Independent from the America's Cup match races, the event involves eight teams, 11 boats, 55 sailors from 12 countries, and it's just a tune-up for the sailors and the city. The World Series races will literally give the teams a chance to test the waters. "The challenge with the bay is it's different every day, the tides, the wind, the fog. Not only that, but we've got other competitors to deal with," Jimmy Spithill said.
Spithill is the captain of the defending champion, the Bay Area's own Oracle Team USA, operated by high-tech billionaire Larry Ellison. Asked if there is a hometown advantage in sailing he said, "I certainly hope so. Look, that's one thing we want to see, is all the locals down here supporting us," he told ABC7 news.
The buzz is building. Spectators walked along the shore snapping pictures of the 45-foot catamarans Tuesday. This is the first time fans can see races like this from the shore rather than miles away. "We want to see closely as much as we can to take advantage, to be around the bay area," one spectator said.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee took a ride last week on the Oracle boat. He still believes that by the time all is said and done, the races this week and the America's Cup itself will be a financial boom even though rough sailing in the world's economy has reduced the number of teams participating in the finals next year. Asked about the economic benefit for the city of San Francisco Lee said, "The main benefit for the city is $1 billion of spending throughout the whole Bay Area for people doing everything from hotels and restaurants to registrations to the registration here."
Lee also says approximately 8,000 jobs will be created.