It took until well into the latter half of the December 31 deadline day, but Oracle Racing and the America’s Cup Event Authority finally announced that the 34th America’s Cup will be contested on the Bay. Ending what has become its own "season of torture" for Bay Area sailors, the announcement was the best New Year’s present we could have hoped for. As so frequently has been extolled by proponents of a Bay Area Cup, the decision appears driven by the utility of the Bay for the purpose at hand.
“We sought a venue that fulfills our promise – to showcase the best sailors in the world competing on the fastest boats,” said America’s Cup Event Authority Chairman Richard Worth. “And hosting the America’s Cup in San Francisco will realize that promise.“
When you hear morning radio DJs talking about it on the air as we did this morning, you get an idea of what kind of impact the event is already having in reaching out to the mainstream audience that sailing needs in order to raise its commercial profile in this country. With the Bay as the venue, the best is yet to come in that effort.
“My support for San Francisco hosting the America’s Cup goes beyond the opportunity to see our team competing on home waters,” said the man pulling the strings for the 34th Cup, Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts. “We are excited to sail for our sport’s greatest trophy, on a stretch of water legendary among sailors worldwide.”
So what’s next? Quite a bit actually. All the time the team spent trying to revive the possibility of Newport as a venue was time not spent starting the CEQA process. Hopefully that effort will proceed quickly so that construction can begin on the Race Village located on Piers 19 and 29, and the team bases at around Pier 30/32 — all of which will be accessible to the public. Later this summer, the Cup teams will start racing the America’s Cup World Series in the wing-sailed AC45s all while Bay Area sailors start looking toward how to maximize the opportunity the Cup brings. What will the Cup mean for you?