The America’s Cup remained touch and go on Saturday with the wind blowing in the wrong direction for the course and the racers declining the alternate course regatta director Iain Murray offered Friday night. The teams had no time to study the alternate. So, as luck would have it, the rain turned out to be no matter and the sky cleared to a beautiful clean blue as the race was called on account of—wait for it—not too much wind—not too little wind—but on account of the wind being in the wrong direction.
Racers would be unable to finish the course within the required time, forty minutes. Each team went through pre-start manuevers near the Golden Gate Bridge. Team members prepared the Code 0 and hoisted the jib, one sailor scaling the forestay to do so, others bouncing on the trampoline to keep warm in the magical mist as the sun burned through the solid blanket of gray clouds.
Kiwi Jack and family support ORACLE TEAM USA
It was still fun to mingle and have a nice flute of Mumm rose' and sit in their outdoor salon with the princess or fairy tale white furniture and transparent chairs, like glass slippers. Today since I didn’t have to stay in the media center and there was no poster signing, I ended up meeting the highly sought after Kiwi that supports ORACLE.
I can’t divulge the family but there they were, in the Moa Bar with Jack the son wearing the pirate eye patch. I had to take the picture and swear them to secrecy but Jack wants the front page, so this is the best I can do. When I took the picture however and said somebody hold up the American flag, a Kiwi woman jumped up from another table and waved her own flag high. It’s a phenomenon I have noticed quietly about the Kiwis, if an American flag is flying, a Kiwi will quietly get behind it and wave the Kiwi flag a little higher.
Related: Poster signing by ORACLE TEAM USA
Poster signing with Macfarlane and Ward of ETNZ
Related: Poster signing by ETNZ
Wind and time limits
But getting back to the dreaded wind and time limits. Other races on the Bay, starting soon, would not have such complications so if the pavilion were to be left open to the public then conceivably, sailing would continue before a broader and more diverse audience as the Cup meant sailing to be. That would include all the ancillary sports like paddle boarding and the dinghy regattas. Locals and international visitors do seem to enjoy the park and I have not heard one complaint whatsoever all summer, except about prices although admission is free to the public.
The pavilion is a comfortable, beautiful and family friendly place. I myself enjoy going to the office, the media center which is full of the comaraderie one would expect among so many writers and photographers with a common interest. It’s really fun meeting Australians and Kiwis whether fans or part of the teams. Check out the great pictures in the slideshow. I am going to miss those poster signings where kids will even put up both shoes and then both socks with feet still in them for autographs.
Some fans had come on Saturday morning with umbrellas and some cheered the sailors at the dock out show as the rain poured. It wasn’t cold, it wasn’t windy. Inside the media center the lingering journalists brought out the foulies and kept busy on their laptops or cell phones and had another cup of Nespresso from the lounge. Nespresso put up a mural saying “Nespresso, the only cup worth having”.
Today would be the day the San Francisco America’s Cup tied with the 2003 Cup as the longest in history, said regatta director Iain Murray.
It’s hard on the out-of-town journalists but the locals seem to take it all in stride. It came up in the press conference where regatta director Iain Murray faced what media came alone. Murray sounded calm if not tired and disappointed but not angry or defensive. He understood but he has responsibilities to many.
One journalist spoke on behalf of a Kiwi couple who had flown in for the last days of the race and had to fly home in the morning, the race unseen. Journalists are working people too and have domestic responsibilities, such as cats who have gotten sick in the owner’s long absence, bills needing to be attended to, budgets, other commitments. San Francisco is the most expensive city in the world and journalists are by no means wealthy, like most artists. Plus the fall is upon us.
The Bay itself will have other races this fall with the Big Boat Series starting.
The Coast Guard will not stop the America’s Cup however. Iain Murray spoke with the representative. He went on to explain calmly all the things going on behind the postponements. Contracts with media have a lot to do with the limited time frame each afternoon. That’s why the racing can’t start earlier or later. After all, the point of this America’s Cup has been to broaden and diversity the audience.
The racers and boats are quality and should have perfect conditions
He also said years of the teams’ lives have gone into this and the racers deserve perfect conditions as promised. These are not just ordinary sailors they are accomplished athletes. “Quality” as Murray described the sailors, as well as the boats. The sailing continues to develop he said, with ORACLE sailing 30 knots in 16 knots of wind.
Daily, the America’s Cup does have “big numbers” for expenses, including the employee wages, the fueling costs for the helicopters and all the support boats plus the fleet of Lexus cars, the power needed to operate the pavilion and so on.
Meanwhile, the Cup’s media center had an embellishment to the drawing on the front window today. The Kiwi cartoonist added, “Welcome to Hotel California, you can check in but you can never leave”. The America’s Cup seems to have a sense of mirth about the whole deal and the notation appeared on the website today as well.
Racing resumes Sunday, September 22, 2013 with two races scheduled, starting at 1:15.
Related: See the AC in person now or never
For more information: www.AmericasCup.com
Check out youth sailing around the Bay at www.SailSFBay.org, particularly the 75 year old program on Oakland’s Lake Merritt.
The America’s Cup pavillion is along the Embarcadero before Fisherman's Wharf and is an easy walk, pedicab ride, bike ride or Muni ride from the ferry building and Embarcadero BART. The village and grandstands are at Marina Green.
For more stories by this writer check out CBS San Francisco's website under Eye on the Bay, San Francisco arts & culture "Best Of"; and San Francisco Arts & Culture on Examiner.com. Subscribe by hittng theSUBSCRIBE button at the top of this article.
CBS SF website: Weirdest museums in the East Bay
CBS SF website: Best permanent exhibits in the North Bay
CBS SF website: Best outdoor theaters around the Bay Area
CBS SF website: Best local authors in San Francisco