The word is out today that San Francisco, home of Oracle Racing and billionaire Larry Ellison, current America's Cup winners, has been crossed off the list of the possible locations for the next America's Cup. Local yachtsmen and fans of this high-speed catamaran race are heartbroken to hear that it will not return in 2017. West Coast hopes now rest with the city of San Diego.
The Chairman of the San Diego Port broke the news. The BBC and the Chicago Tribune had the scoop today, ending local hopes and speculation that SF could be a host in 2016 and 2017. Mayor Lee of San Francisco was not available for comment.
Chicago, San Diego and Bermuda are the locations on the short list to host sailing's most prestigious competition, according to a BBC report. San Francisco, the home of current champion Team Oracle USA and Golden Gate Yacht Club, is no longer being considered, said Bob Nelson, the San Diego Port chairman.
San Francisco hosted the last America's Cup in September 2013. One official noted, "They were calling races off because they were too windy in San Francisco."
Based on his experience hosting races on Lake Michigan, Chicago's Port authority, Mr. Sandoval, says the America's Cup would fit in well with the environment, suggesting spectators could gather on Northerly Island, Navy Pier and Planetarium Point, to name a few high-visibility venues.
"I think it's very viable," Sandoval said. "The thing in our favor is the time zone from a global perspective."
The America's Cup is an international match race that has taken place every three or four years. The Golden Gate Yacht Club won the Cup in 2010 and successfully defended the title in 2013, affording the San Francisco-based organization the ability to set the parameters and location of the next event. The 2017 race will be sailed on 62-foot foiling catamarans.
For a city to host the event, the nearby body of water on which the race would occur must be on the sea or "an arm of the sea." A 1984 New York Supreme Court decision ruled that Chicago could host a challenge for the Cup because Lake Michigan is technically an arm of the sea. If Chicago were selected, it would be the first time the race would be held on a lake.
"It was a great surprise to us that a lake city would be considered," said San Diego's Nelson. "In thinking about the state of the sport, it makes a lot of sense.
"The America's Cup is now all about arena racing, having the races occur within sight of the shore so you can have a much broader part of the public enjoy the sport. The shoreline in Chicago is obviously very interesting in terms of that."
Sandoval speculated that whichever city gets to host the race in 2017, would also be awarded the America's Cup World Series from 2015-16."
The final choice of the 2017 race won't be decided until later this year. What is known now, is that Larry Ellison's private island, Lanai, won't be a race site. Ellison purchased the Hawaiian island of Lanai in 2012, launching speculation that the next Cup race would be in his own little paradise in the central Pacific Ocean. Lanai is off the list too.
Kiwis and Californians are hoping it won't be too far from home. San Diego hosted an America's Cup race only a few years ago, and is a league favorite. For travel tips on San Diego area attractions, read on below. La Jolla is an international playground for well-heeled travelers, as is tony Coronado Island.