San Francisco mayor announces America's Cup teams

June 15, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
San Francisco's mayor officially welcomed the America's Cup teams that are scheduled to compete in the Bay Area for sailing's top prize in 2013. The field was supposed to close at the end of March, but the rules have changed.

The Golden Gate Yacht Club is the host club of the 34th America's Cup. As of Wednesday, there are nine teams that signed up to compete in the race, of course the more significant number is how many will actually get the funding and make it to the show.

The pictures of the Oracle catamarans racing on San Francisco Bay this week have been spectacular. Monday's capsizing was a testament to what the sailors have been saying about these boats being dangerously fast and exciting to watch.

When asked what happened in that moment, Oracle Racing CEO Russell Coutts jokingly said, "Well, we capsized."

Coutts played it for laughs at Wednesday's welcoming ceremony. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee told the teams the city's will be ready.

For San Francisco that means raising $32 million from private donors and for the event organizers it means getting teams that will commit to the considerable cost of building not just the 45-foot catamarans, but the big 72-footers that are yet to come.

"For sure it's a big jump to go from AC 45 to AC 72. In money it's a big jump, but they've set the rule so that some new teams can join," said Bruno Trouble, the managing director of Louis Vuitton.

Louis Vuitton's participation in the America's Cup believes there will be at least six challengers and U.S. Oracle team.

Phillipe Ligot is the managing director of Aleph Racing, one of two French teams.

When he was asked how many will be on the team, he said, "Uh, we should be at the very end, we should be 80 people."

That's 80 people per team, for from April until the middle or the end of summer, and that's not counting the sponsors.

"We at Vuitton, we're going to spend a quite a lot of money, we'll bring over a lot of guests, a lot of VIPs, a lot of press," said Trouble.

And that's not counting the spectators who'll come to watch.

"And I think people will jump in planes to come here from Europe they will love coming here," said Trouble.

Trouble is convinced spectators, sponsors, and the teams will add up to a great windfall for the city.

"It will bring in $1.2 billion to our economy. I'm very much in belief of that," said Lee.

The line outside the door at Reds Java hut on the bay is for hamburgers and hot dogs, not caviar and Champaign. But even Reds is thinking this is going to be good.

"Those new boats are so fast. Have you ever seen them? I saw them out, they go by here every day and they go about 40 miles per hour," said Shawn Paton from Reds Java House.

Paton says this is not your father's yacht race and he's convinced it'll bring in his kind of customers.

"I think there will be a lot of people out here watching it that aren't Champaign and caviar," said Paton.

To a large extent, the cup races and the impact of them will be made up of how the Bay Area sees the event. In San Francisco the cup has a great chance of gaining a larger

In New Zealand it was a huge popular success...in San Diego it wasn't. This next one...is the best shot the cup has ever had at appealing to a wider audience.


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