Oracle Racing's The Digest
From Oracle Racing's The Digest...
Welcome, Team Korea
Korea became the newest country to introduce itself to the America’s Cup when the White Tiger Challenge from the Sail Korea Yacht Club in Gyeonggi Province, about 45 km southwest of the capital city, Seoul, was announced last Wednesday, Apr. 6.
Founder of Team Korea is Kim Dong Young, an accomplished sailor and the organizer of one of the biggest prize money sailing events in the world, The Korea Match Cup. Young founded the event in 2008 with a prize purse in excess of US$300,000, making it the richest event on the tour.
The regatta was launched as part of a US$230 million initiative on behalf of the South Korean government to expand and promote the leisure boating industry in Korea, which included the construction of four large-scale marinas.
South Korea is recognized as an emerging market by some lists and marketing opportunities would seem ripe. The country is home to some of the world’s largest companies and industrial conglomerates such as Samsung Electronics, LG and Hyundai Motor, all recognized by Fortune magazine as being among the top 80 companies in the world (based on total revenue), and its estimated GDP of US$1 billion ranks it among the top 15 in the world.
South Korea’s population of some 50 million gives it a huge fan base from which to draw. Young hopes Team Korea and the White Tiger Challenge will boost public interest in the sport of sailing and knowledge of the America’s Cup, and hopes to attract new people to take up sailing as their support for the team grows.
Young acknowledged his team’s lack of experience in Cup sailing, but he has the quiet support of New Zealander Peter Lester, an America’s Cup veteran who sailed aboard the giant monohull KZ-1 in the 1988 match against Stars & Stripes.
But the move to catamarans for the 34th America’s Cup is seen by some as leveling the playing field because the new class of yacht opens up new design possibilities. And the physicality of the boats means a new style of crewwork, one that also is open for development.
“Now it is Korea’s turn to enter this famous competition for the first time, at the start of what will prove to be one of the biggest changes the Cup has ever seen, with these new high speed, radical, wing-sailed catamarans, designed to appeal beyond those already interested in sailing,” says Young. “This is a unique opportunity for us to create excitement around the sport in Korea, and introduce newcomers to the events through the awe-inspiring TV images we expect to see.
“We see this America’s Cup campaign as a learning experience which we can build on for the future, while improving through the regatta series this year,” Young continues. “We have discussions ongoing presently which we hope will provide the necessary resources, sponsorships and long-lasting commitments we desire, and aim to make more announcements shortly in what is proving to be a very exciting time in the ongoing evolution of the America’s Cup.’’
34th America’s Cup Entry List
Potentially 15 teams could partake in the 34th America’s Cup and Louis Vuitton Cup, scheduled for July to September 2013 in San Francisco:
Defender: Oracle Racing (USA)
Challengers: Aleph-Équipe de France
Artemis Racing (Sweden)
Emirates Team New Zealand
Energy Challenge (France)
Mascalzone Latino (Italy, Challenger of Record)
Venezia Challenge (Italy)
Three challengers – Confirmed/Confidential
Two challengers – In vetting process
Stress testing the AC45 (and crew!)
Oracle Racing sailors found themselves on the fine line of disaster last week during a practice sail on a windy Hauraki Gulf. The crew was within moments of pitch-poling their AC45, that is sending the transoms over the bows in a somersault maneuver best left for a 13-year-old pogo stick on a gym mat, when the crew regained control.
Wingsail trimmer Dirk de Ridder, who was riding shotgun in one of the chaseboats, takes up the story.
“We had recently switched crews and the second crew (who’ll remain nameless to protect the guilty) had finished practicing a windward mark rounding,” says de Ridder. “We were sort of under North Head when a puff – must’ve been about 30 or 32 knots – came rolling over the hill.
“Actually, we were very happy afterwards because it didn’t go ‘down the mine’. We’ve done similar things with other 40-footers and had bad results. We’re very happy we could get out of it.
“Nothing was damaged. The wing hit the sideshrouds very hard, but there was no damage. It was a very good day in the end.”
Northern California pair aim to revolutionize TV graphics
The appointment last week of Stan Honey as Director of Technology for the America’s Cup Event Authority puts in place a man who’s combining his avocation of yacht racing with his vocation of technological expertise.
Honey, together with long-time business partner Ken Milnes, is heading a new graphics overlay project that ACEA expects will make the racing easier to understand and comprehend for the mainstream viewer. It will also revolutionize the way the game is umpired.
Milnes and Honey aim to project their affinity for innovative sports broadcast enhancements to America’s Cup viewers through live video graphics rendered on the water from a helicopter.
“I’ve had two careers up until now, one as an electrical engineer developing navigation, tracking, and TV special effects, and the other as a navigator in professional offshore sailing,” said Honey. “Working for ACEA combines my two careers as I will be using both my sailing and technology backgrounds.”
In the 1980s Honey developed the first in-car navigation unit. In the 1990s he founded the company Sportvision that has produced innovations such as the “yellow line” first-down marker for the NFL and an illustrative strike zone for MLB.
Milnes joined Sportvision and invented a precise car-tracking system for NASCAR to track and highlight the many cars during the racing events. All of the innovations were honored with Emmy Awards for technical achievements in the field of television broadcasting.
Sportvision still thrives, and Milnes and Honey have worked on the America’s Cup new technology in partnership with their old firm. Honey was a winning navigator in the Volvo Ocean Race (ABN Amro One, 2005-’06) and also the record-setting navigator aboard Groupama 3, current holder of the Jules Verne Trophy for fastest, crewed, non-stop circumnavigation of the globe, 48 days. For that effort he was named the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year in the U.S.
Luckily for the yachting community, Milnes and Honey’s decades-long friendship has landed the two of them on the frontline of revamping the broadcast enhancements of an America’s Cup race.
If they are successful, no longer will a broadcast producer or director have to cut away from a live picture to illustrate the closeness of the yachts with animation. No longer will viewers watch a close-quarters situation in animation. All of the illustrative techniques that made animation so informative will be laid over the live broadcast. They have to cut away from a close port-starboard crossing to illustrate just how close it is with animation.
Now the director will be able to cue the graphics into the live picture.
“This project rivals what we’ve produced for the major sports leagues in terms of its potential to revolutionize the way a race is viewed,” said Milnes.
The next step will be evident during a dress rehearsal test in Auckland next month as the America's Cup Event Authority try the system out on the AC45 and race committee boats.