A small New Zealand firm made a giant contribution to the America’s Cup.
‘YachtBot’ – GPS tracking systems invented by Dunedin firm Igtimi – was on nearly 40 boats operated by America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA) including official, photo, television, mark-setting and VIP boats.
YachtBot lets the race organisers build a “virtual stadium” on the water, and establishes a “seating plan” for nearly 1,000 Superyachts, VIPs, and the public. As weather conditions change, ACEA dynamically adjusts the race course and spectator areas to ensure that everyone is as close to the racing action as possible.
Igtimi Co-director, Brent Russell, says “The America’s Cup has never been able to do this before, YachtBot is a critical part of on-water operations”.
Using iPads, YachtBot also helps the organisers place the buoys on the course, and displays the AC45 race boats and helicopters to provide “full view” management. It allows skippers and passengers a first-hand account of where they are relative to the imaginary race boundaries.
Mr Russell says YachtBot’s goal was to provide cutting-edge training and tracking tools at all levels of sailing from the Olympics to clubs. They customised that technology for the America’s Cup.
“Our first tracking devices were on the 33rd America’s Cup boats in Valencia in 2010. Since then, we’ve made them accessible for club yachting. It’s great that America’s Cup picked up on our hardware again at the elite level. The bonus is, we’ll bring this upgraded technology back to club yachting, so it’s a win for everyone,” he says.
Co-director, Kylie Robinson, says the YachtBot technology proved to be very popular during the America’s Cup World Series in Japan.
“They were impressed to find that the volunteers using our technology to place the race markers did so faster and more accurately than those who were fully qualified in buoy placement!” she says.