America’s Cup: Five reasons San Diego and Bermuda should host
Published on July 13th, 2014
The candidates to host the America’s Cup in 2017 are down to San Diego and Bermuda. U-T San Diego sports writer Bill Center and Bermuda Sun Deputy Sports Editor Don Burgess state their case for why the event should be hosted in their respective homes…
THE ARENA: San Diego Bay is likely the world’s best venue for “arena sailing.” Oracle USA CEO Russell Coutts and skipper James Spithill are on record agreeing on that. Viewer areas and supporting America’s Cup “villages” could easily be constructed along San Diego’s Embarcadero and waterfront piers, Coronado and Harbor Island. The racers would never be out of sight. Better even than San Francisco. Far superior to Bermuda, where the races would have to be offshore.
SHORESIDE FACILITIES: San Diego already has in place the shore facilities needed by the up to five teams expected to compete in the challenger semifinals and finals of the 35th America’s Cup. San Diego hosted larger fleets for the RC-44 championships in 2011 and the America’s Cup World Series event in 2012 without any problems. The Broadway and B Street piers would easily house the teams and the media, with no new construction required. The organization to run the event is also already in place.
CONNECTIONS: The official defender of the America’s Cup (Golden Gate Yacht Club) is in California, not Bermuda. There is no precedent for a U.S. defender to host a defense in a foreign land. San Diego already has strong ties to the defending Oracle USA organization, which trained in San Diego for almost two years while preparing for its successful challenge in 2010.
HISTORY: San Diego has had involvement in the America’s Cup since 1967. It hosted three defenses, in 1988, 1992 and 1995 when the protocol called for the races to be sailed far offshore. Skipper Dennis Conner won the America’s Cup for San Diego Yacht Club in 1987 off Fremantle, Western Australia. Plus, San Diego annually stages more major races than any other area in the world. The skilled personnel needed to administer an event such as the America’s Cup is in place.
SAILING CONDITIONS: The event would be held in June and the first week of July in 2017. Normal conditions call for steady afternoon breezes of 8-12 knots on San Diego Bay, perfect conditions for the 62-foot catamarans that ride on their foils at 7 knots. Not only will the new America’s Cup courses fit perfectly on San Diego Bay, the shape of the area would eliminate the need for the out-of-bounds barriers needed in San Francisco and in Bermuda to keep the boats bunched together. Weather in Bermuda is far more variable.
THE ARENA: Bermuda’s Great Sound is a natural amphitheater. From Dockyard all along the South Shore and then back around to Spanish Point, there will be plenty of locations for viewers to watch the racing just offshore. The backdrop of the tiny islets dotting the edge of the Sound, with its lush greenery and pastel-colored houses, will provide a stunning view for the TV audience. – Read on