On a day when the World Series Trophy was trotted out to pose with the America’s Cup, a group of about 250 or so sailing luminaries, America’s Cup personnel, City staff, media and local sailors showed up to celebrate San Francisco winning the right to host the 34th America’s Cup. Wednesday afternoon’s event, held in the City Hall Rotunda, provided some insight into where the Cup is headed and why the venue selection took so long.
In his opening remarks, outgoing Mayor Gavin Newsom admitted that he didn’t fully appreciate what a big deal the Cup would be at the outset of the venue selection process before dropping the soundbite of the day: "A race that is often hard to see will be impossible to miss."
With skiing Olympic Medalist and Bay Area sailor Jonny Moseley passing the mic as the Master of Ceremonies, Newsom was followed by Craig Thompson and Richard Worth, CEO and Chairman respectively of the America’s Cup Event Authority, who outlined the plan for the America’s Cup World Series and the media coverage of the event. Oracle Racing owner Larry Ellison took to the lectern too, explaining his sailing roots and their connection to the Bay. Throughout the course of the three-hour event, there were some interesting revelations. Regarding the 11th-hour and 59th-minute selection of San Francisco, and the volleys between the team and the City, both Newsom and Ellison made it clear that it was business as usual.
"The level of negotiations were appropriate for an event of this magnitude," Newsom said, adding that the process was advantageous for both sides and that what appeared to be significant friction between the City and the team was "wildly overplayed."
Ellison went on to claim that the major delay was caused by having to perform engineering assessments on the Northern Waterfront option at a late stage in the game. Regardless of whether any of that was true, the fact that the two appeared to be on the same page is essential to the success of the event, because as Newsom noted, "There’s still an extraordinary amount of work to be done."
There were plenty of specific tidbits about how the Cup will look on the Bay, but we simply don’t have space for them here. In order to get that information to you, we will be putting up an America’s Cup FAQ on www.latitude38.com hopefully by early next week — we’ll keep you posted. In the meantime, if you have a question, send it here and we’ll try to address it.