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Gary Jobson's Notes from the 34th America's Cup

The America's Cup Trophy. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget.

The America's Cup Trophy. Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget.

Gary Jobson, President of the National Sailing Hall of Fame, is posting a series of notes on the America's Cup, which began with his thoughts during the Louis Vuitton Cup and will continue each race day during the America's Cup.



Note 13: Wind Limits, Ebb Current and Drama PDF Print

By Gary Jobson, President
National Sailing Hall of Fame

September 19, 2013

Sept 19 2013:  OTUSA defeats ETNZ.

The champagne was on ice. Blue blazers were at the ready. But Oracle Team USA's Australian skipper James Spithill ignored everything around him except winning the start of Race 12 of the America's Cup. He steered USA 17 into the starting box at 35 knots from the favored port side. Emirates Team New Zealand was late entering from the starboard side. Kiwi skipper Dean Barker maneuvered toward the starting line early. The ebb current was beginning to flow out of San Francisco Bay. The leeward end of the line looked to be favored. Barker wanted that position but he had to kill a lot of time. Spithill stalked his prey from behind as the two boats approached the line. Barker was at risk of jumping the gun. As the clock ticked down, Spithill made his move and swept down to leeward of ETNZ to gain an overlap, or what we call a hook. Barker was to windward and had to stay clear. New Zealand tacked away while Spithill accelerated toward the first mark to win the start by four lengths. The chase was on.

    Downwind on Leg Two the boats sprinted at over 40 knots for the turning gate. The speeds seemed identical. They turned back on the wind on opposite gates for the start of Leg Three. At times the Kiwis drew even, but just could not pass. OTUSA's British tactician, Ben Ainslie, made all the correct tactical calls to keep his boat ahead. In 19 knots of wind, OTUSA attained speeds of 30 knots. The catamaran was on its foils going to windward! The USA sailed extra distance by sailing a low course to get the foils working, but the net gain was impressive. On Leg Four, the USA stretched out and easily won the race.

    The victory had to rattle Dean Barker and his crew. The score stands 8-2 at this point. If the Kiwis win one more race, they will claim the Cup. It is hard to imagine that they could lose seven in a row, at least it did a few days ago. But OTUSA is getting faster, sailing better and showing that they could achieve the unthinkable. The 34th Defense could be over after a 25-minute race, or could continue for another week. On my scorecard, both Spithill and Barker have each won six starts. At start of Race 13, Spithill gets to enter from the Port Side again.

Aug 3 2013:  Harold Bennett and Alistair McRae on the bridge of Regardless. Photo Credit Steven Tsuchiya.    During the intermission between races, the wind started to build. The ebb current was increasing, which reduced the wind limit. The Race Committee has a 23-knot wind limit that was set earlier this summer in the interest of safety. In an ebb current, the apparent wind the boats sail in increases. For example, in a two-knot ebb, the wind limit drops to 21 knots. In a flood current the wind limit would increase by two knots because the water rushing into the bay theoretically pushes the boat backward at two knots reducing the apparent wind. Regrettably, the ebb current will increase over the next few days.

   When the race committee signaled that the wind was over the limit, Ken Read and I bantered on the NBC Sports Network that we had spent many hours over the years waiting for a suitable wind to fill in so a race could get started. Now we wait for the wind to drop. There are no more scheduled lay days for the rest of the regatta. The boats will be out every day until one of them wins nine races. At the post race press conference this afternoon, Spithill said his team had written a letter to the race committee saying that raising the wind limit to 25 knots would be acceptable. Dean Barker countered that the rules had been set before the match, and his boat was set up for winds of 23 knots or less. Therefore, Barker did not think changing the rules in the middle of the regatta was fair. Hmmm…the middle of the regatta? One could argue that we are potentially at the end of the regatta. Spithill would like to think we are in the middle.

   The pressure on both teams will build. New Zealand certainly has a comfortable cushion now, but watch out if the USA wins two more races. The Kiwi design team and shore crew will feel compelled to make changes. Sometimes changes work, and sometimes they fail. OTUSA has made many small but important changes. They too have to be careful not to take a step back. Any changes always have to be coordinated with the sailing team. I bet there are some long nights going on for both teams.

