom Ehman. 'They have been part of this process, and have told us that they like these Recommendations, and we fully expect that they will approve them.'

    There may be some adjustments required by the USCG. 'But we understand they like the process, they like the Recommendations, and we expect that sometime in June – which was always in the schedule – that they will be issuing our Event Permit.'

    'The Coast Guard weren’t a member of the Review Committee, but they did second Lieutenant Jon Lane to us, as an Advisor and Liaison, he in turn had also been working with long-time San Francisco race officer John Craig, and there was already a long and strong relationship in place.'

    John Craig will also be the Principal race Officer for the America’s Cup. He too was a member of the Review Committee and also reports to Iain Murray.

    The terms of reference for the Review Committee charged it with reviewing 'the safety of training and racing of AC72 yachts on San Francisco Bay. The scope of the review, and subsequent recommendations is not limited.' By definition the Review Committee were not charged with conducting an inquiry into the causes of the Artemis incident, except where there were general lessons for the AC72 fleet or event.

    Non-Negotiable?
    According to Ehman all the Recommendations are part of a safety plan for the event, and as such are non-negotiable by the teams, since safety will not be compromised.

    Team insiders spoken to by Sail-World don’t quite see it that way, splitting the Recommendations into three areas – those that involve modification to the AC72 Class Rule which governs the measurement and design of the 72ft wingsailed catamaran that will be sailed for the first time in the 34th America’s Cup. Changes to that AC72 rule can only be done with the consent of all the teams – a simple majority is not enough.

    A second group of recommendations are the changes to the Protocol, which governs the rules under which the racing for the America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup’s will be conducted. Changes to the Protocol can be made by the Regatta Director after a majority vote by the Teams.

    The third group is Safety Rules, which can be set arbitrarily by the Regatta Director, and to which his officials and the teams, where they are affected, must comply.

    Under Ehman’s logic all the 37 Recommendations come under the Safety category, and are not subject to any negotiation or amendment. 'As for whether there will be votes on Class Rule amendments and Protocol Amendments - No. These Recommendations will become Rules.'

    'These are Safety Recommendations by the Regatta Director, and they will become part of the regatta permit and therefore Rules.' He adds that until that formal process is concluded by the Coast Guard, the recommendations are just that, and are for the guidance of teams during the training period now under way.

    'The Coast Guard needs to ensure that the field of play is safe, that it is safe for the competitors, and also that the event is conducted safely for spectators as well. It is concerned with the overall safe conduct of the event.'

    Ehman's view aside, the bulk of the recommendations actually do fall under the Safety category and many don’t directly affect the teams at all, such as whether mark boats are used, as currently, or inflatable marks as recommended for race management - evidence that the Review Committee has looked beyond just the Artemis and Oracle incidents.

    Ehman says most of the cost of the Recommendations will fall on the Organisers. These include having to devise ways of adopting LiveLine, the GPS based tracking system used for umpiring and television to run off the power available within an inflatable mark for GPS positioning. 'There are requirements of the Organising Committee, that are onerous, but at the end of the day it is safety first,' he adds.

    Wind limit reduction no surprise
    The process to be followed by the Coast Guard is to either approve or reject America's Cup Regatta Management's application (through the Golden Gate Yacht Club). 'They don't dictate,' explains Ehman.

    Essentially what is being lodged is a Safety Plan, and it is against that laudable backdrop that some of the Recommendations are curious.

    The reduction in wind limits will also go through, despite being a 10knot reduction over the ridiculously high figure previously set of 33kts. 'We wondered how it would take them to wake up to that one,' Emirates Team NZ's Grant Dalton remarked in a television news interview.

    The new wind limit of 20kts for the Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robins creeping to 23 kts for the America’s Cup Match will still need a Protocol change. The new limit is a couple of knots below the international standard used in the Olympics and World Championships. Although it applies before the start only, the racing can still be cancelled after the race has started for safety issues.

    Even with the reduction in the wind limit, the AC72's in just 20kts of breeze will be sailing at around 40kts, and dropping the wind limit won't have slowed the boats at all. 'The boats are going to be still plenty powered up, but they are not going to be over powered by as much as they would if they were racing in 33kts of wind,' says Ehman.

    Contrary to other reports the lower wind limit for the regatta has not changed – and cannot except by a majority vote of the teams. Of some concern is the ability to have variable start times, possibly based on forecasts but also with the perspective that one team might try an influence the start time to get 'their' conditions.

    Ehman points out that if the teams do have concerns in that respect, all they have to do is to get together as sort out a new and stronger lower wind limit. 'It is not a safety issue,' he adds.

    Safety certification not simple
    The structural certification by an external body on the platform and wingsails, did raise some eyebrows as to how that would practically happen.

    Normally it is very difficult to obtain such certification, without the certifying body such as Lloyds, being present during the whole build process to check and test what has gone into the construction and then being able to test the calculations independently before issuing a certificate. Core samples need to be taken and so on.

