View Full Version : Dress Rehearsals For Americas Cup

PD Staff
04-20-2011, 04:52 PM

In preparation for the 2011 America’s Cup World Series, which kicks off this August in Cascais, Portugal and features stops in Plymouth, UK and San Diego, event organizers will stage on and off the water dress rehearsals in Auckland April 26-29 and May 2-6.

“We want to put the fans right at the heart of the television programming, so this test phase will enable us to bring that vision to life,” said Craig Thompson, CEO, America’s Cup Event Authority. “We are looking forward to the opportunity to give our onboard cameras and graphics systems a thorough test with the athletes and the AC45s as we work towards transforming the way people watch the sport of sailing."

These test periods will focus on reviewing all of the courses, support systems and management procedures necessary to stage each AC World Series event and provide a superior experience for both the teams and spectators worldwide.


“There's a lot of innovation that's been proposed for the America's Cup World Series events with the race courses, the umpiring systems, the onboard equipment, and the television coverage,” said Iain Murray, Regatta Director and CEO of America’s Cup Race Management. “Over the next two weeks we’ll be testing our thinking in these areas, to make sure we’re on the right track now, so that come the first ACWS event in Cascais this August, we’re ready to put on a great show with spectacular racing.”

At the conclusion of each week’s test period, event organizers will host a media briefing to discuss insights, learnings and progress. Briefing details to come.

Led by America’s Cup Race Management (ACRM), the first test session will include race course configurations that enable tight, tactical racing as well as umpiring and race management that allows for instant calls during fast-paced competition. Five AC45 catamarans, crewed by America’s Cup teams, are expected to participate.

The second session, led by the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA), will provide the first test of the next-generation broadcast images and graphics that change the way people will watch sailing on television. Six AC45s, with America’s Cup crews, are expected to participate.

ACRM testing: April 26 - 29
ACEA broadcast and graphics testing: May 2 - 6
Testing on Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand
Media briefings to be hosted at 101 Halsey Street in the Viaduct, Auckland, New Zealand

04-21-2011, 11:32 AM
This will provide a good preview of the things to come for AC34. Looking forward to seeing some of Stan's work.

Old Codger
04-21-2011, 12:58 PM
Are they going to broadcast any of these tests? No mention of it at the http://www.americascup.com/news/ site.

PD Staff
04-21-2011, 05:11 PM
Are they going to broadcast any of these tests? No mention of it at the http://www.americascup.com/news/ site.

Good question. We will send in a query and advise!

04-21-2011, 05:37 PM
Are they going to broadcast any of these tests? No mention of it at the http://www.americascup.com/news/ site.

Not sure if they're going to broadcast anything because it is a test, but I thought I read somewhere that they would publish samples of the results depending on how everything goes.

04-21-2011, 05:42 PM
Not sure if they're going to broadcast anything because it is a test, but I thought I read somewhere that they would publish samples of the results depending on how everything goes.

Kind of related (from SButt) -

Stan Honey and his team have developed cool technology that will change the
way that will make it way easier to enjoy, and for non-sailors, understand
sailboat racing. Also, I understand that America's Cup TV has commissioned
Sunset+Vine/APP to produce 98 weekly magazine programs between now and
September 2013, where Cup events such as the World Series will feature in a
weekly television program about the event, teams and personalities.

PD Staff
04-21-2011, 09:59 PM
That's a negative on broadcasting, however they will make video available each week, to be posted at http://www.americascup.com/

04-21-2011, 10:18 PM
Thanks for checking on that - I'll be sure to check it out to see the latest developments.

Old Codger
04-22-2011, 06:52 AM
That's a negative on broadcasting, however they will make video available each week, to be posted at http://www.americascup.com/

Thank you.

I'm a little surprised that they aren't testing the entire chain to the end by live streaming some of the sessions. Missed opportunities....

