Factors Affecting Ocean Racing Yacht Performance

This questionnaire is part of a study on combining a behavioural model with  a Race Modelling Program for an M.Sc. thesis at Southampton University (UK).  The degree is part of the MTEC programme, involving study at University College, London and at Newcastle, Strathclyde, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Southampton Universities.  The intention is to explore the area of psychological effects on ocean yacht racing performance:  what factors might be relevant to how the boat is sailed and to what extent, and how these factors in turn might be influenced to improve the performance of the sailor-yacht combination.

Please indicate, below, what factors you consider to have a significant affect on the way an ocean racing boat is sailed.  Type a number from "1" (most important) to "4" (less important) next to any factor you consider significantPlease mark as many factors as you wish, and if there are factors not listed here that you think are relevant, please list them in the spaces towards the foot of the form, give them a number, then write a quick description (if not obvious) at the bottom of the form.  You can click on any underlined factor to get a definition (not necessarily the only definition, but the one used for the purpose of this study).  Click on "submit" when you've finished.  Many thanks!

Name .................................  

Email .................................

Experience:

Agility................................ Co-ordination ............................
Decision-making skill ....... Reaction Time ...........................
Physical Fatigue................ Preparation ................................
Movement speed .............. Perceptual skill ..........................
Crew Synergy ...................  Training...................................... 
Fitness ..............................   Mood .........................................
Morale  .............................  Stamina  .....................................
Trust  ................................ Emotion .....................................
Motivation  ......................  Personality .................................
Leadership   .....................   Management of Expectations ....
Experience ....................... Mental Fatigue ...........................
Attitude to Risk ...............  Intelligent Improvisation ............
Diet ..................................  Complementary Skills ................
Stress ............................... Physical strength ........................
Comfort .......................... Resistance to seasickness ..........

Short descriptions of any new factors added:

 

                                                                                                          

 

 

 

 

 

Definitions

Attitude to Risk:  (Wikipaedia)  In engineering, the definition of risk is: 

                                 (probability of an accident) x (losses per accident)

How much are the crew willing to risk to win?  How realistic is their assessment of the risk in a particular situation?

Complementary Skills:  This refers to the value of having a crew with skills that are mutually complementary - and can work together as a team in facing challenges. 

Crew Synergy:  "Complementary Skills" is having the physical skills necessary to go together, synergy is more fitting together psychologically so that the team is more than the sum of its parts.

Diet:  From the point of view of enjoying meals, as well as the scientific provision of the calories and nutrients required to do the job.  

Emotion:  A similar factor to mood and temperament, but (see changingminds.org) "  Temperament, mood and emotion are three distinct feeling-states, differentiated by time.

Emotions can be positive or negative, giving pleasure or discomfort. The feeling can be slight or intense. It can also last for a shorter or longer period.  Emotions as commonly experienced and discussed are different from moods and temperament in several ways.

First, emotions tend to last for much shorter periods. The delight at being given a birthday present may subside in minutes as it is replaced by disappointment about a useless gift. Emotions thus tend to replace one another and it can be difficult to be both happy and sad (although we may have a good go at it).

Emotions also tend to be more extreme than moods and temperament, with higher highs and lower lows. We can become very angry very quickly, though it is difficult to stay very angry and it may subside into a irritable mood or be replaced by another completely different emotions.

Emotions tend to be very specific, triggered by noticeable events and are immediate reactions to these and which drive us to particular actions, for example running away from a snarling dog or going to chat up an attractive other person.

Ortony and Turner (1990) collated a wide range of research on identification of basic emotions.