    Dean Barker seems calm on the boat, and around the waterfront. Jimmy Spithill looks to be on fire every time I see him. Both will be well prepared for Race 13. If Oracle Team USA wins the first race, it sure would be nice to see a second race on the same day. Our television audience is growing daily. The drama is building too. We have never seen boats this fast in such a high stakes regatta.

    Tune in to the NBC Sports Network at 4 pm Eastern time, (1 pm Pacific time) and we will take you aboard for the on going battle for the oldest trophy in international sports.

Photos courtesy of photographer Steven Tsuchiya.

 

 
Note 12: Inner Strength at the America's Cup PDF Print

11-R-S-Tsuchiya-1

By Gary Jobson, President
National Sailing Hall of Fame

September 18, 2013


    Imagine what is going on in the mind of Oracle Team USA's Australian skipper, Jimmy Spithill. His team is down 8-1. One more loss and the America's Cup moves on to New Zealand for the second time in 18 years. You might think the pressure is enormous, but I hope his focus is simply on winning the next race. He cannot think about the final result, the consequences, the disappointment, or his next gig. Spithill needs to win the next start, then get ahead, and find a way to stay ahead. If he does that, he can move on to the next race. Skipper Spithill has many tools at his disposal including a boat that is even in speed with his rival, the world's most successful Olympic sailing champion as a tactician, a crew that is working their guts out, a design team and shore crew that keeps improving the speed of the boat, and the support of a very motivated owner. Spithill can end up on the long list of losing America's Cup skippers, or make the biggest comeback in the history of sailing. It is all on his shoulders. And, guess what? We get to watch him go into battle in the biggest race(s) of his life.

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    In 1983 Spithill's countrymen were down 1-3 against Dennis Conner in the America's Cup. The tenacious Aussies won three straight to take the Cup down under. In 1920, the American defender was down 0-2 behind Shamrock IV in a best of 5 series. The Americans won the last three races. In 1934,Harold Vanderbilt's Rainbow was down 0-2 in a best of seven series. The USA was behind in Race Three. But clever tactics by Rainbow's tactician, Sherman Hoyt, helped Rainbow take the lead on the final leg of the race. The British never won another race. Rainbow prevailed 4-2. The stories of sports heroics are the stuff of legend. If Spithill wins a race, and then another, and another the pressure will shift and put Emirates Team New Zealand in an increasingly defensive position. Again, it will be great fun to watch.

    11-R-S-Tsuchiya-4-EllisonHistorically, September 18 has been a big day in the America' Cup. In 1930, Vanderbilt's Enterprise defeated Shamrock V 4-0 to successfully defend. In 1967, Intrepid swept Australia's Dame Pattie 4-0. Three of Intrepid's crew would later become Commodores of the New York Yacht Club: Skipper, Bus Mosbacher; bowman, George Hinman; and grinder, David Elwell. And in 1977, Ted Turner and our crew aboard Courageous defeated Australia 4-0. Our team stays in close contact. We have a reunion every five years with full attendance. How many teams can say that?

    There is considerable talk around the San Francisco waterfront about the format and nature of the next America's Cup. Of course, no one from New Zealand will utter a word about anything on the horizon. I will have a full discussion about the future of the America's Cup in the November issue of Sailing World magazine.

11-R-S-Tsuchiya-3    I am not sure I should admit this, but I have been present at some part of the America's Cup dating back to 1962 when I was 12 years old. This event is in my bones. I have been a member of five Cup crews over the years. To this day I am grateful that Ted Turner gave me a chance to be his tactician. Winning in 1977 was one of the greatest moments in the lives of our crew. The 34th Defense is the ninth time I have served as a commentator on television. The story lines never cease to amaze me. The behind the scenes production of our 92-person team has been special. Every day we work hard to improve. Covering sailing is not an exact science. Most every one on the team is an active sailor. The aerial photography, on board cameras and microphones, amazing graphics, steady water view shots have been breathtaking. How cool it is for Todd Harris, Ken Read and I to interpret what is going on out on the water. Thanks are in order to Oracle Corporation's Larry Ellison for making this production a reality.

