Please select your home edition
Edition
Ancasta Ker 33 728x90

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.

Bakewell-White Yacht DesignBarz Optics - Melanin LensesAncasta Ker 40+ 660x82

Related Articles

The Great Dane dies at 88 + Video
One of the heroes of sailing, Paul Elvstrøm (DEN) has died at the age of 88 years. One of the heroes of sailing, Paul Elvstrøm (DEN) has died at the age of 88 years. Known as the Great Dane, and winner of four Olympic Gold Medals, and many world championships in multiple classes from dinghies to keelboats, Elvstrøm put a footprint on the sport like no other.
Posted on 7 Dec
A Q&A with Olympic champ Malcolm Page about his new job at US Sailing
I recently talked with Malcolm Page, US Sailing’s newly hired Chief of Olympic Sailing, to learn more about his new job. Malcolm Page (AUS; 44) is a hyper-talented Men’s 470 sailor who won two Olympic gold medals (2008 and 2012) sailing with two different skippers, as well as seven World Championship titles, and who has long studied under the legendary Ukrainian coach Victor Kovalenko. I recently talked with Page, who was just hired as US Sailing’s new Chief of Olympic Sailing, to learn more about his new job.
Posted on 5 Dec
America's Cup - Kiwi lodges Appeal against Jury in San Francisco Cup
Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case Former Oracle Team USA crew member, Matthew Mitchell (NZL) has lodged an Appeal against a Decision to dismiss his case taken against the International Jury for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco. On October 28, 2016, US District Judge Vince Chhabria dismissed Mitchell's claim against the five-person International Jury on the basis that it was lodged too late.
Posted on 2 Dec
A Q&A with Nick Bice about the recent changes for the 2017/2018 VOR
I caught up with Nick Bice, the VOR’s director of boats and maintenance, to learn more about the VOR’s new directions. I recently had the pleasure of hearing Nick Bice, the Volvo Ocean Race’s director of boats and maintenance, deliver a keynote speech to an audience of marine-industry professionals and official Volvo Ocean Race suppliers at the 2016 METS trade show in Amsterdam. I caught up with Bice after his presentation to learn more about the new directions that the race is taking for its thirteenth edition.
Posted on 28 Nov
A Q&A with Sharon Green about the prep work that ensures great images
I talked with ace photographer Sharon Green to learn more about the prep work that goes into each image that she snaps. I caught up with ace photographer Sharon Green at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn more about the behind-the-scenes preparation work that goes into each image that she snaps. While some of Green’s tips are specific to professional shooters (e.g., helicopter time or juggling multiple camera bodies), plenty of amateur lensmen will be well served to consider Green’s racecourse-proven tips.
Posted on 23 Nov
Dockside with CQS - radical, revamped supermaxi up close
The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday The revamped supermaxi CQS is currently in Auckland's Silo Marina, ahead of her first race on Friday - the White Island Race which will double as Rolex Sydney Hobart Qualifier. Originally the 90ft Nicorette designed by South African Alex Simonis, the new project to upgrade to a 100ft supermaxi has been led by Brett Bakewell-White (NZ) and Bakewell-White Yacht Design.
Posted on 22 Nov
Gladwell's Line - President Croce caught at helm in Perfect Storm
No real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way an eight-year term After a year or more punctuated with issues that should not have happened, it is no real surprise that incumbent President Carlo Croce (ITA) was unseated mid-way through what should have been an eight-year term. Also gone is one of his lieutenants, Chris Atkins (GBR) as Vice President, who remarkably polled 13th out of the 15 candidates.
Posted on 15 Nov
Gladwell's Line -The America's Cup settlement deal
The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the Arbitration Panel is not news The 'News' today that Emirates Team New Zealand has won their case before the America's Cup Arbitration Panel is not new - Sail-World reported the same story in the first and second weeks of September. The Hearing on the amount of compensation to be paid is yet to be held. So far we have been unable to discover a date if indeed one has been set. Maybe next year?
Posted on 11 Oct
Debriefing the 2016 J/70 Worlds with Winning Skipper Joel Ronning
I talked with Joel Ronning after the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds to learn about his team’s win at this high-level regatta. Since its inception in 2012, the J/70 has become the most popular One Design boat in decades, with 1,100+ boats sailing in myriad countries. Some 68 boats from 15 countries arrived on San Francisco Bay last week to determine bragging rights at the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds. I caught up with Joel Ronning to learn more about the Catapult team’s road to becoming the 2016 J/70 World Champions.
Posted on 5 Oct
Rio 2016 - America's Cup champ says Paralympic racing is closest ever
Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar Twice America’s Cup champion, Rick Dodson is extremely impressed with the standard of racing in the three man Sonar keelboat class at the 2016 Paralympics in Rio de Janeiro. The regatta is being held in Guanabara Bay on three of the courses used for the Olympic Sailing Regatta in August.
Posted on 13 Sep