Theorist Basic Emotions
Plutchik Acceptance, anger, anticipation, disgust, joy, fear, sadness, surprise
Arnold Anger, aversion, courage, dejection, desire, despair, fear, hate, hope, love, sadness
Ekman, Friesen, and Ellsworth Anger, disgust, fear, joy, sadness, surprise
Frijda Desire, happiness, interest, surprise, wonder, sorrow
Gray Rage and terror, anxiety, joy
Izard Anger, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, guilt, interest, joy, shame, surprise
James Fear, grief, love, rage
McDougall Anger, disgust, elation, fear, subjection, tender-emotion, wonder
Mowrer Pain, pleasure
Oatley and Johnson-Laird Anger, disgust, anxiety, happiness, sadness
Panksepp Expectancy, fear, rage, panic
Tomkins Anger, interest, contempt, disgust, distress, fear, joy, shame, surprise
Watson Fear, love, rage
Weiner and Graham Happiness, sadness

 

Experience

Fitness

Intelligent Improvisation:  The capacity for "lateral thinking" to solve a problem in a new and potentially winning way.

Leadership (Wikipaedia)  One of the differentiating factors between Management and Leadership is the ability or even necessity to inspire. A Leader, one who can instill passion and direction to an individual or group of individuals, will be using psychology to affect that group either consciously or subconsciously.

Those who seem to be "Natural Leaders" and effectively inspire groups without really knowing the strategies or tactics used are considered Charismatic Leaders. The conscious Leader on the other hand applies a variety of psychological tactics that affect the "reactions" of a group to the environment they exist in.

In numerous "directive" (meaning to willfully direct as opposed to unconsciously do) organizational psychology disciplines that deal with Leadership and theories like “The ripple effect” by Sigal Barsade, and Directive Communication by Arthur carmazzi, leadership is a product of awareness and command of the reactions and influences of a group on the individual as well as the individual on the group. A Leader's successful application of directive organizational psychology by modifying specific consistent behaviors towards the group, will yield changes in the Organizational culture. the Level of passion and efficiency that is developed in the culture will be determined by the emotional drive fulfilled though a directive leader's ability to create a greater purpose with the group.

Studies of leadership have suggested qualities that people often associate with leadership. They include:

Management of Expectations:  Linked with motivation.  What do the crew hope to get out of the race?  Is this expectation realistic?  Will it help you win?

Mental Fatigue

Mood:  (changingminds.org)   Moods are shorter-term emotional states, typically lasting hours, although they can last for days or longer. For example you may wake up feeling a bit down and stay that way for most of the day.

We can be sent into a mood by an unexpected event, from the happiness of seeing an old friend to the anger of discovering betrayal by a partner. We may also just fall into a mood.

Medical conditions such as depression are not really moods and are typically caused by a chemical imbalance in the brain. Moods can be caused by shorter-term chemical imbalances, for example brought on by a poor diet.

Morale:   (www.yourdictionary.com)  Mental condition with respect to courage, discipline, confidence, enthusiasm, willingness to endure hardship, etc. within a group, in relation to a group, or within an individual

Motivation:  (motivation-for-dreamers.com) Motivation is simply 
- The reason for an action
- That which gives purpose and direction to behaviour.
Motivation is “WHAT drives you” to behave in a certain way or to take a particular action. It is your WHY. 
MOTIVATION IS YOUR ”WHY” 
Your WHY is the strong reason for you to desire something. It is not what you desire, but the strong reason you desire it. Let me give an example. If you want to stop working and go into business for yourself here are some possible explanations: 
Your desire – to have your own business.
Your WHY – to be independent, to have more time for your family, to have more time to pursue your dreams. 
So you see that your WHY often goes beyond the physical objectives themselves. Your why often satisfies a psychological need. That is important. If your reason for doing something is just material (e.g. to own a Mercedes or have a huge house), it is unlikely to see you through the difficult times to achieving your dreams. 
Your WHY has to look beyond the physical. It has to be from deep within. That way when the going gets tough, your WHY will see you through it because it is a strong, burning reason. It is a reason that will stand strong in the face of opposition.

Personality:   In answers.com, "The totality of qualities and traits, as of character or behavior, that are peculiar to a specific person."  Personality is often described by means of the OCEAN, or five-factors, model.   These factors are (www.thefreedictionary.com) :

Physical Fatigue

Preparation

Stamina  (www.thefreedictionary.com)  Physical or moral strength to resist or withstand illness, fatigue, or hardship; endurance.

Temperament:  (changingminds.org) Temperament is associated with your personality. It is something you are born with or acquire young and seldom change. Some people have a sunny disposition whilst others are always nervous or irritable.

