The America’s Cup is coming to the City By The Bay.
Imagine the breath-taking scene of the world most expensive boats tacking off the California coast as San Francisco’s natural beauty and world-reknowned bridges provide the spectacular backdrop for the world’s most prestigious yacht race.
The America’s Cup, 2013 will be held in a series of races around the world before the final 43 days of sailing near the famous Golden Gate Bridge. For the first time in the event’s 159-year history, it will be staged entirely within one harbor.
The team who wins the once in every four years trophy brings it home and has a say in where they will defend their title. Oracle software CEO Larry Ellison’s San Francisco-based BMW-Oracle Racing team captured the cup off the coast of Spain in the 2010 America’s Cup sailing for the Golden Gate Yacht Club. This immediately made San Francisco a favorite to host the next round of races for the coveted trophy. The billionaire Ellison’s considerable influence and local ties closed the deal.
The America’s Cup sailing competition was created by the Royal Yacht Squadron (RYS) located in Cowes Castle on the Isle of Wight in England. The America’s Cup, the world’s oldest trophy in International Sport, is named not for the continent, but for the first winner of the Royal Yacht Squadron’s race round the Isle by the yacht “America” .
Times have changed but this kind of event has always been a big money sport.The original RYS race around Wight for a Cup paid a prize of One Hundred Sovereigns. At the time the Yacht ‘America’ was said to cost almost $ 25,000. Racing experts say to mount a team for the 34th running of the cup would cost a minimum of 20million Euros with the top flight teams each spending more in the range of 140 million Euros. San Francisco officials estimate the 2013 regatta will bring $ 1.43 billion in economic benefit to the area along with over 8,000 jobs. Independent studies show that the America’s Cup delivers the third largest economic impact in sport to host countries, behind the Olympic Games and soccer’s World Cup.
Yacht racing has always been a sport for millionaire sportsmen but the America’s Cup is still followed by a diverse crowd. The advent of wider television distribution and more versatile sports coverage as well as on-board cameras and high-tech video has brought the audience to the contest. The Cup is now delivered to the masses, on demand or in HD. A billion-dollar day sail becomes much more interesting to the layperson when they can experience more of the excitement, danger and strategy involved at this very pinnacle of sport. The extensive television coverage and 24/7 web broadcast will bring the next America’s Cup to the every size screen at every corner of the world. The venue to be created at the San Francisco piers will also create an accessible viewing platform offering unprecedented visibility to spectators. Ellison, whose team will defend its title in 2013, said he felt a sense of responsibility to the sailing community to pick a host city that would “turn this from an elitist event into a popular sporting event.” The Event Authority and City organizers have responded by designing a zigzag course close to shoreline that will keep the fast catamarans within view.
Excitement will build over the next three years as eyes turn toward the progress in San Francisco. As the America’s Cup returns to the United States it will be at a specially designed course, at a first-time venue by a City that is opening its arms and waters to the world.
Kelly Sallaway is an Arizona based writer who once lived on a yacht.