    A few comments on Race Eleven: New Zealand skipper, Dean Barker, decisively won the start. The Kiwis held a slim three-length lead through most of the race. On Leg Three, OTUSA drew even two times, but just could not pass. The one moment of hope for the USA squad came on Leg Four. In 20 knots of wind, New Zealand sailed straight down the center of the course. In contrast, the USA sailed on the very North edge of the course. The wind headed OTUSA about 20 degrees, allowing Spithill to steer a far lower course toward the final turning gate. Barker did not get the wind shift and had to jibe to protect his lead. It was even. The USA had a chance. But, just eight lengths before the cross the wind shifted back, forcing the USA to steer high of the mark. New Zealand's tactician, Ray Davies, jibed on the lay line. When the wind shift arrived, both boats had to sail low to get to the mark. NZL was closer and rounded only two lengths ahead. From there it was a parade over to the finish. Larry Ellison's team is now one race from losing.

11-R-S-Tsuchiya-5    Occasionally I am reminded that words count. After racing was postponed on Tuesday, I casually remarked while on the air to my partner Ken Read that I had lined up three Lasers to go sailing that afternoon, and that we should get our on air host, Todd Harris, on the water. Within hours, the Laser Class President, Tracy Usher, and several Laser greats, including Chris Boome, Russ Silvestri, Nick Burke and Ron Witzel, were lining up boats. One of them even suggested that they should invite OTUSA's Tom Slingsby to join us. Tom has won the Laser Worlds and an Olympic Gold medal last summer. Ken and I talked about showing up with a foiling Laser.

    The 34th Defense of the America's Cup might conclude on Thursday with a New Zealand victory in one of two scheduled races. If Jimmy Spithill can dig down deep, find his inner strength and win on Thursday, he might be able to start running the table. It would be the comeback of all time. What fun it will be to watch.

 Our coverage continues LIVE on the NBC Sports Network at 4 pm ET, (1 pm PT).

Left to right. Stan Honey,  L-R: Stan Honey, Leon Sefton, Wayne Leonard, Gary Jobson, Todd Harris, Ken ReadAll photos except this last group shot are courtesy of photographer Steven Tsuchiya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Note 11: A New Sport Emerges PDF Print

Gary Jobson, covering the 34th America's Cup from onboard the committee boat (photo credit: Steven Tsuchiya)

By Gary Jobson, President
National Sailing Hall of Fame

September 15, 2013

    When I arrived off the water this afternoon following two thrilling America's Cup races, my co-commentator, Ken Read, said, "Sailing will never be the same." The vision Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts had about high-speed catamarans racing up and down San Francisco Bay is now a reality. Sure, it got off to a slow start in July, but today was some of the most exciting racing I have witnessed as a competitor or spectator. We may never see a spectacle like this again, but right now the 34th America's Cup defense is proving to be sports theater at its best.

    The day started with the westerly breeze blowing in at 20 knots, with a swift current ebbing at 2.2 knots. There was a steep chop. At the start of Race Nine, Oracle Team USA, led by Australian skipper, James Spithill, clobbered Emirates Team New Zealand's skipper, Dean Barker. The Kiwis were three lengths behind at the first turning mark. Downwind the boats appeared to be even in speed. At the leeward gate, the boats split to opposite sides of the course. OTUSA's superstar tactician, Ben Ainslie, found the best current and wind to stretch their lead. At one point ETNZ was foiling upwind at 32 knots. They were able to do this by sailing a slightly lower course. But they gave away too much windward distance to gain any ground on the American team. The wind behaved and stayed just below the 20.8-knot wind limit. When Spithill and crew crossed the finish line, team owner Larry Ellison raised both arms in triumph. I think he was just as happy for this team as he was that his vision of the America's Cup was working.

