America's Cup Evalutation Trials - day one

HD and 3D cameras and a gyro-stabilised 3D camera capture the RC44s

Thursday July 22nd 2010, Author: Tim Jeffery, Location: Spain

The America’s Cup television evaluation trials began today with a pair of RC44 monohulls put through the rigours of match-race manoeuvres under the watchful eyes of HD and 3D cameras.

With 16 cameras shooting over four-plus hours of sailing, more than 60 hours of video were captured today as Russell Coutts and James Spithill of BMW Oracle Racing threw their boats through a series of close-proximity manoeuvres.

Three onboard cameramen (two on one boat) augmented the fixed and remote control cameras, and upwards of 25 microphones, including surround-sound microphones, captured the crews’ voices and ambient noise.

“I thought we certainly achieved what we set out at the beginning of the day, which was to get baseline viewing angles for comparison later in the weekend when we try to alter the racecourse and carry out similar exercises in X40 multihulls,” said Coutts, CEO of BMW Oracle Racing. “This evaluation process is all about testing new ideas, and we did that.”

The wind blew between 6 and 10 knots on a flat Mediterranean Sea, and the two crews went through match racing procedures. Specifically, multiple practice starts followed by a few complete races.

There were also moments when the two crews were pressed up against the breakwater to King Juan Carlos Harbor in downwind gybing duels, with one boat trying to escape the other’s clutches.

The action became intense when the start box was limited to five boatlengths in width and depth. Required to stay inside the box, the two crews circled around each other for three minutes before breaking off to head to the start line.

The entrance of a helicopter with gyro-stabilized 3D camera was one example of the latest technologies being evaluated. The chopper blew hats off heads and soaked observers when it was just 50 feet off the water, trying to get a tight viewing angle.

Rushes from today’s action will be available to view on the blog of the official America’s Cup web site, There will be a section where viewers can post feedback and comments.

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