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Gilles Martin-Raget / BMW Oracle Racing
Russell Coutts was in Cowes yesterday talking with the Extreme 40 teams and TeamOrigin
Russell Coutts was in Cowes on Thursday and, as a press release from BMW Oracle Racing indicates, he was in town not so much for the 1851 Cup between TeamOrigin and his own team, but to discuss the 34th America’s Cup with the Extreme 40 class. Decisions over the 34th America’s Cup are coming up fast and if it does go multihull with a 22m (72ft) solid wingsail catamaran, the basic concept of which has already been proposed alongside the draft Protocol, then the Extreme 40 class will certainly be a strong lobby in its favour.  In fact when it comes to Coutts’ vision for the 34th America’s Cup, his philosophy is most closely aligned with the Extreme 40 class, not only the high performance catamarans its uses, but also the whole Extreme Sailing Series concept of mass-popularising the sport, only raised to a whole new level. We caught up with Coutts briefly and informally yesterday afternoon and he was enthusing about some of the television technology that they are looking to harness for the 34th America’s Cup. Some of this, including a tethered blimp fitted with a camera and huge lens, were being trialled this week at the 1851 Cup, but there is a considerable amount of work going on behind the scenes into overlaying television images with explanatory graphics, something that has been done previously in post-production but never fully realised live, in real time. We helpfully put it to Coutts that in our opinion singularly the greatest shortcoming of live television coverage of yacht racing, particularly when it involves the complexities of match racing, is how ridiculously slow it is to get 100% accurate information back from on the water, whether it is about incidents or umpire calls. This has been apparent this week at the 1851 Cup (although today was good