    Once again, there were huge crowds on the San Francisco waterfront, along with about 500 vessels of all sizes out on the bay. I call the race from the race committee boat, Regardless, while my colleagues, Todd Harris and Ken Read, work from shore. Today, I had the better seat. We were close to the action and you could see the subtle course changes and sailing techniques on these short 21-25 minute races. The courses are ten miles long. As an aside, I think they should include two more legs and be 40 minutes in length.

    In Race Two, Spithill was slightly ahead and to windward at the start. Approaching the first turn OTUSA went off their foils for just one second, allowing ETNZ to hold on to a slim overlap. Barker took a very wide turn, forcing Spithill to wait to bear away on Leg Two. The move gave the Kiwis a four-length lead. Downwind nothing changed. At the leeward gate the two boats split tacks again. Back on the wind, the USA started gaining. They appeared to be a little faster. On the third cross, Barker had to dip behind Spithill, who was on starboard with the right of way. The very next cross saw the boats change leads again, when Spithill dipped below Barker. The race was riveting.

    Approaching the windward gate, OTUSA was on starboard approaching the left gate. Barker slowed his boat down to cross behind Spithill, but rounded the right side gate. They were only one second apart. Ainslie called for OTUSA to sail down the city front, and New Zealand's tactician, Ray Davies, elected to sail out in the bay. When the boats converged it looked even. The Kiwis were on starboard. Spithill slowed down to give way. New Zealand took the lead and held on to the finish. The boats split wins for the day, and the score now stands 7-1. ETNZ needs two more wins to claim the America's Cup. OTUSA needs 8 more wins. It sounds daunting, but Spithill sounds very determined to turn the tide. The American design and shore crew have found ways to lighten the boat, move some weight around and make several small modifications. The changes have helped the USA level the playing field. We have seen ten starts now. By my scorecard Spithill and Barker have each won five.

    With the boats so even, the premium on the start, good boat handling and clever tactics will likely be make the difference in the Cup. On television the boats look great, but in person they are even more impressive. The speed, size and power of these machines is inspiring. To paraphrase a Yogi Berra comment, “They are even better looking than they look."

    On the leaderboard the American team is deep. But I think they can still win. Monday is a scheduled lay day. OTUSA gets better every time they go into the shed for modifications. New Zealand needs to be careful not to stay in one place. They have the luxury of making some experimental changes and if they loose two races they can easily go back to an earlier measurement configuration. One thing we have learned is that Spithill, Ainslie and their team are getting better, and will continue to improve.

    Tuesday the wind is forecasted to be strong again. If we are able to race, OTUSA will be fast. However, I wonder if they have given away some of their light air speed to gain in a strong breeze? The measurers allow new certificates every day. OTUSA cannot afford to make any mistakes with their modifications or sailing. They can only afford to lose one more race. The Kiwis certainly like the score, but they are up against a very determined crew that looks like they are getting better every day. Just last week the American team lost ground on every tack. Now both boats are even when maneuvering.

    Emirates Team New Zealand's syndicate head, Grant Dalton, sailed both races today. He was off the boat during the team's only two loses versus six wins when he was on-board. He did get his first loss today, but I think his presence was helpful in getting ready for the second heat, which they won.

    A picture of the legendary Sir Peter Blake is on the wall of the entryway at the New Zealand team base. Sir Peter won around the world races, and led the New Zealand America's Cup team to victory in 1995 as a challenger, and in 2000 as a defender. Blake was killed by thieves in Brazil in 2001. Blake was known for wearing red socks as his good luck charm. In 1995 everyone in New Zealand was wearing red socks. Grant Dalton is one tough 56-year old who has won round the world races, and came close to winning the America's Cup in 2007. The Kiwis certainly gain inspiration from the memory of Peter Blake. Grant Dalton is working hard to honor his one time rival and friend. I doubt Dalton knows the story, but let's just say the team wants to win one for the Gipper. As for the America's Cup, it's hard to imagine what scenario could possibly top what we are watching? An American comeback maybe?

