Please select your home edition
Edition
Bakewell-White Yacht Design

America's Cup- Sit in on the Remote Umpiring System + Video

by Richard Gladwell on 1 May 2011
The remote umpiring system reduces the on the water clutter of two umpire boats - improving the spectacle Gilles Martin-Raget/Oracle Racing.com © http://www.oracleteamusamedia.com/

Sail-World's New Zealand Editor, Richard Gladwell, a former Int Umpire, sat in on the final day of testing for the Remote Umpiring System (RUS?) to be used for the America's Cup World Series and America's Cup itself in the new multihull competition.

Developed to avoid the need for umpires to be chasing the competitors at speeds of up to 35 knots and making decisions, the on screen system effectively slows down the action and enables very accurate calls to be made.

Developed by the team lead by top navigator, and Sportvision founder, Stan Honey, the RUS is accurate to within 200mm and runs with a second or two's latency, which is not significant.

Two on the water umpires are on jetskis following the action and providing on the water input if required.

The umpires sit in front of four screens, the most left hand one, currently displays speed and direction data so umpires can check if boats are slowing down or changing direction - verifying what they are seeing on screen in this test phase.


The two main screens are driven by the umpires and in our visit were used in a zoom and high level mode, so the umpires could see the action close up, but also see where the boats were on the course.

GPS is used to position boats, marks and start finish lines, and track the progress of the boats, which are shown on the screens as scale oblongs (reflecting the catamaran shape) - which can be seen in the video clip to move on screen.

Another innovation on RUS is the use of a virtual field of play, which is a shape imposed over the race area within which the competitors must sail. The competitors get an onboard warning as to their proximity to the virtual sideline and are penalised if they cross the line - as Oracle Racing's Jimmy Spithill does in the clip.

A third umpire runs the fourth screen/laptop which is used to communicate with the competitors' onboard systems via a text message - which show on the on-board display.

Additionally there is full VHF communication channels between the on and off the water Umpires and Race Management, so while the umpires can't physically see what is happening on the water they have other eyes working for them, and are well aware of the reality of the racing situation.



Oddly the effect of RUS is to slow down the action for the umpires, who are always in the perfect position to make a call (being directly overhead the boats). The decision making process is very level and considered, and of course the umpires have access to rule books and other information.

Part of the exercise being conducted in Auckland is to refine rules drafted for the event, so part of the discussion between races is to discuss the actual working, how that applies in real life, and what changes could be needed to make the rule work as intended.

Of course, working out where the competitors are relevant to race marks and the three and six boat length zones. No more on the water guessing as to when a boat enters the zone - now the zones are shown on screen, and change colour when a competitor enters into the zone and mark rounding and obstruction rules take effect.

Next week the trials will continue, with the umpiring system continuing to be used, but now with the TV systems also being tested - we'll catch up with those developments later in the week.


Our verdict?

Very impressive - given the time that has been available and that the system is still under development and refinement. Overall we would have a lot more confidence that the right decisions were being made, and that the accuracy of calls was much higher than under the on the water system.

What is now a very good system, can only get better. Sure there are issues if there is a system freeze, but this will reduce as the system is refined, and control can be handed back to the on the water umpires at any time, if need be.

We're impressed at how this system works in real time, and of course it has the big advantage of getting umpire boats out of the way of the TV cameras, so for the viewer the on screen clutter is reduced - making for a much better view of the racing in these exciting boats.

