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RC 44s Descend On San Diego

Preparations for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego are already underway on the Boradway Pier in the heart of Downtown.

© Dobbs Davis

If you’re interested in getting just a little taste of what the 34th America’s Cup might feel like, your chance is just around the corner. Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts’ very successful traveling roadshow — the RC44 circuit — makes its second-ever stop in the States in San Diego March 2-6 for the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego. Eleven boats are already being readied on the Broadway Pier in the city’s downtown area for arena-style sailing inside San Diego Bay.

“The level and intensity of the competition is going to be greater than ever,” said Coutts, who’s returning to the site of his first America’s Cup win. “It’s always great to race in San Diego, it will be a natural amphitheater for those watching from onshore."

That’s a familiar trope for anyone who has followed San Francisco’s America’s Cup bid, and while on a much smaller scale, we expect that the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego will be somewhat of a proof of concept, and maybe even test lab for some facets of AC 34. There will be plenty of top-level talent in attendance. Nine different nations will be represented. There will be a pretty big shoreside production, and the racing — scheduled from 11:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. every day — should be immediately visible from the Broadway pier and other shoreside viewing areas.

Here are the ducks in a row, sans transom scoops.

© 2011 Dobbs Davis

One aspect of the Oracle RC44 Cup San Diego that won’t be like AC 34, is that discounted room rates at hotels throughout the downtown area’s vibrant and historic Gaslamp Quarter are available for a limited time. The details on those deals, plus maps of the public viewing areas are at the link above.

The circuit is Coutts’ four-year-old brainchild, and it has attracted grand prix owners with its organization, effciency and spectacle, not to mention the performance of the boats themselves. All the teams share a common spares-and-repairs container and a common crane. Add in the savings produced by the removable transom scoops and two-piece rigs which allow the whole package to fit into a 40-ft container, and the reduction in costs for owners leaves more money for the parties! With all the buzz this class has generated, our expectations have grown.

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