Video: Postcard from the America's Cup
All four of this past weekend’s races were great spectator sports for the non-sailing public as well as sailing fans to witness on the San Francisco Bay.
The starting buoys were just north of Crissy Field and the finish line was south east of Alcatraz Island near Pier 27 and 29.
A massive number of people watched all four races from shore, most with cameras, iPhones and binoculars to follow the action. This was the first America's Cup ever where people could watch the entire race from shore.
I scouted out the best place to watch races from after arriving in San Francisco last week.
Options considered and viewed prior to races were a). Golden Gate Bridge, near south end tower, b). Crissy Field, below south end of bridge c). America's Cup Park (near pier 27), d). America’s Cup Village (Marina Green) e). Front of St Francis Yacht Club (north of Marina Green) and e). Jetty, just past Golden Gate Yacht Club and east of St Francis Yacht Club.
With binoculars with 10 power magnification, best location to see the entire race course was from the jetty just east of Golden Gate Yacht Club (the host club of the America’s Cup, Larry Ellis is a member).
From this jetty location, many locals here recognized this is best place to see 1). 2 minute warning flags off committee boat, 2). Jockeying for position of the Oracle and Kiwi Boat at pre start, 3).starts, 4). Rounding of 1st mark (right out in front) and 5). Mark 2 bottom mark east, just outside Pier 39.
From the jetty vantage point, racing from the downhill mark all the way up to the windward mark spectators could see all the tacking duels. Being able to see the entire course from shore, at no cost, was a huge attraction for the America’s Cup Organizers to provide the public. The City of San Francisco will also make out financially, because of the organizers foresight.
With wind limits set by the Race committee at no higher than 23 knots at the beginning of all races (potentially there could be 17, unless the Kiwis shut out Oracle sooner) it was the most exciting sailboat racing spectator sport anyone watching had ever seen.
Saturday afternoon September 7th (race 1 at 1310 and the second race at 1415) and Sunday September 8th afternoon (race 3 at 1310 race 4 at 1415).
At the start of all 4 races, Jimmy Spitall, captain of Oracle, got the inside position (leeward boat), every time, nearly hitting Barker’s boat, (Captain of Team New Zealand), in the 3rd race but finally getting a protest against Barker at the start in the fourth race.
This is amazing racing, a real spectator sport. The leaders of American Samoa are to this day, unaware of the spectator sports they could host on the Pago Harbor, north of the Rainmaker Hotel property out in the middle harbor.
San Francisco clubs, bars and restaurants have been jumping all weekend because of the vision Larry Ellis had to host the America's Cup in San Francisco.
The crowd really got fired up yesterday, at the end of the Golden Gate Yacht Club jetty when Oracle crossed the finish line only 8 seconds ahead of the Kiwi's. The entire marina area after the win was very festive for the rest of the afternoon.
Jimmy Spithill, skipper for Oracle is sailing very aggressive starts, nailed Dean Barker with protest at starting line of 4th race yesterday. A real dogfight all the way down the course, back up and down again to finish. Spread... only 8 seconds!
A happy crowd all the way around. People from all over the planet are here to participate in the experience.
KEY VARIABLES IN REST OF RACES
1). Wind speed (coming in from southwest)
2). Current coming in and out of Gate. Tomorrow high tide at 1531, low tide in the morning at 0854. So slack tide for both races
3). Crew error
4). Boat breakdown
5). Possibility of fog
6). Potential protests thrown out and upheld. These boats don't have to do a 360, just low down for 20 seconds (doesn't make much sense to me)
Regards to all the sailors and sailing fans back home in American Samoa!
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