Americas Cup, SF, CA 2012-2013
A local’s guide to seeing the best yacht racing in the world!
Below is some of our ongoing description of what happened at the America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013. Further below is information we wrote in 2012 about the yacht racing that preceded the America’s Cup. Hopefully this great show returns to San Francisco again someday.
* Wednesday 9/25/13 2:00 pm. Oracle USA wins the world’s oldest international sporting trophy (1851). See news summary.
This was one of the most amazing comebacks in sports! Oracle USA was behind 8-1 and had to win 8 straight races without a losing even once in order to win the America’s Cup. And, they did it. Here are some interesting facts about this historical race: Only twice before has there been a winner-take-all race; the 34th America’s Cup was the longest match in the history of the event at 19 days; no other team in the event’s 162-year history ever won as many as 8 races in a row; four of this year’s races rank in the top 10 for all-time closest finishes; the America’s Cup outright speed record 55 mph(47.57 knots or 80 feet/second) was set by Emirates Team New Zealand this year.
Behind the scenes technology played the key role even though several of the races were close enough that human error could have changed the outcome. New Zealand won 8 of the first 11 races by crushing USA on the upwind legs. In one stretch they won 7 straight races upwind. However, in less than a week, Oracle figured out how to adjust their $10-million dollar boat just enough that they completely turned the tables by beating the Kiwis upwind for 8 straight races to win the championship. Upwind speeds were dramatically improved something like 30% in just a couple of weeks even after many months of prior practice.
Flash: Sunday 9/15/13. Today we saw races 9 & 10 from The Presidio in San Francisco. The two races were split so New Zealand is now ahead of Oracle USA 7-1 (10 races total have run so far, 2 of Oracles race wins did not count due to penalties) where 9 wins are needed to get the America’s Cup. The good news is that in the last three races Oracle did beat New Zealand upwind (Oracle won 2 of these races) after previously losing seven straight races upwind. Race 8 has been the most spectacular race since New Zealand came within a hair of completely turning over. Look at this great replay (go about 29 minutes in from the start of race 8, the second video down on the page)!
What: Two match races/day (1:10 pm & 2:10 pm) on every other day starting Sat 9/7 and lasting up to Sat 9/21/13 unless a winner (first to win 9 races in up to 17 races) is determined earlier.
When: 9/7-9/21/13. See venues & schedules. Here is another schedule which also shows the Red Bull Youth and the SuperYacht races running 9/1-9/13/13.
Where: San Francisco Bay from Golden Gate Bridge to America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29. The America’s Cup Village at the Marina is one good spot to see most of the race. Both venues offer live racing with commentary on big screen monitors.
Emirates Team New Zealand will compete with Oracle Team USA in the world’s most important sail boat race. These teams will be sailing the biggest, fastest, trickiest, most expensive catamarans ever invented. The venue is spectacular … the boats have never been closer to spectators in history… and it’s right here in SF. This is a once-in-a-lifetime event is something you’ll want to tell your grandkids about.
The 34th Americas Cup, San Francisco, CA, 2012-2013, features the fastest sailboats and best sailors in the world. For the first time in history this famous race will be held close to shore (less than 100 yards vs 10 miles or so out in sea) and every effort is being made to enhance spectator enjoyment.
We can personally vouch that there will likely never be a better opportunity to see these amazing boats in action. For example, on the first SF World Series Finals event, held Sunday, 8/27/12, we saw two amazing races from up close to the finish line less than a football field away. In the match race between the top two boats, after 1/2 hour of sailing they finished less than 1 second apart. In the fleet race, with 11 boats racing, the first boat almost flipped at the finish line and second boat finished 3 seconds later after passing the third place boat during the last 45 seconds.
The weather was beautiful for both watching and sailing with winds ranging from 18-23 knots. Over 40,000 spectators were there but free spots for close-in viewing along the shoreline were still available. Boats and helicopters were everywhere. America’s two racing boats, both from Oracle, were in the match race and one also won the week’s fleet races (by a single point). It was fantastic!
The details below will be updated throughout year to provide an quick, easy place for locals to find what they need to know for the next race.
Americas Cup Village
America’s Cup Village at Marina Green is at the center of action for the Americas Cup World Series and entrance is FREE. There are several booths and events here to add to the entertainment. The racing boats are anchored just off shore and the races also end right here. Running commentary on the races is provided by loudspeakers and, as elsewhere all along the shoreline, you can see the race for FREE.
More entertainment by a flying aqua-man is seen on the left.
Americas Cup World Series information
Here is some good information to review before attending:
- World Series course maps and venue maps along with race & TV schedules and ticket information.
- Public transportation, biking, & parking information. Parking will likely be a challenge, especially if you don’t know the city well. However, we did not have any problem finding parking in the Presidio; it is free on Sundays. If you live in the city going by bicycle is probably best.
- Thrills & spills expected as per the SJ Mercury News.
- Future Races: There will be a long series of related sailboat racing events in San Francisco, over 55 racing days in all, during 2012-2013. The last round of the AC World Series was be run in San Francisco from 10/2/12-10/7/12 during Fleet Week. Then the most of the racers go to Venice and Naples, Italy, for two more AC World Series events before returning for the Louis Vuitton Challenge Cup Competitions.
America’s Cup World Series Event (already held 10/2/12-10/7/12)
The Americas Cup World Series (AC World Series) was designed to give competitors a chance to practice using these tricky somewhat dangerous boats as well as to build spectator interest around the world. During the AC World Series they are sailing five-man AC45 catamarans with 45′ hulls (for easier shipping to events around the world) and 70′ tall masts that can go over 30 mph.
Louis Vuitton Challenge Cup 7/4/13-9/1/13
From July 4, 2013, to Sept 1, 2013, the teams will race on San Francisco Bay in Louis Vuitton Cup competitions to determine who will be the eventual challenger to Oracle in the 2013 America’s Cup Finals. See exact schedule.
The boats used in the Vuitton Cup and the Americas Cup will be much bigger, trickier 11-man AC72 catamarans. These are the largest, most sophisticated & expensive racing catamarans ever made with 72ft hulls and 131ft tall masts capable of going over 40 mph. Crash helmets are definitely needed! Should they flip over crew members can experience free falls of 70 feet (the height of a 7-story building).
From now until the Vuitton Cup teams will testing their new 72ft boats on SF Bay. They need all the practice they can get since even the smaller similar 45ft boats used during the World Series are easy to pitch-pole head over heels when the front hull sinks in during a turn. See video of Oracle’s 40ft AC45 boat flipping in SF; note the falling bodies.
Latest News: Oct 17, 2012, one of Oracle’s AC72 boats flipped during a practice session. Damage to its hi-tech wingsail will reduce their practice time.
America’s Cup Finals 9/7/13-9/23/13
The America’s Cup Match Finals will be held between the previous Americas Cup winner, Oracle Racing Team, and the eventual Louis Vuitton Cup winner. Two match races per day will start 9/7/13. The first boat to win nine races will be declared the new Americas Cup winner; this could happen as early as 9/11/13 or conceiveably take until 9/23/13 . See the overall racing schedule and a map of the Final’s course.