    Being presented with a boat and asking if it will break, is a lot harder question than it sounds. Getting external engineering signoff will be interesting the current track record in the AC 72 class, which stands at three broken wingsails, and two broken platforms - out of seven wingsails and five platforms used.

    Without putting too fine a point on it, there should be a lot of destruction test data available.

    Note too, that there is a question of liability attached to any sign-off. Such a risk caused the Review Committee to swerve away from making Recommendations as asked, leaving that task was left to Regatta Director, Iain Murray to sweep the proposals and discussions together into the document, which listed the Recommendations and was published yesterday.

    Similarly in the requirement to get certification of daggerboard rake and reliability, given the daggerboards are housed in hydraulically adjustable cases. Aside from the highly experienced team engineers and designers themselves - who knows what the loads really are, understands the systems, and can certify the safe operating limits lie?

    The point being that the AC72 is a highly experimental boat, and is the leading (some would say bleeding) edge sailing technology. Each team has had some 30 top designers working on the various projects since October 2010.

    Many would question as to how an external certification organisation could come in and reliably sign off off AC72 structures and systems with just 40 days remaining to the start of the regatta. While they may be able to determine what is safe, and that appropriate margins are built in, the thrust of the teams has been to build a safe boat that is light and fast and can be sailed in the prescribed wind strengths. Obviously some have succeeded better at that endeavour than others.

    In short, the engineers are going to be asked to certify racing equipment where light weight is paramount, and not a charter cruiser, which can afford the luxury of being overbuilt.

    Elevating the Rudder
    The most curious of the changes lies in the Recommendation 1.3 Rudder Elevators. These are the winglets attached to the ends of the rudders and look similar to the tail flaps on a plane, or adjustable spoilers on the back of a race car.

    The term is a new one in the Class Rule, in other words, Rudder Elevators didn't previously exist in the AC72 Class Rule. They do rate a mention in Rule 8.6 which says that trim tabs or moveable winglets, which can be adjusted while racing, are prohibited. No size or dimensions are set on these.

    The Recommendation (introduced under the guise of safety) does set some parameters for so-called Rudder Elevators of area and (wing) span and minimum depth below the boat.

    It also allows these to be adjusted before the warning signal for the race, but can’t be adjusted in the race itself.

    One would have thought that if such features were a safety device that they could have been deployed during the bear away maneuver which has triggered both capsizes to date. Effectively to do a hand-brake turn at the top of the course.

    The rudder elevators may have been able to be pulled on in such as way as to try and reduce bow-down trim which would reduce the chances of a pitch-pole. But that is not the case under this Recommendation – which only permits the elevator to be set several minutes before the start, and the crews would then have to suffer the drag of the preset elevator for the remainder of the race, creating drag and slowing the boats.

    To bring such a change in just 40 days before racing is very significant for the Challengers. The Defender Oracle Team USA is believed to have had the rudder devices fitted for some time. Nothing illegal about that as the AC72's are just in test mode, but as the rules currently stand they mist be removed to race in the match in September.

    With one other exception, the other Recommendations should pass through without significant comment or alteration.

    That is the requirement for 'Soft coverings and soft fairings to be made of predominantly of see-through/transparent material.' This apparent safety requirement is so that crew can be seen underneath the wingsails in the event of capsize. Of course it greatly affects the likes of Emirates Team NZ with a solid colour wingsail, which displays substantial sponsor signage. Changing that with the stroke of a pen, will cause indigestion in those charged with managing team sponsorship arrangements and their attendant signage agreements.

    Whether the Louis Vuitton logo will be allowed to remain at the top of the wingsails, is another source of contention created by this Recommendation.

    Applying the same logic to soft sails, will be an interesting exercise, if attempted.

    Another question that has been raised, with the reduction of the sailing days, and the fact that some have already paid for season tickets, will there be a refund?

    Ehman defers to a member of the America's Cup Events Authority, who are working in conjunction with the Giants baseball team who have been working with ACEA on ticketing matters.

    In terms of the inquiries running, Ehman says the Review Committee will not be producing any findings as to the cause of the Artemis incident. Neither was it asked to in its terms of reference.

    That matter will be covered by two other ongoing inquiries, being those run by the San Francisco Police Department in conjunction with the Medical Examiner. The SFPD investigates when there is a fatality in its jurisdiction and the Medical Examiner performs a similar function to a Coroner. Surprisingly Ehman said that both were expected to report in a week to 10 days, and both would be publicly open documents subject to standard restrictions. That is remarkably fast by the standards applying in any other jurisdiction.

    Artemis Racing, is conducting its own inquiry into the incident and causes from a structural and design perspective. There has been no comment as to when that process will be concluded, whether there will be a publicly released report, and to what extent the information will be shared with other teams.

    Three of the America’s Cup teams sailed on San Francisco Bay, today, under ideal sailing conditions, without incident.

    © This report is copyright to Richard Gladwell and Sail-World.com and may not be republished without permission

  2. #2

    Cool

    Thanks for the report, or posting the report.
    I'm a little concerned with the Copyright declaration at the end:


    "© This report is copyright to Richard Gladwell and Sail-World.com and may not be republished without permission"

    I know I've done the same thing in the past and I assumed crediting the source was good enough to cover any issues. I haven't seen the, "....may not be republished without permission.", part before, or didn't notice it.

