Since the beginning, back when Larry Ellison - the current holder of the America's Cup, under the flag of the official Cup defender, the Golden Gate Yacht Club - announced that San Francisco would be the venue for both the Louis Vuitton Cup challenger elimination match races and the America's Cup finals, the on-shore battles between event supporters and critics have overshadowed the actual events.
Charges, counter-charges and counter-counter-charges flew back and forth almost daily, involving everything from the rights to display ultra-expansive handbags and purses on-site, to accusations of cheating against USA team Oracle, which Ellison heads. While the battle over displayed purses was short-lived and of little consequence, the cheating issue is still being resolved, with some America's Cup elders calling for a life-time ban from competitive sailing for Ellison himself if the accusations hold-up.
But now those problems, plus the usual "who's going to pay for all this?" cries that always seem to accompany major events that include substantial municipal involvement and funding, have faded considerably, a direct result of the sheer visual drama of the AC72 wing-sailed catamarans being sailed in the event, plus the amazing attention to every detail involved in the production of an event of this scale.
So far, practically every support event leading up to the America's Cup match - scheduled to begin September 7, 2013 - has been on-time and well-managed, in no small part because of the paid and volunteer staff who seem to be everywhere in and outside the venues. The volunteer staffers seem to appear from out of nowhere whenever a venue guest even looks like they have a question. Even more amazingly, the information is accurate.
All things considered, the America's Cup event, despite shaky beginnings, is finally on-track and living up to the promises made by organizers.