PD Staff
04-25-2011, 04:37 PM
© Gilles Martin-Raget / www.americascup.com

© Gilles Martin-Raget / www.americascup.com

After a deluge of rain on Monday, the skies have cleared - somewhat - in Auckland this morning, with initial forecasts for big breeze.

Despite that, Day 1 of the ACRM test session is going ahead. And 'test' seems to be the operative word here.

There's a palpable sense of the pioneering being applied to these two weeks in Auckland as the teams and race management work together to, as Regatta Director Iain Murray put it in an interview, 'transform sailing'.

This first week, the focus is on the race management side of things. Everything from Umpiring, to the new Racing Rules of Sailing - America's Cup edition, to new race course configurations, are being tested.

The aim is to learn what works, identify what doesn't and feed that back into the plan for the first America's Cup World Series event in Cascais in August.

"It is a blank piece of paper," Murray said this morning. "There are so many moving parts, that we really do need to test. We don't know how all of these things are going to work...

"We need to get out on the race course and watch and see and learn and get feedback to work on it... We have the next two weeks to make big inroads."

The logistics team began putting AC45s in the water shortly after 0800 this morning.

Initial forecasts this morning were for building winds throughout the day, rising to upwards of 30 knots, but at 0930, the wind was much lighter than forecast, so the race management team, led by PRO John Craig, is hoping to get a productive day of work in.

We'll have more after sailing today


PD Staff
04-26-2011, 10:09 AM

The day's debrief after day one of the America's Cup test session in New Zealand. See some blog video highlights of the day - direct from the chaseboat - and hear ORACLE Racing skipper James Spithill talk about his capsize.

©Gilles Martin-Raget

Day 1 of the New Zealand test event showed the promise and potential of the upcoming America's Cup World Series as five AC45s braved gusty, blustery and variable conditions on the waters off Auckland on Tuesday.

ACRM's Race Committee team was able to test several race course configurations as well as the new Umpire system in conditions that ranged from 22-25 knots to a period when the wind dropped below 5 knots, with everything in between.

The strongest conditions came at the beginning and end of the day, and it was during and after the final start sequence of the afternoon when most of the action came.

©Gilles Martin-Raget

First, the ACRM AC45 nearly capsized moments before the start, but made a remarkable recovery near the pin end.

Moments later, Emirates Team New Zealand had the misfortune of getting the start mark entangled on their leeward rudder. As the boat slowed, the Kiwis too nearly capsized, before eventually freeing themselves.

All of this foreshadowed the main event - ORACLE Racing, skippered by Jimmy Spithill, and fighting hard for position on the downwind leg, buried its bows and rolled into a capsize.

©Gilles Martin-Raget

"We were pushing really, really hard," Spithill explained. "We ended up having a capsize, we just weren't quite set up right for that run. But it was a good experience. I think everyone will go through this... I don't think it will be the last time."

No one was injured in any of the incidents today and the ORACLE Racing boat suffered minor damage to the wing. But Spithill expects to be sailing again on Wednesday.

On the race management side, Regatta Director Iain Murray also declared the day a success.

©Gilles Martin-Raget

"I think it's fair to say we tested a lot of things and found some we need to work on further, but at the end of the day we've brought together a bunch of teams as well as a whole lot of new systems and that's what it's all about. Generally our equipment worked and everyone is now getting familiar with it," Murray said.

"I think the teams learned a lot as well. The teams pushed it about as far as they need to push it today but everyone lives to sail another day and we'll be out there again tomorrow.

"All in all a good day."

Buzz Light Beer
04-26-2011, 10:21 AM
Looks like they had a great day. Cold but great!

Good to see they can capsize without snapping the rig.

04-26-2011, 09:23 PM
Good to see they can capsize without snapping the rig.
Agree, the rig is in one piece for the most part, good news.

Old Codger
04-27-2011, 09:24 AM
"Dress Rehearsals Are Going Swimmingly!"
To the person that came up with this title. Thank you.

