While media toured the television compound this morning at the America's Cup, sailor John Kostecki the Bay Area native and tactician on board ORACLE TEAM USA is persona non grata as he is off the boat and replaced by the English knight Sir Ben Ainslee. Meanwhile. Billionaire and AC yachtsman, member of the St. Francis Yacht Club Bill Koch is in the house being interviewed by the Larry Keating of New Zealand for Maritime Productions. His fellow countryman is Ron Holland, a famous yacht designer, the Swan line.
The America's Cup San Francisco is an historic event and the television crew matches the crew on the water with technological talent and skill, AC LiveLine winning an Emmy Award. Here's the Emmy Award I picked up at the America's Cup television compound this morning for technological achievement. The staff sails, the producer raced in the America's Cup, Mark Sheffield. Somehow the tv crew got the sailors to stop swearing on live worldwide television, a fucking accomplishment if I ever heard one. The older ones were the worst and the young ones got it right away. Young Chris Draper's wife had a say in the matter. "Is that how you want the world to see you? You don't act like that at home." Draper was the helmsman on Italy's Luna Rossa.
Media looked at the on-screen graphics; the electronic race course; the umpiring system; the onboard video and audio.
Live Race Broadcasts have been runners-up for Emmy and Royal Television Society Awards.
Denis Harvey, Production Executive, ACEA
Mike Martin, Director of Umpiring, ACRM
Stan Honey, Director of Technology, ACEA
The tour of the Emmy winning compound started Wednesday morning on a cooler, calm day at the pavillion with no AC72 race scheduled and the media walked nextdoor to the compound at the next pier on the Embarcadero. The compound houses itself inside the pier in shipping containers, the kind the boats themselves travel in. The compound has been around the world with the America's Cup San Francisco, including Naples. All of the equipment is leased, the AC owns none of it. It goes back to England.
The media got to see the digital and wireless mechanisms that control the aerial videography. Three helicopters fly over the SF Bay, one operator handling three cameras and another operator handling four. Basically the controls look like a small tool box no bigger than a laptop. These operate the cameras mounted on board the AC72s, including one that was on the front of New Zealand's AC72 when it nose dived and flung two sailors into the Bay. The camera is intact. It even has a little squirter to keep it clean as the camera revolves. Sound, from microphones on each sailor, gets synched with video in a fraction of a second.
The umpire Mike took eleven media into the umpire booth. We used to allow media and visitors he said but we started getting people putting their fingers to the screen. So now five minutes to race time the umpire booth empties. It's rather jovial and relaxed up until then. Racing begins and the umpires are every bit as into the race as the racers on the water. Mike showed how he signals the race boat they have incurred a penalty, by pressing a little button on screen.
He said there are various ways of finessing the work off of a penalty by slowing down. Just reaching is the better choice he said because you don't lose speed that way and just get back on course as soon as the blue light stops. Mike also replayed a real situation where there could have been a penalty but wasn't one imposed. He said the statistics are all telecommunicated from the boats, wind speed, wing angle, boat speed, location, direction, projectory.
Former America's Cup sailor Mark Sheffield mans the producer's booth. He showed the media how he can use graphics to diagram bad air coming off the sails and hull, essentially a blue spray in graphics. He has the course and boundaries in graphics, the mark circles. He can show currents for what's really on the screen. He has color correction for the cameras. There are seven on each boat for tilt and panorama.
A model of a multi-hull stands on saw horses in the compound, complete with dagger boards and foils and the model is wired.
The Emmy sat out on a little table, over which is the English poster about Keeping Calm and Carrying On except it reads Keep Your Compound Clean.
The crew also has a list of correct spellings of each team name, such as putting ORACLE TEAM USA in all caps if you please.
The control room had a New Years Eve type paper horn that extends when you blow it. One was sitting on the snack table as well near the plate of oranges.
Furniture is made out of sturdy shipping cardboard in bright and cheerful red, the kind of cardboard the homeless make shacks out of in Brazil and really live in.
Racing resumes on Thursday, September 12, 2013 at 1:15.
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
Check out youth sailing around the Bay at www.SailSFBay.org, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
The America’s Cup pavillion is along the Embarcadero before Fisherman's Wharf and is an easy walk, pedicab ride, bike ride or Muni ride from the ferry building and Embarcadero BART. The village and grandstands are at Marina Green.
For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco's website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture "Best Of"; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on Examiner.com. Subscribe by hittng the SUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
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