PredictWind.com 2014Bakewell-White Yacht DesignMackay Boats

Related Articles

A Q&A with US Sailing’s Malcolm Page about the Sailing World Cup Miami
I spoke with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s Olympic chief, about the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami I talked with Malcolm Page (AUS), a two-time Olympic gold medalist in the Men’s 470 class and the chief of Olympic sailing at US Sailing, to get his pulse on the team’s performance at the 2017 Sailing World Cup Miami and discuss some recent coaching changes within the Olympic-sailing program.
Posted on 20 Feb
America's Cup - Emirates Team NZ give first look at the pedaling AC50
Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. Emirates Team New Zealand formally christened their new AC50 America's Cup Challenger on a rainy Auckland afternoon. The team has been sailing for the previous two days making news headlines after it was revealed in Sail-World.com that the AC50 would become only the second yacht in America's Cup history to use pedal power.
Posted on 16 Feb
America's Cup - Kiwis sign Olympic Cyclist for the Tour de Bermuda
Ttop cyclist Simon van Velthooven, a 2012 Olympic Bronze cycling medallist had been signed by the America's Cup team Emirates Team New Zealand put in a second foiling display on Auckland's Waitemata harbour ahead of the official launching of their AC50 tomorrow. With brighter skies the cycling team took their places on the pedalstals and used leg power to provide the hydraulic pressure necessary to run the AC50's control systems for the foils and wingsail.
Posted on 15 Feb
A Q&A with Shawn Macking about the StPYC’s Sailing Center and OD fleet
I talked with Shawn Macking, the StPYC’s waterfront director, to learn how the club is getting more people out sailing. I caught up with Shawn Macking, waterfront director of the St. Petersburg Yacht Club, via email to learn more about the club’s Sailing Center, its hefty investment in a new fleet of ten J/70s, and how the StPYC is using this infrastructure to expose more people to the sport we all love.
Posted on 13 Feb
A Q&A with Karen Angle about the 2017 Conch Republic Cup race to Cuba
I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event. If you’re like me and have arrived at saturation with winter’s cold rain and snow, imagine racing to Cuba as part of a 13-day cross-cultural event that’s designed to lower barriers of entry at a time when some Americans see a need for taller walls. I caught up with Karen Angle, executive director of the Conch Republic Cup, to learn more about this exciting event and the adventures it affords.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Anna Tunnicliffe about her return to competitive sailing
I talked with Anna Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing. Anna Tunnicliffe won gold at the Beijing 2008 Olympics in the Laser Radial before shifting her sights to the Women’s Match Racing event for the London 2012 Olympics. Here, she came up shy of expectation and left sailing for the CrossFit Games, but now she is returning to her roots. I talked with Tunnicliffe before the Sailing World Cup Miami to learn about her return to Olympic-class sailing.
Posted on 23 Jan
A Q&A with Dick Neville, Quantum Key West Race Week’s RC chairman
I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for the Quantum Key West Race Week, to learn more about the event. For the past 30 years, international sailors have gathered in Key West, Florida, each January for Key West Race Week, a regatta that has achieved legendary status due to its calendar dates, its location, and the impressive level of competition and racecourse management that this storied event offers. I caught up with Dick Neville, Race Committee chair for this year’s Quantum KWRW, to learn more.
Posted on 16 Jan
A Q&A with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Race’s new deputy race director
I talked with Daniel Smith, the Clipper Round The World Race’s new deputy race director, to learn more about his role. I was fortunate to sail with Daniel Smith [36, SCO], skipper of “Derry~Londonderry~Doire” for the 2015/2016 edition of the Clipper Round The World Race, when the fleet reached Seattle last spring. Now, Smith has been hired as the event’s deputy race director-a job that will test many of the skills that he polished as a skipper. I caught up with Smith via email to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 9 Jan
Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race - Suck it up, sunshine!
The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour The 72nd start of the iconic blue water classic had 300,000 spectators lining the foreshores of Sydney Harbour, another two million watching on TV, and the constant buzz and whir of media helicopters overhead. 88 boats, from Australia, USA, UK, Germany, Sweden, Russia, Japan, Korea, China, oh and New Zealand, had lined up on three start lines.
Posted on 31 Dec 2016
Rolex Sydney Hobart Race - More merriment on the airwaves
Here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and Hobart Race Control So on December 29, 2016, after the River Derwent had let just three boats home (Perpetual Loyal, Giacomo and Scallywag, all inside the old race record, she went to sleep for a lot of the day. This made it frustrating for the sailors, some of whom saw the lighter side. So after seeing some of those in Dark & Stormy, here are more examples of merriment on the airwaves between the boats and HRC
Posted on 29 Dec 2016