During the America’s Cup final, thousands of spectators swarmed the San Francisco Bay, some crowded at onshore vantage points, eager for a clear look (and maybe a photo!) of the action.
UPDATE ON THE FUTURE AMERICA’S CUP
The year 2013 was a historic one for San Francisco: The city played host to the 34th America’s Cup (AC) regatta—one of the most exciting events in San Francisco’s history and one of the greatest comeback stories in sports history as well.
The 162-year-old AC is the oldest sport trophy event in the world, first awarded by the Royal Yacht Squadron for a race around England’s Isle of Wight in 1851.
While wintering in San Francisco, in January I lunched with Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which represents defending champion Oracle Team USA. He said the San Francisco event was the “best ever” and asked, “How can you imagine doing it anyplace else?”
Likewise, America’s Cup Organizing Committee Chair Mark Buell said, “[Oracle owner] Larry [Ellison] delivered on his vision: the fastest boat, the latest technology, and the best sailors. And San Francisco delivered on its promise: the best venues for spectators to watch the races and a spectacular setting. We’re all hoping the America’s Cup will race here again.”
Fans are awaiting news about the location for the next Cup in 2017. Most think it will be San Francisco again, but negotiations have not been finalized.
Oracle CEO Russell Coutts and the city of San Francisco are clashing over the cost to taxpayers and the benefits of hosting the Cup. Supporters say San Francisco received international attention and press coverage you couldn’t buy at any price.
More important than potential revenue, the racing events turned the waterfront into a free community playground for Bay Area citizens, their families, and visitors.
Since racing took place close to shore, spectators enjoyed unprecedented views of the race amid stunning scenery.
Other cities being considered include San Diego, which hosted the Cup in 1988, 1992, and 1995, and Hawaii, where billionaire Oracle owner Larry Ellison owns the island of Lanai. Rumors are swirling that Long Beach and Newport, R.I. are in the mix as well. As SFGate.com has written, “Stay tuned. It’s never dull around Cup negotiations.”
For a taste of what it was like to be a spectator at various venues during the 2013 Cup, read my dispatch: