My America’s Cup Experience: Two days in San Francisco

Published on August 7th, 2013

By Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt
Riding the BART train from San Francisco International airport, I exited two blocks from the Bay on Market Street. At lunch time there is the ebb and flow of the downtown workforce. People seem to seek out the water to recover from cubicle cramp.

Arriving at the end of Market Street, the options are to shop and snack at the Ferry Building Marketplace, turn left to the America’s Cup Park (Piers 27/28) or go right to the Kiwi and Italian bases (Piers 30/32). I went right.

The plan for all teams to be based at Piers 30/32 didn’t work out. Neither did the public access. Big fences. Security guards. The Kiwi and Italian teams have elaborate set-ups for boat needs and sponsor fulfillment. This will also be where the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup teams will be based. Perhaps that section of the pier will have access.

Red’s Java House is adjacent to Piers 30/32. Great burger. The America’s Cup hasn’t delivered to them the commercial windfall. The Pier is normally a car parking lot, and their customers are the car drivers. No cars, no people, no windfall.

The span from the bases to the AC Park is too long to walk. I didn’t pause to learn to use the public transportation. I looked for a pedi-cab but a car cab found me first.

The America’s Cup Park is impressive. Lots of stimulation. Raise your credit card limit. Lots of things to buy. Lots of places to hang out. Located along the wharf; a welcome rest stop to the weary tourist. Can’t help but draw people in.

The annual America’s Cup Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Monday, abandoning its eastern roots to corral the San Francisco crowd. Not cheap, but open to the public. Rub elbows with tuxedoed rock stars. Rare opportunity to appreciate the community within the America’s Cup. Same vibe as any competitive class. What brings us together is our common bond.

A cab ride on Tuesday to the Oracle base is an adventure toward a less glamorous span of Bay waterfront. Not a cheap fare but at least the cabbie knew how to get there. Eighteen months ago, I had to provide directions. Progress, right.

Marketing is in motion. Every cab ride provided me with advertisement. Billboards too. Even the SF Chronicle newspaper was wrapped in event information.

Watched challenger race from a boat. Must have audio from VHF or AC app. Tried accessing live online video feed but connection was limited. Race looked closer than it was; AC72 speed and race course length limits ability to watch closely.

The start time for the challenger races moved from 12:15 to 1:15. Now races are at the end of lunch hour rather than the beginning. Perhaps the lunch crowd will be replaced by the ticket buying crowd. Some of the shore viewing now requires a ticket.

Didn’t visit with Artemis Racing. Only team not based in San Francisco. Perhaps symbolic. Geographically removed. Competitively removed too.

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