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America's Cup- Competitors Forum Media Conference + Video + Full Audio

by Richard Gladwell on 30 Apr 2011
AC regatta Director, Iain Murray, flanked by PRO John Craig shows the box to be carried on board the AC45’s and 72’s to communicate between boats and umpires. Richard Gladwell www.photosport.co.nz

Another America's Cup Competitors Forum was held in Auckland today. Sail-World understands it was attended by 14 of the 15 teams entered, with about eight in physical attendance and others participating by phone in.

Following the Forum, designed to allow the Challengers and Defender to discuss issues and concepts relating to the the 34th America's Cup, a Media Conference was held in the America's Cup Regatta Management facility in Auckland.

America's Cup Regatta Director, Iain Murray and Principal race Officer, John Craig, fronted the small gathering of local sailing media and several international media on phone for the session late this afternoon.

Much of the discussion centred around the Trials for regatta management and media (TV) being run this week and next off Auckland's North Head, in the race area used for the Louis Vuitton Trophy Races last year and in 2009.

The concept of the use of virtual boundaries to delimit the race area was outlined, and one of the communications boxes complete with screen and buttons was shown.

The idea is that rather than use gates or buoys in the course to stop the two yachts getting too far apart or 'corner banging' that a virtual course shape will be superimposed over the real race area creating a 'field of play'.

No specific numbers were given as to measurements however John Craig surmised that in San Francisco they have a course length of over 4.25 miles and would probably have a 700 metre wide sailing sideline.

Competitors would be advised of their proximity to the sideline by an on board display close to the tactician and skipper.

Below the screen are a series of four coloured buttons which indicate various calls from the skipper, including a call for room to tack, as the sideline is considered to be an obstruction under the Racing Rules, and a yacht cannot be forced over the sideline by another competitor.

Crossing the sideline unwittingly, will render the competitor liable to a four length penalty which are prescribed in the special race rules for the America's Cup.

Umpiring for the racing will be done in the first instance by umpires sitting in a booth ashore and looking at screens and readouts from the boats, they will communicate decisions back to the boats via the on board screen and a text message.

Backing the virtual system will be two umpires on jetskis who will be in audio communication with the on-shore match umpires, providing on the water input and clarification, but not making decisions.

Spectators will see the regular TV feed, the Umpires feed, on board feeds, audio feeds and will according to Murray will see more than the crews.

Below is the full media conference in a five part video (moderate resolution) so you should be able to watch it without interruption due to buffering issues. Most of the session is a question and answer session - but one of the on board communications boxes is demonstrated - these form the competitor end of the remote umpiring system (RUS) being trialled and developed over the next two weeks.

The media session covered a range of issues, including the way RUS will work, courses in San Francisco, dates and formats for the America's Cup and Louis Vuitton Cups, and safety issues aboard the AC72's given the capsizes with the AC45's.

Also included is a full audio of the media conference which may start automatically the story is opened. If you wish to watch the video - just pause the audio on its bar, and then start the first video - which covers the issues covered at the Competitors Forum earlier in the day.

If you have any difficulties with the audio volume, we suggest you listen through headphones - which will also make the questions more audible. Media present included Peter Montgomery, Keith Taylor, Ivor Wilkins, Richard Gladwell and other NZ media.











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