What is happening with the “Summer of Sailing”?

Published on June 6th, 2013

Iconic as the Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco’s fog is world-famous too. And as the approach of summer elevates the fog season into high gear, it could explain the inability to clearly see what has happened to the much ballyhooed “Summer of Sailing” theme touted by the America’s Cup Event Authority.

Now four weeks after the America’s Cup training accident that destroyed the Artemis Racing AC72 and killed crewman Andrew Simpson, there still remains complete uncertainty as to the challenger race schedule that is to begin on July 7 and continue through August.

For an America’s Cup completely designed around the needs of the spectator, this entertainment event could soon be rebranded the “Summer of Sustainability”.

While the America’s Cup website continues to promote the original race schedule involving the three challengers, and is selling spectator tickets for that schedule, it is becoming quite clear that there are changes that will be made. If you have already made your travel plans, perhaps you would enjoy instead a tour of Alcatraz Island, or a ride on a cable car.

The challengers have been in meetings this week to sort it out, with two variables factoring into the equation. First is the growing reality that Artemis Racing will not be ready in time. This does not eliminate them, but it does affect the schedule. The other reality is that the safety recommendations want to reduce the number of races to allow for more maintenance periods.

“What happens then through the rest of July on what days, involving what teams is still up in the air,” said Tom Ehman, Vice Commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The implications of having so few races are significant to Cup organizers, the city of San Francisco and others. Tickets have been pre-sold, corporate sponsor events have been set and other business tied to the event will be affected.

“Don’t forget, America’s Cup is and always has been about the America’s Cup match – the finals, which is the big deal,” Ehman said.

Of course he is right, except the City would need an active race schedule in July and August to help pay for its estimated cost of $22.5 million. Two weeks in September won’t cut it.

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