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America’s Cup sailing “discovered” in San Francisco

Despite its long maritime history, San Francisco has never seen sailing quite like the America’s Cup World Series Races held on the bay in August. The city is now looking forward to the event’s return in October, with bigger boats and more races coming in 2013.


September 25, 2012 — Despite its long maritime history, San Francisco has never seen sailing quite like the America’s Cup World Series Races held on the bay in August. The city is now looking forward to the event’s return in October, with bigger boats and more races coming in 2013.

The oldest trophy in international sport, the America’s Cup was first contested in 1851. For over 160 years, the America’s Cup has always been at the cutting edge of technology, from the design and build of the boats, to communications (one of the first uses of Marconi’s wireless was to transmit results from the race course) to performance data sunglasses featuring a heads-up display that shows information on the inside of the lenses.

The 34th America's Cup in San Francisco consists of three main stages - the America's Cup World Series (Aug. 21–26 and Oct. 2–7, 2012), the Louis Vuitton Cup (July 4–Sept.1, 2013) and the America's Cup Finals (Sept. 7–22, 2013). Adding to the excitement on San Francisco Bay will be the new Red Bull Youth America’s Cup in August and September 2013.

San Francisco is the first city to host the America’s Cup where the races can be viewed from the shore. As experienced at August’s races, the sailors can hear the roar of the crowd and spectators can all but reach out and touch the boats as they fly past.

“San Francisco is a perfect match for the America’s Cup in so many ways,” said Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of the San Francisco Travel Association. “The sailors will be challenged by the winds and waters of the bay. Spectators all along the waterfront will experience the excitement of the races close up. The worldwide media will practically feast on images of the high-tech boats against backgrounds of the city skyline, the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. And the entire city will welcome the global sailing community coming to watch and participate in this world class event.”

Before and after the races, spectators can enjoy activities and entertainment at the America’s Cup Village. For the World Series in October 2012, the village will again be located on the Little Marina Green. For the Louis Vuitton Cup and the America's Cup Finals, the America’s Cup Village will be at Pier 27 on the Embarcadero.

One of the legacies of the America’s Cup in San Francisco will be the city’s new James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Pier 27 which will debut in the role of the America’s Cup Village in 2013. After the regattas, the versatile structure will be the arrival and departure point for thousands of future cruise ship passengers.

The first America’s Cup World Series event in San Francisco was hailed as a success by Mayor Edwin M. Lee, who presented the prizes to the top three crews in the Match Racing and Fleet Racing Championships.

“This is the first of many races to come and we look forward to the second event in October when all of these teams will be back,” Lee said. “Thank you to all of the teams for being here and to all of the city agencies who have worked in collaboration with the event.”

“The response from the public has exceeded our expectations,” said Stephen Barclay, the CEO of the 34th America’s Cup. “This was our first event in San Francisco and our first opportunity to get a taste of racing the wingsail catamarans on the Bay. It’s simply been wonderful for everyone involved.”

The local Marina Times newspaper reported that the excitement also rolled inland: “At the conclusion of a day of practice and five days of racing, the results are in: People turned out to watch the regatta in droves… Nate Valentine, a partner in Vintage 415 – owners of Mamacita, Tipsy Pig, Blue Barn Gourmet, and Umame (restaurants) – said he definitely saw a spike in business. ‘I don’t think anyone really knew what to expect, but as more people started watching and found out how awesome the sailing was, and what a great place the Marina was to be a part of this event, you could feel the excitement grow. We’re really looking forward to it returning in October and next year.’”

  • Some of the success of the first America’s Cup World Series in San Francisco, Aug. 21–26, included:
  • A crowd estimated at 150,000, peaking to 40,000 on the final day, visited the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green during the regatta period (Aug. 21–26)
  • The spectator fleet on the Bay grew daily to a peak of 450 yachts on the final day
  • The America’s Cup YouTube channel featured 45 videos and generated more than 500,000 views
  • There were 163 accredited media from 11 countries and all five continents
  • More than 2,900 stories were published in more than 1,000 media outlets
  • There were more than 5,600 hi-res image downloads from the America’s Cup Media Server
  • Ticketed seating sold out daily for a capacity crowd of 6,600, and there were more than 1,600 hospitality guests over the four days
  • The concert in the America’s Cup Village featuring Dr. Dog on Aug. 25 had more than 5,000 attendees
  • The America’s Cup Event Authority distributed 2,725 gallons (12,388 liters) of water on site, which eliminated the potential use of 24,700 single use plastic bottles
  • The Healthy Ocean Project beach cleanup on Aug. 19 had 180 volunteers who picked up more than 75 bags of trash and recyclable items at Fort Baker
    The America’s Cup World Series is a professional circuit that brings America’s Cup-level racing and the America’s Cup experience to top international venues. It is an extreme experience – cutting edge wing-sailed catamarans flying at speeds over 30 miles per hour, and a mix of fleet and match racing to test the abilities of the best sailing teams in the world.

Sailing fast is easy, maintaining control is critical, and the physical challenge imposed on the athletes is immense. The boats are wing-sailed catamarans, capable of sailing at twice the wind speed.

The AC45 catamarans in the America’s Cup World Series approach 30 knots (35mph/55kph). The new AC72 catamarans, each powered by a 40 m (131.2 ft) tall wingsail, are expected to exceed 40 knots (46mph/75kph).

But even at these blistering speeds, the racing is closer than ever in every sense. On the race course, there is more overtaking than in the past meaning the result of each race is in doubt until the winner crosses the finishing line. And the race area itself is closer to shore than ever before.

The next America’s Cup World Series regatta in San Francisco is scheduled during Fleet Week, Oct. 2–7, when the America’s Cup World Series fleet will share the Bay with the naval ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in one of the largest annual events held in San Francisco.

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