    Will stuff like this get PB and/or the poster in trouble?

    Anyone out there have any knowledge, info, tips?

    KiwiSpy----
    Sorry for the hijack, thanks for posting (or linking in the future if that's safer).

  3. #3

    Republishing

    If you ask, permission is not unreasonably refused - it is the ones that just flog it as of some right that get me. Each of these pieces is probably about for or five hours work. Let alone the time spent in research.

    RG

  4. #4
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    ETNZ Seeks Oracle Data / Removal from Race Course




    Emirates Team New Zealand have gone to the International Jury to require the America's Cup Defenders, Oracle Team USA, to make public their performance data, now the team has commenced racing on the America's Cup course, on an exclusive basis.

    The New Zealand team also seems to believe that the Defenders are not entitled to sail on the America's Cup Course while the Louis Vuitton Cup is being sailed.


    Currently the Defender has access to the perfirmance data of Luna Rossa and Emirates Team NZ each time they race in the Louis Vuitton Cup either in a contested race or sailing solo. - Paul Todd-Outside Images © Click Here to view large photo
    The point of the questions appear to stem from some curious wording in the Protocol governing the way in which a Defender could be selected - with the Protocol talking on one hand of multiple Teams, requiring a Defender Selection series similar to the Louis Vuitton Cup.

    Golden Gate Yacht Club have only one Team, and therefore no need for a Selection Series. On that basis the claim is that GGYC are not entitled to a use of the America's Cup Course during the race days of the Louis Vuitton Cup.

    Previously the Defence team, Oracle Team USA, had been training in the general San Francisco Bay area, not on the specific America's Cup course. The US team gained exclusive use to the area for an hour, more than the duration of a seven leg race, on Thursday, and sailed their two AC72's ahead of the Louis Vuitton Cup, triggering the questions to the Jury by Emirates Team New Zealand.

    'We managed to get a good hour on the race course. It was valuable time before the challengers started racing in the afternoon. We had a few races, good training,' said Kyle Langford, Oracle Team USA wing trimmer.



    The opening stanzas of the Application from Emirates Team NZ seeks to establish whether the in-house races are in fact a Defender Series in terms of the Protocol, and if so, then the Application's final set of questions ask whether the Event Authority, under Article 38.2 of the Protocol, would require the Defender to put its Performance data into the public domain, as is required of the Challengers.

    Since the Louis Vuitton Cup has commenced in early July 2013 the performance data from Luna Rossa and Emirates Team New Zealand has been available in a visual form to the media and fans via Virtual Eye, a sophisticated graphics application developed especially for the Americas Cup by Animation Research Ltd, who are the world pioneers in this field, and have been involved in developing this application for the America's Cup since 1992.



    Currently with the Defenders able to conduct in-house racing - Defence Trials or otherwise, on the America's Cup Course, they are able to cross-reference their performance data against that already available on the Challengers. Their additional advantage is that they can sail just before or after the Challengers, so get a better bearing on the actual conditions on the day - even though the winds may change in strength or direction.

    Another implication of the claim is that the Defenders are able to conduct a closed race session on the America's Cup course, while the Challengers are obliged to conduct an open session in terms of the performance data.



    With the Challengers Performance data, in effect the Defenders can race their yachts against the Challengers on a computer, and gain a vital point of comparison as to their strengths and weaknesses on each of the Challengers. They could, for instance, check their speeds in a foiling gybe against that of the Challengers, and then determine whether they are ahead or behind their benchmark, ahead of the Match in September. If behind in any area, they have six weeks to try and close the gap.

    Access to wind data co-related to the other performance data is of vital interest to a competing team, as this is information that they cannot obtain through permitted surveillance activities.

    Under the terms of the Protocol Article 38.2 the Event Authority can require all teams - Defence and Challenger to provide performance data for media purposes: 'Competitors shall provide live, unaltered and un-skewed telemetry data from their competing yachts including but not limited to boat speed, location and heading, and true and apparent wind speed and direction. This data shall be provided at the same update rate as the data displayed on the yachts own instruments'

    (The Event Authority is an entity established by Golden Gate Yacht Club to organize and manage the America's Cup Regatta.)

    In other words all teams are allowed access to the performance data of Defenders and Challengers, via uses permitted for the media. Of vital interest is the data relating to windspeed and boatspeed, which would allow performances of the Challengers and Defenders to be mapped and accurately compared, rather than just being by observation as at present.

    Online, currently there are seven data files, from the races sailed to date, that can be downloaded, and processed by anyone, including the competing teams, outside of Virtual Eye. These cover performance information on the Challengers, but there is nothing from the Defenders.

    No date has been set for a Hearing, which is expected to be handled on a documentary basis only in late July.

    by Richard Gladwell

    http://sail-world.com/USA/index.cfm?...=0&tickerCID=0
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