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America's Cup - Smooth Sailing Ahead
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Jan 26, 2012, 3:38 PM

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Submitted by Jonathan Weston, who wrote this article as an assignment for a Journalism class he's taking at Oregon State University.

America's Cup - Smooth Sailing Ahead

Grab your Topsider's, the environmental challenges keeping the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco at bay have been tossed overboard. All environmental impact report
challenges were cleared by the Board of Supervisors on January 25th. It's time to raise the sails for the third stop on the new America's Cup World Series in 2012 and the biggest sailing event on the planet, The America's Cup, in late summer 2013.

The hope for a 140-foot JumboTron-carrying barge in Aquatic Park for the America's Cup was sunk after members of Telegraph Hill Dwellers, GG Audubon Society, Sierra Club, and Dolphin Swim & Boat club blasted the plan. Yet sails were raised as the elimination of that "red herring" proposal helped secure the Board of Supervisors' unanimous rejection of two environmental impact report appeals.

What makes this the most exciting news for sailing, hi-tech and speed enthusiasts from around the world is the arena that has been set for this "Superbowl of Sailing." For the first time in its 161 year running, America's Cup racing can be seen from shore. Better yet, the wind will be free for spectators flocking in from around the globe to witness what promises to be the most exciting multihull sailboat racing in history.

Construction on docks, media centers, and everything but the Jumbotron can soon commence (with permits in hand) "This is the first America's Cup that can be viewed entirely from the shore," says Peter Albert, Manager, SFMTA Urban Planning Initiatives. "Main viewing areas expected in 2012 for the Americas Cup Series racing are Marina Green, Fort Mason, Aquatic Park, and Crissy Field. In 2013, viewing will also be had from the media center at Piers 27/29."

Much had to happen for this event to move forward, aside from Larry Ellison's Oracle BMW victory in Spain to bring the Cup back to US waters. Even congress had to pass legislation, the America's Cup Act of 2011, to allow foreign vessels, which included team support vessels, the right to operate in our waters. In previous Americas Cup racing in San Diego, Cup racing took place far offshore in International waters. Only those who paid the price for a ride aboard a spectator vessel gained sight of those prestigious competitions.

A warm-up event, the America's Cup Series, will take place this year in July on 45 foot catamarans. Already travelling at mach speeds faster than the wind, they will up the ante for the real deal on the Big Kahunas, 72-foot death defying AC sailing machines.

"If people want to pay for more "programmed" events with specialized viewing amenities, entertainment, etc., those will be available for pay and the revenue's help off-set the costs of conducting the events," says Albert.

Magnanimous preparations have been heating up the drawing board by the America's Cup Event Authorities and the city planning initiatives headed by Albert. "We estimate over $1 billion in revenues and over 8000 jobs are part of the legacy of hosting this Event. We also expect major transportation and facility improvements that will last after the Event is over."

The People Plan, co-authored by Peter Albert, can be viewed online here. It describes these legacies, as do other plans in their respective realms. One thing is for certain, that once these yachts are built and on display, every Jack and Jill from Telegraph Hill will be lining the shores to witness these techno-behemoths tear up the water.


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