World-class sailing – as it’s never been seen before – is a main attraction with the 34th America’s Cup hosted in San Francisco during 2013. For the first time in history, the City by the Bay will host the “oldest trophy in international sport,” ushering in a new era of sailing, bringing lasting waterfront improvements to the city and giving a significant economic boost to the entire Bay Area.
Boasting consistent strong winds and plenty of waterfront and hilltop locations from which to view the Bay, San Francisco is a natural amphitheater for the America’s Cup. Called the “Bay Arena” by race organizers, the city’s geography provides spectators with an unusually close experience with the races, which have been traditionally played out on the open ocean and seen almost exclusively from television.
“San Francisco’s natural amphitheater, incredible weather and the amount of wind create a very reliable – and exciting – setting for the America’s cup,” says Peter Rusch, spokesperson for the America's Cup.
The 34th America’s Cup consists of three main stages: The America’s Cup World Series (which took place in the fall of 2012); The Louis Vuitton Cup and the America’s Cup Challenger Series (July 4 – September 1, 2013); and the America’s Cup Finals (September 7 – 22, 2013).
An estimated 150,000 people visited the America’s Cup Village during the 2012 trials and hundreds of thousands more came to watch the America’s Cup World Series hosted in conjunction with Fleet Week in October 2012. The America’s Cup Finals are expected to attract up to 500,000 people on peak race days.
“The response from the public has exceeded our expectations,” said America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay of the spectacular turnout at the first series of events held in the city.
New technology is also bringing the races closer to spectators than ever before. Between four and seven custom cameras are put in the boats, allowing for high definition video to be captured from every angle and displayed live at the America’s Cup Village and on television. Crewmembers are connected with wireless microphones, giving viewers an even closer experience as the battles unfold on the Bay.
Along with the America’s Cup, a wide range of improvements are now happening along San Francisco’s waterfront. Piers 30-32 will undergo a major renovation to serve as home-base for teams during the Cup. Investments are also being made to the James R. Herman Cruise Terminal at Piers 27-29, which will host the America’s Cup Village during the races and later serve as the city’s primary cruise terminal. In total, as much as $100 million will be invested in port property to prepare for the America’s Cup.
"The America’s Cup agreement represents an unprecedented investment into our waterfront," said San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee. "The agreement also accelerates key infrastructure improvements and protects open water views for the public.”
Public transportation is also getting a makeover. A new Muni line will run from Caltrain to Fisherman’s Wharf. A shuttle will be added between the Ferry Building and Fisherman’s Wharf, and from the Embarcadero to West Portal. Extra service will be added to BART and other regional transit centers as well.
As one of the largest sporting competitions in the world, the economic benefits of hosting the America’s Cup in San Francisco are significant. From developing the event facilities, to housing and supporting the racing teams, to hosting and entertaining spectators, the series of sailing regattas are expected to generate over 8,000 jobs and over $1 billion in economic activity across the region. Thanks to the workforce plan created by city and race officials, at least 30 percent of certain race-related contracts are awarded to small, local businesses and local residents are filling at least half of certain new entry-level hires.
The San Francisco Chamber of Commerce has played an important role in supporting the city’s bid to bring the America’s Cup to San Francisco. The Chamber is also helping to inform local businesses about Cup-related business opportunities and serves as an in-house procurement resource for America’s Cup competitors seeking to connect with products and services.
“The 34th America’s Cup is a tremendous opportunity for San Francisco,” said Hathaway Dinwiddie Construction president & CEO and 2013 Chamber Board Chair Greg Cosko. “The Chamber is proud to welcome the Cup to our city and open our doors to the thousands of spectators who will be visiting and watching the races from across the world.”
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
July 4 – Opening Ceremony
July 7 – Opening Series
July 9-August 2 – Louis Vuitton Cup Round Robins & Defender Trials • Up to 21 days of racing
August 3-16 – Louis Vuitton Cup Semi Finals & Defender Trials • Up to 7 days of racing
August 17-30 – Louis Vuitton Cup Final • Up to 7 days of racing
September 1-4 Red Bull Youth America’s Cup • 4 days of racing
September 7 – America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 8 – America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 9 – Super Yacht Regatta
September 10 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 11 – Super Yacht Regatta
September 12 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 13 – Super Yacht Regatta
September 14 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 15 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 17 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 19 - America’s Cup Finals • 2 races
September 21 - America’s Cup Finals • 1 race
ORIGINS OF THE CUP
1851 - The yacht America, representing the young New York Yacht Club, beats the British Royal Yacht to win the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100 Pound Cup.
1851 - New York Yacht Club Commodore, John Cox Stevens, and the rest of his ownership donated the trophy to the club, and stated that it was to be “a perpetual challenge cup for friendly competition between nations.”
1870 – Englishman James Ashbury is the very first Challenger. There were disputes over racing conditions, prompting a second challenge the following year.
1899-1930 – Sir Thomas Lipton, Irish/Scottish tea baron, challenged five times, losing every time, but was the first to introduce sports sponsorship.
1858 – Cup began racing again after World War II, marking the beginning of the 12-metre era and the end of the J-Class.
1970 – There was more than one club interested in challenging the Defender, creating a challenger competition.
1983 – French malletier Louis Vuitton became involved with the Cup, supporting the Challenger Selection Series that became known as the Louis Vuitton Cup.
1983 – After 132 years in the New York Yacht Club, America’s Cup leaves and goes to Australia, after they won the Louis Vuitton Cup and went on to win the final.
1987 – Dennis Conner, representing the San Diego Yacht Club, became the Challenger and won the America’s Cup, shutting out the competition 4-0.
1988 – A lawsuit takes place over Conner’s win because two different types of boats were used. The results stood after he won the lawsuit.
1988 – A new design rule was put in place for all boats, that all boats must look similar, but designers had enough leeway to make an impact on boat speed.
1992 – Bill Koch, American billionaire, beat New Zealand to win the 29th America’s Cup.
1995 – Ernesto Bertaerlli, a Swiss Bio-Tech entrepreneur, built a team from the ground up which included losing teammates from New Zealand, and went on to win the Cup and take it to Europe for the first time in America’s Cup history.
1999 – Team New Zealand, led by Sir Peter Blake, wins against Italy; making it the first America’s Cup to be contested without an American challenger or defender.
2003 – The Swiss ship, Alinghi, wins the America’s Cup, with a number of original members of team New Zealand.
2010 – Oracle Team USA wins the Cup, bringing it back to America for the first time since 1995.