 
Note 10: America's Cup Drama PDF Print

Gary Jobson, covering the 34th America's Cup from onboard the committee boat (photo credit: Steven Tsuchiya)

By Gary Jobson, President
National Sailing Hall of Fame

September 14, 2013

    The sight of Emirates Team New Zealand teetering on its side was frightening. I’ll bet that the entire population of that small country held its collective breath at that moment. On the third leg of the ten-mile course in Race Eight of the America's Cup, the Kiwis lost control of their AC 72. During a routine tacking maneuver, about two boat lengths away from the American boat, the wing of NZL inverted. The boat dangerously heeled over at a 45-degree angle. The Kiwi helmsman, Dean Barker, skillfully kept the boat from capsizing. The hydraulic system that controls the wing did not have enough power to shift the wing to the other side. The crew kept desperately grinding the winches to boost the hydraulic's power. It was close. I was watching just six boat lengths away aboard the race committee boat. All of us on board were stunned. Just as it looked like the boat was going to crash, the wing shifted, and the boat settled back down on both its hulls. In the process they fouled the USA. But that was least their problems. OTUSA sailed away for an easy win. Had the boat capsized, it would have been a complete disaster for the Kiwi team. Happily no one was hurt and they survived.

    With this victory Oracle Team USA's score improves to zero after erasing a two-point deficit that the International Jury accessed for their unauthorized modifications to their AC 45s last year in the America's Cup World Series. One thing we learned today is that this America's Cup is far from over. OTUSA skipper James Spithill says his team is hungry and motivated to successfully defend. The American team needs to win nine more races, while New Zealand needs to win three.

    Oracle Team USA is getting better, and the races are thrilling. We have now seen more passing in this Cup than any other America's Cup dating back to the first defense in 1870. The races have lasted anywhere from 22 to 32 minutes. Based on the scorecard in the first eight heats there are going to be more passes. We also have had more races in this Cup than any in the past. Twice there were seven races – 1983 and 2007.

    A lay day on Friday was a huge benefit for the American squad. The sailors and the designers made a number of small changes to the boat that added up to a big improvement in speed. To my eye, they might have lost a little downwind speed, but more than made up for it with very impressive speed to windward. It makes me wonder if the Kiwis were a little rattled when they no longer had a windward speed advantage like we saw in the two races last Thursday.

    The breeze today was strong, ranging from 17 to 21 knots in the first race. The ebb current pushed against the SW wind to create a nasty chop. In the past seven races the Kiwis always seemed to gain while tacking, but not today. The only noticeable difference aboard ETNZ was that their CEO, Grant Dalton, was not on board. He has been off the boat for both of their two loses, and on board for all of their six wins. I have a gut feeling Grant will be back on board for Sunday's two races.

    Four-time Olympic champion Ben Ainslie was back as tactician on OTUSA. He made the correct tactical calls throughout the race. It does not look like the American tactician, John Kostecki, will be back on the crew. Ainslie and strategist Tom Slingsby have a constant dialog going. Keep in mind that both Slingsby and Ainslie have won Olympic Gold medals in singlehanded dinghy classes. I think they are enjoying the interplay. As tactician, Ainslie always makes the final call. Although a skipper can always overrule a tactician, Spithill seems comfortable with the new line up.

    The intellectual battle between Ainslie and NZL tactician Ray Davies will be epic. If the speeds are as even as they now appear to be, the America's Cup could be decided on tactics.

    The scene in San Francisco around the waterfront is vibrant. The crowds in the America's Cup village and on the water are big. OTUSA's leaders Larry Ellison and Russell Coutts had a bold vision. The event got off to a slow start, but clearly it is going well now. The best part is, that no one can really say with any certainty who is going to win. Sure, NZL is up on points, but the old adage that the team is going to take it one race at a time is Spithill's mantra. His crew believes they can do it. New Zealand cannot afford to make any more mistakes.

