Last weekend, I finally made it down to the Bay to watch the AC-72s race in the Louis Vuitton Cup final – the prelude to the America’s Cup race series, which will begin on September 7. The current Cup races are exciting in that you can see them from the shore, and don’t need to be on an expensive boat. All you need to do is get to either the America’s Cup “park” at Pier 29, or someplace like Pier 39, the Jeremiah O’Brien (last of the “Liberty Ships” from WWII, or Marina Green. All will provide good views of at least part of the race course, fog permitting.
The America’s Cup is one of the longest-running trophy series in the world, having been going on for 162 years. It has a very interesting and eclectic history, including races held around the world, politics, money, and the occasional crazed Maori. The current defenders of the Cup, San Francisco’s Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, got to specify many of the rules and guidelines under which this year’s races are being run.
The first Cup race back in 1851 was won by the first Schooner America, competing against 15 British boats off the Isle of Wight. The current Schooner America is a replica of that boat. She’s in town now, as the picture shows, but back around 2005 or 6, I got to sail and play on her down in Key West. Playing songs like “Southern Cross” on a boat with that much history…it gave me chills.
It was also fascinating to look at the “superyachts” tied up for the duration, and to spend time in a couple of the on-site bars at the Park. Apparently some of the fixtures in the Sports Bar came from the Oracle AC-72 that pitch-poled and was destroyed a few months back. The drinks are tasty, but way overpriced.
Anyway, I had an exciting and fun day, even if I *did* get sunburned. In San Francisco. City of foggy days.
Getting to the Village and a viewing location like Pier 39 can be as easy as parking your car at a BART station in the East Bay (especially on the weekends), taking BART to Embarcadero Station in San Francisco, and heading north along the waterfront. If you can’t walk the mile or so to Pier 39, there are buses and pedicabs that can take you the distance.
The Cup races themselves begin on September 7, and run in a best-of-17 series between Oracle USA and Team Emirates (New Zealand). It’s a great time of year to visit the City by the Bay, and if you’re here for the races, maybe you’ll see me wandering around somewhere! Get all the info you need on the America’s Cup series on their Website.