The America’s Cup (AC) is the third biggest world sporting event behind the Olympics and the World Cup. The world’s premier regatta is held every 3-5 years. America’s Cup got its name from the schooner “The America” which was launched from New York on May 3, 1851. She sailed to England, participated in a race around the Isle of Wight, beating the British fleet and winning Queen Victoria’s 100 Guineas Cup (an award commemorating the Queen’s Jubilee year). It was dubbed “America’s Cup” in the press — and the rest is history!
On February 14, 2010, Larry Ellison and the BMW Oracle Racing Team (of San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club) sailed to victory, winning the 33rd America’s Cup in Valencia, Spain. BMW Oracle Racing become the first American team to win the America’s Cup since 1992 when America3 defeated Il Moro de Venezia off San Diego. As the winner, Larry chose San Francisco to host the next America’s Cup in 2013 – the city beat out Newport, Rhode Island and Italy to host the prestigious event.
See more info (and pictures) below on the 34th America’s Cup events (2012-2013 schedules), America’s Cup Village and Spectator Viewing:
The 34th America’s Cup – San Francisco, CA
The 34th America’s Cup consists of three different stages:
- America’s Cup World Series
- Louis Vuitton Cup
- America’s Cup Finals
America’s Cup includes qualifying matches and pre-event races around the world, with as many as 74 races over 30 days between July and September. In addition to the 45-foot catamarans, race organizers picked a new class of boats for the contest – 72-foot catamarans, capable of regularly exceeding speeds of 30 knots. Don’t be surprised to see catamarans sailing 40-50 mph in San Francisco Bay, from the Golden Gate Bridge to Treasure Island, in a mind-boggling seven minutes!
America’s Cup World Series 2012 Schedule
The America’s Cup World Series opening event took place in San Francisco (regattas combined qualifying and championship racing). The first series of races involved 11 different boats representing eight international teams. Qualifying races began on Wednesday, August 22, 2012, followed by Match Racing Quarter Finals on Thursday and Friday. We were there at the Marina Green watching the races on Friday, including the Fleet Racing at the end where all 11 boats participated – what a sight in San Francisco Bay!
Match Racing Semi Finals took place on Saturday, August 25, 2012 and the Match Racing Final Race culminated on Sunday. Oracle Team USA, with skipper Russell Coutts, won the Match Race Championship and teammate Jimmy Spithill finished first in the overall Fleet Race Championship. You couldn’t have asked for a better outcome on San Francisco Bay in front of thousands of local cheering fans!
The second AC World Series event will take place during San Francisco’s annual Fleet Week in October, before heading to Italy in April and May 2013.
Oct. 2-7, 2012 – San Francisco, CA
AC World Series 2013 Schedule
Apr. 16-21, 2013 – Venice, Italy
May 14-19, 2013 – Naples, Italy
Louis Vuitton Cup
The regatta returns to San Francisco for the Louis Vuitton Cup
Jul. 4-Sept. 1, 2013 – San Francisco
America’s Cup Finals
Races culminate in the America’s Cup Finals
Sept. 7-22, 2013 – San Francisco
America’s Cup Village
The America’s Cup Village opened on August 21, 2012. It is located at the Marina Green, overlooking San Francisco Bay. Admission is free to the public. America’s Cup merchandise can be purchased at the AC Village (I treated myself to a cute San Francisco America’s Cup t-shirt). Food, wine and beer are also available – be prepared, everything is expensive. America’s Cup Village is open daily 10am-6pm.
For the first time in America’s Cup history, spectators can watch the races up close, directly from land – along the Marina Green, Crissy Field, neighborhood high-rises and rooftops, Fisherman’s Wharf and Pier 39, and along the Embarcadero. Ticketing bleacher seating is also available in front of the America’s Cup Village – seats are pricey, but you sure can’t beat the views, especially from the top tiers. The AC Village also has a giant viewing screen where spectators can watch the best sailors in the fastest boats as they compete (each catamaran has a camera on board so you can see what’s happening real-time). Minute-by-minute race commentary is provided along the Marina Green – it makes a huge difference if you have a great sports commentator explaining what’s happening during each phase of the race. This is one of the benefits of coming down to the waterfront to watch the races live – it’s certainly one of the most exciting days we’ve experienced in San Francisco 🙂
The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Marin County, San Francisco and the East Bay hills are a magnificent backdrop to the race – televised for all the world to see! In the past, visitors could only see the America’s Cup races if they were in a boat in the middle of the ocean. Over one million spectators are expected – so be prepared for crowds if you plan to watch the races live. We recommend that you bring binoculars so you can get a better view of the competing teams. Keep a lookout for the full-scale replica of the 1851 schooner “The America” as she sails in SF Bay – she’s quite a sight!
Are you planning a trip to San Francisco (or Italy) to watch any of the America’s Cup races?