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San Diego Supes Vote to Host AC 35

The unprecedented speeds of AC72s blasting across San Francisco Bay last summer made race viewing exhilarating even for non-sailing viewers. But if AC 35 is held in San Diego Harbor — with its notoriously light winds — racing there might appear to be in slow motion by comparison.

© 2014 ACEA / Ricardo Pinto

San Francisco officials may not have much interest in hosting the next America’s Cup, but San Diego elected officials are going on record to say they would be happy to see ‘America’s Finest City’ fill that role. Yesterday the San Diego County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution backing the Port of San Diego’s bid to host the 2017 America’s Cup races within the confines of San Diego Bay. The San Diego City Council has called a special meeting for Thursday to consider a similar resolution.

Oracle’s Russell Coutts might have gotten teary-eyed to learn that some city really did want to host the Cup.

The 1988, 1992 and 1995 America’s Cups were all based out of San Diego, but the actual racing was held halfway to Hawaii, figuratively speaking, so nobody could see it. In 2017, the races would be held on San Diego Bay, which would offer many excellent viewing opportunities.

The downside with the San Diego venue is that the wind rarely blows in the high teens let alone 20+ knots, which would preclude the fabulous 40+ knot speeds that the Kiwi and Oracle cats hit on windy San Francisco Bay. Even worse, San Diego is not immune from days with very light wind. There was one light-air race on San Francisco Bay, the one where the Kiwis would have won the Cup if they could have only finished within the time limit. It was a real snooze-fest.

"The economic impact [of the America’s Cup] for our region would be tremendous," said Supervisor Dave Roberts, who noted that San Diego wouldn’t have to build a stadium.

According to the America’s Cup organizers, San Diego’s only competition for the Cup is Bermuda.

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