PD Staff
04-27-2011, 12:03 PM

A concise video of the latest from Auckland, Stan shows a glimpse of the secret black box, the unit he's been working on to make the magic happen!

PD Staff
04-29-2011, 02:43 PM
Terry Hutchinson, skipper, Artemis Racing, gives his assessment on the week at the America's Cup test event in Auckland

The focus turned to match racing at the Auckland test sessions today. Under sunny skies for the first time, the Race Committee tested different course lengths and configurations, while the sailors quickly worked out how to match race the AC45s.

In fact, it didn't take long at all before the sailors were pulling out all the moves we're accustomed to seeing in the America's Cup. There were pre-start dial-ups, luffing matches and downspeed gybes approaching the the leeward gate as years of match racing instincts took over and were quickly applied via the new multihull weapons.

"It happens at a higher speed, but that's ok. We raced against both ORACLE boats today and had a good day against them," said Artemis skipper Terry Hutchinson. "They're very well polished... so it's nice to be competitive with them.

And Terry's overall reaction to the changes he's seen implemented over the week to date?

"It's all been pretty good... It's short and sharp and physical and intense. It's exciting times!"

There will be no sailing over the weekend but the tests are scheduled to resume on Monday.

PD Staff
04-29-2011, 04:49 PM

Dialing Up on the AC 45's

While the action was exciting to watch, it was a drain on the crews. The races lasted between 15 and 20 minutes around the windward/leeward course, and the crews rarely had a breather

“It’s a really tough boat to sail,” said ORACLE Racing bowman Piet van Nieuwenhuyzen. “Everything is big and the apparent windspeed is high.

©Gilles Martin-Raget

“The hard jobs are grinding and pulling the sheets,” van Nieuwenhuyzen continued. “A lot of different people are doing those jobs. Because there’s so much happening and the boat is so wide you can’t be in the right place at the right time, you have to do the job that’s in front of you. We’re all filling in for each other and that makes it more difficult.”

The dynamic movement of the AC45 adds another layer of complexity. A displacement monohull is predictable in its acceleration and deceleration, but not so for the AC45.

“The whole platform moves around so much that you struggle to stay on your feet,” said van Nieuwenhuyzen. “If you take a tumble you have to get back up and finish the job.”

©Gilles Martin Raget

So what’s the telltale sign that all’s well on the yacht?

“If we’re hiking out that means all’s going well,” van Nieuwenhuyzen said. “If we have a chance to sit down, we’re in good shape.”

Four crews took part in today’s action on the Hauraki Gulf, sailed in winds between 10 and 16 knots. The results weren’t as important as the action. There were lead changes, luffing matches and plenty of heavy breathing among the crews, who were sprinting the whole way around the track.

No boats capsized today, but coming around the windward mark in full-on hot mode with the gennaker drawing sent the leeward bow under water for a moment before it popped out and the cat sped off.

Two interesting notes: in one start sequence a crew tacked twice on the line within 30 seconds of the start and thanks to the wingsail got away in decent shape, if a tad behind. That would be impossible in a monohull, but once air flows around the wingsail the catamaran is launched.

Also, the AC45s seem able to live on the windward quarter of a leeward yacht. In monohulls, that position brought a slow death to the windward yacht. But today, the windward AC45 was able to live on the leeward yacht’s quarter for an extended time. Once again it seems due to the wingsail, which spills a lot of disturbed air to leeward through the slot between the front and aft element rather than off the leech of the sail.

PD Staff
05-03-2011, 02:06 PM

ORACLE Racing tactician John Kostecki describes what's been happening on the water today,
during the Race Management and Television Trials which are happening this week in Auckland, New Zealand


ORACLE Racing teammembers Simeon Tienpont, Philippe Presti, John Kostecki and James Spithill
recap the ACRM pre-season trials in Auckland. Also, Arthur Spithill, James' father, and John Bertrand,
the 1983 America's Cup-winning skipper, discuss what it's like to sail aboard the AC45 and its
significance to the America's Cup