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Go Back   SailNet Community > Out There > Racing > Autopilot while racing
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Thread: Autopilot while racing Reply to Thread
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Topic Review (Newest First)
09-27-2013 04:54 PM
puddinlegs
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
OK, so we're quick to toss out insults to others when someone brings up the question of autopilot, but it's nothing more than guidance in the horizontal plane. .
And there's the rub. It's not a horizontal plane. Nor is just one fluid dynamic.
09-27-2013 04:05 PM
SHNOOL
Re: Autopilot while racing

For the record, I never suggested OTTO was a better helmsman... but I DID ask myself to use such when I was sailing inland single-handed. I wanted to be able to launch my symmetrical spinnaker myself... and OTTO made that quite interesting (best bet is do it as close to DDW as possible, OTTO gets too much weather helm and he gets all punchy)...

Most racing rules are pretty specific against their use, but as said several times above, local RC rules can override this... for electric winches, OTTO, or hydraulic backstays and also apparently lifting foils...

Methinks this has dissolved into sour grapes.

Rule 52, if you want to use OTTO, please contact your RC before you race, who knows you might get the green light (instead of the red protest flag).
09-27-2013 10:33 AM
SailingJackson
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
Yes for some raised on video games the physical exertion of actually steering a yacht at sea really is too much of a trial. But, all is not lost, for them there is always yacht racing with finger-tip precision, the sport of rc sailboat racing how to race radio controlled sailboats which only requires two thumbs.
OK, so we're quick to toss out insults to others when someone brings up the question of autopilot, but it's nothing more than guidance in the horizontal plane. Why is it that automated guidance in a horizontal plane is somehow beneath the dignity of sailors, but automated guidance in the vertical plane is fine and legal in the highest level of racing, as demonstrated by Oracle? Some notes here: Team New Zealand to take legal action against Oracle after America's Cup - reports - Story - 3 Sport - 3 News

I can accept the idea that "It's just how it's done", but don't try to apply some logic or rationalization to the rule. AC rules suggest stability control is OK because people are still needed to run the boat, but that logic applies just as well to conventional autopilot.
07-28-2013 09:42 PM
PalmettoSailor
Re: Autopilot while racing

I don't think the decline of racing sailing can be blamed on not allowing autopilots.

There is no way an autopilot is going to out perform even a moderately skillful helmsman in terms of performance, and I'd even prefer a crappy helmsman that was keeping a look out since they are at least likely to avoid hitting something while an autopilot would blithely steer where ever it was last pointed (unless it began roaming as mine often does).

In short handed and distance racing I think RC's would be wise to amend the rules to allow autopilots but for races less than a a few hundred miles on a fully crewed boat I don't see a need to allow them.
07-26-2013 06:55 PM
smackdaddy
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeorgeB View Post
This is too funny… If “drunken little Otto” is the best helmsman on your boat than perhaps racing isn’t your thing. When we get bored doing a delivery we will sometimes hold contests to see who can drive the boat the fastest. So far,” little Otto” has never finished above DFL.
^^^^This.

Helming a boat in a long race is a very sensory-based, 3-dimensional activity. It requires anticipation of a lot of variables, not just reaction to them. Otto just ain't got it when it comes to this kind of driving.

So in this regard, it would make absolutely no sense to want to use the AP when you're racing.

To your point however, SJack, this situation will most likely be encountered in Off-Shore races, not in-shore stuff. In that regard, the ORR has this to say about it (which leverages somewhat your definition of power/energy vs. control)

Quote:
4.09 Energy Storage.
Other than bilge pumps, no device, unless permitted under RRS 52 Manual Power, may be used while racing which derives assistance from energy stored to do work. However, refer to the ORR Appendix 7 exclusion to this for yachts rated with water ballast or canting keel. This rule may be modified by race organizers through their Notice of Race to permit the use of stored energy for winches, furlers and autopilots.
It's generally left to the RO to make these calls.
07-26-2013 06:20 PM
GeorgeB
Re: Autopilot while racing

This is too funny… If “drunken little Otto” is the best helmsman on your boat than perhaps racing isn’t your thing. When we get bored doing a delivery we will sometimes hold contests to see who can drive the boat the fastest. So far,” little Otto” has never finished above DFL.

The key word is “operated” of which covers the use of an electronic autopilot. Neither arcane or arbitrary, this rule (as it applies to autohelms) is a safety issue. An unattended helm is a pretty dangerous thing and in crossing situations or the general close quarters in sailboat racing, don’t you want a human hand on the tiller? Besides, isn't that where the fun is?

GPS’s, like sextants are wholly contained on the boat. If you ban one, why not the other? The rule of not receiving outside support is a valid one. How would you feel if your competitors were receiving outside instruction or coaching via the radio or internet connection. On ocean races, the SIs will indicate what you can download (things like GRIB files).
07-26-2013 05:21 PM
svHyLyte
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
That's good advice. I think I'll follow it, as others have....
Yes for some raised on video games the physical exertion of actually steering a yacht at sea really is too much of a trial. But, all is not lost, for them there is always yacht racing with finger-tip precision, the sport of rc sailboat racing how to race radio controlled sailboats which only requires two thumbs.
07-26-2013 11:51 AM
BubbleheadMd
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
Sailors can use satellite photos for weather, GPS navigation, endless instrumentation, and enough technology to fly a space shuttle, but they cannot use a simplistic device to keep the boat running in a straight line.
Wrong again. Non-electronic, human powered devices are allowed, such as the Davis Tiller Tamer, the Wavefront Marine Tiller Clutch, or even lashing the tiller in place with a jib sheet or bungy cord. Wheel locks suffice on wheel-steered boats.

The RRS attempts to balance the use of technology with safety, and the challenge of racing. GPS and weather information are allowed for safety. In single-hand races, automated, intelligent pilots often ARE allowed, with modifications to the RRS, negating your statement above.
07-26-2013 11:39 AM
SailingJackson
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by svHyLyte View Post
If you don't like the rules of the game, don't play.
That's good advice. I think I'll follow it, as others have....

Participation in sailing is declining in America, down more than 40% since 1997 and 70% since 1979.


Saving Sailing - The Story of Choices, Families, Time Commitments, and How We Can Create a Better Future: Nicholas D. Hayes: 9781933987071: Amazon.com: Books Saving Sailing - The Story of Choices, Families, Time Commitments, and How We Can Create a Better Future: Nicholas D. Hayes: 9781933987071: Amazon.com: Books


07-26-2013 11:28 AM
svHyLyte
Re: Autopilot while racing

Quote:
Originally Posted by SailingJackson View Post
It would certainly get you nowhere since there is either a commonly held interpretation of the rule which is based on a poor understanding of engineering and physics, or perhaps the rule makers have a clear intent but they didn't know how to word it. Fact remains that the rule as written does not preclude automatic control per se. Never the less, there's no point in attempting it since it would simply piss off other people and any protest would win.

The majority of RRS seems totally archaic and arbitrary in their selection of which technologies that can be used and which cannot. Why allow GPS in offshore sailing? Isn't celestial navigation a classic sailing skill that needs to be involved? Sailors can use satellite photos for weather, GPS navigation, endless instrumentation, and enough technology to fly a space shuttle, but they cannot use a simplistic device to keep the boat running in a straight line.
If you don't like the rules of the game, don't play.
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