Scarponi, Matteo, Shenoi, R. Ajit, Turnock, Stephen R. and Conti, Paolo
A combined ship science-behavioural science approach to create a winning yacht-sailor combination
At The 18th Chesapeake Sailing Yacht Symposium.
02 - 03 Mar 2007.
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The challenge of racing one-design yachts is to
maximize the performance of the yacht within the scope
allowed by the relevant regulations. Such tuning of the
yacht, for a well-policed rule, should only make possible
small gains. The main area of possible performance gain is
in how best an individual sailor or crew can fine tune their
racing strategy. The ability to model such strategic
decisions requires an understanding of both the physical
behaviour of the yacht and how an individual sailor makes
The present study seeks to predict the performances
of a yacht-crew system as a whole by deriving numerical
models for human behaviour alongside those referring to
the physics of yacht motion. The former aspect, a
transposition of athletes' psychology within the racing
scene, is investigated by means of questionnaires
submitted to skilled athletes and structured interviews with
sailing coaches. The latter issue, the mechanical side of the
problem, is analysed by solving yacht equations of motions
in the time domain; crew inputs in terms of yacht steering
and sail trim are considered. The paper presents results
from simulations in which the yacht-crew system can sail a
racecourse in an arbitrary wind pattern, according to
strategic and tactical rules derived by common practice and following the decision making schemata obtained above.
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