    Dean Barker did win the first start, and easily won the second start of the late afternoon race. NZL held a three-boat length lead on Leg Three of the second race, but the race committee abandoned the race when the wind went over the 22.6-knot limit for five consecutive minutes. The comeback certainly gives the Kiwis some confidence going forward. Tomorrow the wind is forecasted to be a little lighter. The ebb current will also be less. NZL seems to be most competitive relative to OTUSA when the wind is 15-19 knots. At a post race press conference, Spithill said they have some more changes to make. Two races are scheduled for Sunday, while Monday is a scheduled lay day. The racing will continue again on Tuesday. Both teams can take some positive thoughts forward. If NZL can recover and win two races tomorrow they will be well on their way to reclaiming the Cup. If the USA wins two races, this series will be wide open.

    Our coverage begins Sunday on the NBC Sports Network with a pre-race show at 3:30 pm Eastern time (12:30 PT). The first race is scheduled to start at 4:15 ET, (1:15 PT). 

 

 
Note 9: Kiwi Power PDF Print

By Gary Jobson, President
National Sailing Hall of Fame

September 13, 2013

    For the first time in my sailing career I saw the perfect start. I mean PERFECT. In Race 8 of the 34th America's Cup defense, New Zealand's skipper Dean Barker approached the starting line to windward and ahead of Oracle Team USA's Australian skipper, James Spithill. In seven previous races Barker has won two starts, while Spithill has taken the other five. The Kiwis have been dominant throughout the series, except for the starts. After race six, I asked Barker what he was going to do to improve? Through gritted teeth he simply said he needed to do better. And boy did he deliver.

    When the gun fired, Emirates Team New Zealand was exactly on the line. The screen grab showed they were just two inches behind the line. The boat was sailing at 41.2 knots! In contrast, Spithill was late to accelerate and quickly fell behind. OTUSA's owner Larry Ellison was in a tender alongside the race committee boat where I call the action for the NBC Sports Network, along with Todd Harris and Kenny Read. Ellison put his head down when he saw his team lose the start. He must have realized at that moment that the America's Cup was slipping from his grasp.

    Two weeks ago I predicted in my pre-America's Cup report that OTUSA would defend...barely. I got it wrong. New Zealand is going to win big and here's why.

    The Kiwi boat is faster through tacks, is lightning quick up wind, their management is focused, and the team is a smooth-running operation. I spent some time with them on Wednesday and visited every part of their compound. There are no politics. The 107 workers are all fully engaged with their assigned duties. Barker was reviewing tactics with coach Rod Davis. The designers were at their computers. Workers had the boat apart and were servicing every component. I spoke with tactician Ray Davies. He is having a good time sailing. His big smile, friendly demeanor and impressive record on the water were in sharp contrast to the turmoil over in the American camp.

     James Spithill decided to replace his long-time tactician John Kostecki with four-time British Olympic Champion Ben Ainslie. On Day Four of the AC, Ainslie did a fine job working with Australian strategist and Olympic Champion Tom Slingsby, but the boat is just not up to speed. Until last week, OTUSA's New Zealander CEO Russell Coutts had never lost a single race. Now his team has lost seven.

     With Kostecki benched there is now only one American sailor on the American boat. I sure hope New Zealand returns the Cup to all national crews as the author of the America's Cup Deed of Gift, George Steers, envisioned. I will have more about that later.

    So what has New Zealand done so well? Sailing through tacks, the fuller hull shape helps the boat keep its momentum. The wing on NZL operates smoothly as it changes sides. In contrast, OTUSA's wing has to be punched through. This split second pause hurts. The New Zealand boat does not have cockpits for the crew. The deck is flush with the trampoline. The USA features cockpits. It takes a little longer for the crew to get into position. New Zealand also uses a self-tacking jib. The sail slides on a track in front of the wing. OTUSA uses jibs that are longer on the foot, and more difficult to trim in tacks. Many little things add up to big differences. On every tack the Kiwis gain. When sailing upwind on a straight line, ETNZ is really fast. It must be a horrifying sight to watch the Kiwis gain from the view on board the American boat. Downwind it appears OTUSA might have a very slight edge in speed. Two of the three legs are downwind, so this should help the American boat. But nearly even downwind speed is not enough when you are so slow to windward.