Temperament thus lasts for the duration. It is a lifetime platform on which moods and emotions occur. If your temperament is negative, being happy may seem better to you, but it may yet be lower than the everyday median of a naturally optimistic person.

Temperaments are often vague, diffuse emotions, which may be contrasted with the more distinct mood and very specific emotions. In this way, we may well not notice our temperaments.

Temperament can be based on beliefs, which does hold out hope. Examine what you believe: What long-term emotional state does it lead to? What if you believed something else?

Training

Trust:  (www.thefreedictionary.comFirm reliance on the integrity, ability, or character of a person or thing.

(changingminds.org) Trust is both and emotional and logical act. Emotionally, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities to people, but believing they will not take advantage of your openness. Logically, it is where you have assessed the probabilities of gain and loss, calculating expected utility based on hard performance data, and concluded that the person in question will behave in a predictable manner. In practice, trust is a bit of both. I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness and because I have faith in human nature.

We feel trust. Emotions associated with trust include companionship, friendship, love, agreement, relaxation, comfort.

There are a number of different ways we can define trust. Here are the dimensions of trust and consequent definitions.

-     Predictability

It is a normal part of the human condition to be constantly forecasting ahead. We build internal models of the world based both on our experiences and what others tell us, and then use these to guess what will happen next. This allows us to spot and prepare for threats and also make plans to achieve our longer-term goals.

The greatest unpredictability is at 50%; a reliable enemy can be preferable to an unpredictable friend, as at least we know where we are with them.

Definition 1: Trust means being able to predict what other people will do and what situations will occur. If we can surround ourselves with people we trust, then we can create a safe present and an even better future.

-   Value exchange

Most of what we do with other people is based around exchange, which is the basis for all businesses as well as simple relationships. At its simplest, it is exchange of goods. I will swap you two sheep for one cow. It is easy to calculate the value in such material bargaining. Things get more complex when less tangible forces come into play. A parent exchanges attention for love. A company exchanges not only pay but good working conditions for the intellectual and manual efforts of its workforce.

Value exchange works because we each value things differently. If I have a whole flock of sheep but no milk, then I can do business with a person who has a herd of cows but no clothes. This principle of reciprocity is what binds societies together.

Trust in value exchange occurs when we do not know fully whether what we are receiving is what we expect. When we buy a car, don’t want to be sold a ringer which the seller knows is faulty. When I get advice in business, I want it to be based on facts, not wild opinions.

Definition 2: Trust means making an exchange with someone when you do not have full knowledge about them, their intent and the things they are offering to you.

-   Delayed reciprocity

Exchange is not just about an immediate swapping of cows and sheep or hugs and kisses. What makes companies and societies really work is that something is given now, but the return is paid back some time in the future. The advantage of this is that we can create a more flexible environment, where you can get what you need when you need it, rather than having to save up for it.

Trust now becomes particularly important, because otherwise we are giving something for nothing. The delay we have placed in the reciprocal arrangement adds a high level of uncertainty which we need to mitigate through trust.

What is often called the ‘golden rule’ is a simple formula for creating trust. ‘Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.’ It sets up the dynamic for my giving you something now with the hope of getting back some unspecified thing in the indeterminate future.

Definition 3: Trust means giving something now with an expectation that it will be repaid, possibly in some unspecified way at some unspecified time in the future.

-   Exposed vulnerabilities

When we trust other people, we may not only be giving them something in hope of getting something else back in the future, we may also be exposing ourselves in a way that they can take advantage of our vulnerabilities. If I buy a car from you and I do not know a good price, you can lie to me so you get a better bargain. If I tell you in confidence about the problems I am having with work, you could use this to further your own career at my expense.

Although the threat of retribution or projected feelings of guilt can counteract your temptation to abuse my exposed vulnerabilities, if you succumb I still get hurt and may still end up with the shorter stick. For our transaction to complete successfully, I must be able to trust that such agonies will not come to pass.

Definition 4: Trust means enabling other people to take advantage of your vulnerabilities—but expecting that they will not do this.