This week in Newport, Rhode Island, the AC45 catamarans mixed it up in Newport Harbor, an area saturated with America’s Cup history. With the extensive on-shore viewing facilities and monstrous catamarans, this was an America’s Cup event for the books. We joined a behind-the-scenes tour to see just how they make the magic come to life.
The Series complex itself is massive, covering the area around and inside of Fort Adams State Park with racing in the harbor. The circus-like extravaganza gets transported from stopover to stopover using multiple containers on board a chartered ship. It takes approximately one week to set up and another to take it all down.
More emphasis is being placed on televised accessibility than ever before. During this Series, 90 technicians and editors work around the clock to bring live coverage of the racing to viewers through local, national and YouTube stations.
To see just how good they are, we asked the guys to queue up the footage of the day’s notorious capsize. It took them less than 10 seconds.
Part of what makes the viewing experience so rich is that every boat is equipped with cameras and microphones so viewers can experience the race from a sailor’s perspective. The apparatus on the left is fastened to a hull and connected to WiFi; the orange and yellow boxes hold wires that complete reception; the grey box is used to select cameras and angles; the camera itself sits on the far right. It can be made to pan and zoom from a remote location using the grey box.
Here’s a look at Liveline, the technology that won Stan Honey and friends a recent Emmy Award. The technology utilizes triangulation between helicopters, on-water cameras and on-shore cameras to broadcast the boat and course positions within 10 centimeters of accuracy. The flashing lights let skippers know when they’re nearing the edge of a course or have earned a penalty. Just across from this container, four umpires judge the races using this televised technology.
In all, there are 120 container ships that hold the contents of the Series. Here on Sailing Team Row, each team sets up shop. Larger teams like Fly Emirates will have three containers for their boat, teammates and provisions, while smaller ones like Team Korea will just have one or two.
Inside the Fly Emirates compound, the team is hard at work repairing the sail from the day’s capsize.
It’s hard to tell from the photo but, yes, that is an AC-branded crane. The Series does everything it can to be a self-sufficient operation.
They even have their own sail loft. To save space, all teams share one loft. Check out that Mylar sewing machine!
Racing may be done, but for these guys, the night’s just begun. Team New Zealand gets to work repairing their wing sail.