An interesting juxtaposition in the latest news round-up by ORACLE Racing. Rather than back away from the ‘Facebook Generation‘ statement, Russell Coutts has brought it out again and once again said that the rules and format of the new America’s Cup are designed to make the event simpler and easier to understand. In the very next news item, ORACLE Racing introduce the new, simplified format that features 3 different disciplines, 4 different events and new courses.
So on the one hand, Russell Coutts is saying:
“Many of the rules changes we’ve made have been aimed at making the event more attractive to television and for non-sailors,” said Coutts. “It was obvious that we need a young audience; that we need to appeal to the Facebook generation. We prefer electronic boundaries that narrow alleys, so that the boats are forced to engage each other throughout the race. Now we will experience water blitz chess.”
And on the other hand, the organisers are putting out the following for the non-sailing Facebook crowd:
The course features a reaching start and gates at both the windward and leeward marks to be completed in this order: Start, M1 to port, Leeward Gate (M3/M4), Windward Gate (M1/M2), Leeward Gate (M3/M4), finish. The distance between the two gates will be lengthened to accommodate the longer fleet races and the start line repositioned accordingly.
Simple. But there is more…
The speed trials will be held over a 500-meter course, the length recognized by the World Sailing Speed Record Council for official speed records. A yacht shall start by passing to windward of the start boat within her start window. A yacht’s start window shall be the first 30 seconds of the minute allocated to her by the race committee. A yacht will be ranked on her highest average speed for a run.
Organisers have also released the ‘rules’ relating to spectator craft and the way in which the Facebook generation can watch the action from the water. Those with superyachts will get to park them along two sides of the course. Others will have to park their jet-ski’s, ribs, canoes and hobie cats 300 metres from the race-course.
Anyone who has attended an Extreme Sailing Series event will know that such measures are essential to stop accidents from happening at very high speeds, but some new fans who have been wooed to attend an event might not want to stay in one place or adhere to a 5 knot speed limit within a half mile of the course once racing has started.
More interesting is the rules relating to photography, video and advertising. Social Media has been highlighted as one of the way in which this Cup will be different from others, but the rules relating to photos and video seem to be written by the Flintstone generation of media rights people. It will be interesting to see how the ACEA police a piece of public space in relation to people filming the event with ‘home-type’ HD video cameras and posting it on YouTube.
It would also be interesting to see how the ACEA reacted to a boat like Hugo Boss being parked on the edge of the spectator area.
The Course Marshal Instructions say:
No vessel is to display any signage on or around the course area. The only signage that is approved is that of the sponsors of the Event and the bona-fide sponsor of a competing team.
In order to ensure that the rights of the Event Authority and the competitors are protected, the Captains of all vessels will ensure that no one on that vessel uses:
- any video recordinng or broadcast equipment in competition with the credentialed rights holders.
Still cameras and home-type video cameras are permitted for personal use only. No commerical exploitation on television, print, Internet or any other media (as news coverage or otherwise) of photographs or video taken aboard any Vessel, or transmission of any audio commentary of the races (including cellular telephone) from any Vessel, may be made without written permission of ACEA, except by credentialed media with rights to exploit such photographs, or video, or audio commetary, subject to restrictions imposed on such media.
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