    Occasionally, our television director, Wayne Leonard, will position the helicopter to capture some compelling images of the deck of the two boats. Again, there is quite a contrast. OTUSA has a narrow endplate underneath the wing. The endplate helps give the wing more power by using the wind. This is a complicated subject that can be far better explained by naval architects. We will surely get to read some interesting scientific papers after the Cup. ETNZ has a much bigger platform under the wing that seems to give the boat more power and at the same time give the whole structure more strength. This will become more evident this weekend when we have an ebb current. The ebb will flow against the prevailing WSW wind and will create choppy waves. So far the races have taken place in flood current.

    Funding an America's Cup is a daunting challenge. ETNZ has recruited eleven sponsors including the New Zealand government to provide funding. In addition to the corporate sponsors, the Kiwis have received substantial help from several long-time sailors, including Michael Fay, Gary Paykel, Matteo Nora, Steven Tindall, and Neville Creighton. Dalton told me they will spend over $120 million. I wonder what Larry Ellison has spent? Grant Dalton, the ETNZ team leader, uses his backers for advice and encouragement. To give you an idea of how important winning this regatta is to the 4.4 million people who live in New Zealand, consider this: Last Saturday, for the first day of racing, 62% of the televisions in that small country were tuned-in to the America' Cup.

    Over the past two months our television team has been working hard to produce compelling shows. Like the sailing teams we try to get better every day. There are 92 people involved in the production. Veteran America's Cup and Olympic Games sailing producer, Denis Harvey, has done a good job bringing all the pieces together. When we are on the air, our producer is Leon Sefton. He is a cool hand. Todd Harris, Ken Read and I are constantly talking with Leon about upcoming shots and leading us through the storyline. From my unique view on the water, I tell Leon about things I see that Todd and Kenny do not see in the booth. The three of us are always ready to add some comment. I think one of Leon's most important jobs is to guide us when to talk and lay out. The conversation coming off the boats is very interesting. It is tricky knowing when to talk and when to lay out. Ken Read and I have to remember that we are talking to an audience that includes many experienced sailors, along with many viewers who have never been on boat. Our conversation must be balanced. It has been a pleasure working with Todd, Ken, Leon and our director, Wayne Leonard. For the NBC shows last weekend, David Michaels was our producer. Long time sailor Gordon Beck is producing our cable shows.

    The AC LiveLine graphics are an amazing addition to our telecasts. Stan Honey and his team will also write an interesting paper about this groundbreaking innovation. Separately, Virtual Eye uses GPS technology to gives us 3D animation of the race boats. AC LiveLine's graphics are over live pictures. I marvel at the mechanics of how our team operate seven cameras on each race boat, along with taking the sound from the microphones worn by five sailors on each boat. On the water, we have a modified Extreme 40 camera boat that can speed along at 40 knots and provide remarkably stable pictures thanks to a Cine-flex camera. These are the same cameras used on the helicopters. When viewers see our pictures and hear our audio all of this has to be synced up. This all happens live. So, if I suggest to Leon that I want to talk about back wind, the helicopter has to get in position, Alan Trimble prepares the animation, Todd Harris sets me up and off we go. Meanwhile Ken Read might have an observation about one of the crew. So while I am talking about backwind, the team is setting up the next shot from on board. This includes getting the correct microphone linked with the picture. Todd then sets up Ken and he tells us about Glen Ashby and how he trims the wing. The production of these races is never seen by viewers but is system that runs with impressive precision. I hope we get to televise some for other sailing events at this level.

    New Zealand needs to win 3 of the next 12 races to reclaim the America's Cup. OTUSA needs to win 10 of the next 12 to defend. My prediction was wrong. Perhaps we will see a turn around. In 1983, Australia II was down 3-1 and won three straight to win it all. In 1920, Resolute was down 0-2 and came back to successfully 3-2, and in 1934 Endeavour was up 2-0 against Rainbow and lost 4-2. Can that happen again? We will show you the races live on Saturday and Sunday on the NBC Sports Network, starting with a pre-race program at 3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, (12:30 p.m Pacific).

 

 
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