America's Cup 2021: Kiwi innovation, ingenuity on display through record-breaking TV coverage

Record numbers of sailing fans around the world are tuning in, with international viewing figures breaking records already. 

And that’s been helped by New Zealand companies pushing the boundaries of what's possible, both on the water and off it. 

Almost as exciting as the racing has been the dance of the helicopters, designed to bring you as close as possible to what it's like to race an AC75. 

"You've got to have your wits about you," says Tony Monk. "It's not by choice you're flying sideways, backwards and all around." 

The father-and-son duo of pilot Tony and camera-operator Blair say race-day filming is unlike anything they've done before. 

"They go so fast, it's pretty much just try to get the heli and the camera in the right position," says Blair Monk. "Everything's happening so quickly, it's just reacting to what happens." 

They're a vital cog in the $38 million television production, $13m of which is taxpayer money. Two hundred countries have picked up the international feed, which is turning heads. 

"You have the latest in technology and camera systems," says Tony Monk. "You've got two choppers, you've got the best in the world in linking gear.

"You're working with the best people in their field, it's really exciting. It's great to see a sporting event finally realise, if you put the money in, you get the results." 

With the borders closed and international tourists obviously non-existent, these pictures are more important than ever and it is paying off.  

America's Cup Events say more than 100 million people tuned in for just the pre-Christmas regatta. Once racing's completed, the final number is expected to exceed half a billion. 

Even more valuable to New Zealand, Kiwi technology and ingenuity is behind the incredible vistas being sent around the world. 

The camera chase boat is a recycled Emirates Team NZ catamaran that's been converted to keep up with AC75's nearing 100 kph and kitted out with the latest from Shotover, a Queenstown company making world-leading gyro camera systems. 

"There's no other boat like this in the world," says Clint Jones of America's Cup Events.  "It really is a show-off of everything great about New Zealand marine and New Zealand innovation." 

The Kiwis involved with the America's Cup really are making it New Zealand's Cup.

Join us on February 13 for live updates of the America's Cup challenger finals between Team UK and Luna Rossa