On Tuesday, March 28, the San Fran-cisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the agreement to host the 34th America’s Cup on San Francisco Bay in 2013, also approving the schedule for America’s Cup World Series races later this year. This was the final hurdle as the America’s Cup Event Authority begins new development on Piers 27 and 29 for the America’s Cup Village and Race headquarters, as well as creating an area for team bases on contentious Piers 30–32. An accord was reached for an $8.5 million retrofit to the worst sections of Piers 30–32 instead of the $50 million reconstruction originally considered.
While there may still be legal battles ahead, this landmark agreement sets the stage for two years of exciting racing on the Bay and the opportunity for Bay Area businesses to see over a billion dollars in revenue generated by new development and race spectators.
There was concern in early March that the 2012 America’s Cup World Series (ACWS) races originally scheduled here would be relocated to New York as a way to develop a wider fan base. However, with approvals now in hand, San Francisco Bay will host the ACWS match series from August 21 to 26 and again from October 4 to 7.
The ACWS is an opportunity for teams to gear up for the America’s Cup Challenge in 2013 and features exciting racing formats, including one-on-one matches and fleet races. The super-light and super-fast multihull AC45 catamarans are powered by a wing that towers 70 feet tall and are capable of speeds of 30 knots (35 miles per hour). Each AC45 has a five-man crew that is required to be physical, nimble and extremely athletic, plus have a daredevil’s will to risk it all by taking these boats to their limits.
The 2011–2012 ACWS season finishes up with April races in Naples, Italy; May in Venice, Italy; and concludes in Newport, R.I. in June. The full schedule as well as news and updates can be found at www.americascup.com.
The schedule approved for 2013 has the Louis Vuitton Challenger Series on San Francisco Bay from July 4, 2013 through Sept. 1, 2013. The America’s Cup Final Match will begin Sept. 7, 2013, pitting the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup against the defending Oracle Racing Team USA in a best-of-five series.
Both the Challenger Series and Final Match will be raced on even larger and faster AC72s. Not only will this be the first time in the 162-year history of the America’s Cup that the event is held in San Francisco, it marks the first time that the event may be viewed so easily by spectators in the natural amphitheater that surrounds our bay. Races will be televised internationally, and for the first time in 20 years will be broadcast free in the U.S. Live coverage will also stream online at www.youtube.com/americascup (where you can currently watch exciting AC45 videos).
Making the race broadcasts even more viewer-friendly is the new LiveLine computer-generated graphics and streaming data system that provides real-time information superimposed over the live racing action. This technology was developed by the Bay Area’s own Stan Honey and the same team responsible for the yellow first-down line on NFL broadcasts, the KZone strike zone on MLB broadcasts, and the RaceFX tracking system used for Nascar. In keeping with the technological advances of the new AC boats, the LiveLine data and graphics system has received an Emmy nomination for extraordinary technical innovation.
It’s definitely getting exciting on the Bay – the race is on!