The Maritime Report: AC34 is here at last

The Maritime Report: AC34 is here at last

Dave Bloch

After all the jockeying and posturing that got the 34th America’s Cup to San Francisco Bay, after over a year of watching the AC45 catamarans racing around the Bay and in different ports around the world, after nearly a year seeing the AC72’s being designed, built and tested, and after the last two months of uncertainty and arguments following the tragic death of Artemis Racing’s Andrews “Bart” Simpson, the event has finally arrived.

Just in time for the festivities, of course, we have a BART strike. As I write this on Tuesday I can find no information on transit schedules for the holiday weekend, so visit http://511.org for the latest. I’m hoping that the Alameda-Oakland/San Francisco Ferry will continue running extra boats across the Bay for as long as this goes on.

So, assuming you can get to the city, what’s happening? Here are the highlights; you can find it all at http://americascup.com.

JULY 4: The America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 and the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green both open. Access to nearly everything (other than sponsor and corporate hospitality buildings) at both venues is free. The opening ceremony takes place at 3 p.m. at the pavilion at America’s Cup Park; tickets for that are $10 (with $9 going to support the Healthy Ocean Project). Tickets for the ceremony (and for other events) are available at http://www.americascup.com/experience/spectator-tickets. According to the AC Events Authority: “The ceremony features the crews of all four teams entered in the America's Cup … The day's program includes cultural performances and exhibitions from each of the four nations, the United States, Sweden, New Zealand and Italy.” (By the way, the AC Park is just a short walk from the new Exploratorium, so you can easily make a day of it, especially if you’ve got kids.)

JULY 5: A fleet of more than 40 boats will gather down at Pier 14 at 11:00 a.m., and then proceed north and west along the cityfront. The AC72s, towed by their tenders, will join the parade and then get towed out to the start line in the central Bay. At 12:15 p.m. the “time trials” will begin; your chance to see each of the three currently-completed boats show their speed on the racecourse. (The boats will cross the starting line 10 minutes apart.)

JULY 6: No events today, except for the opportunity to view the America’s Cup trophy itself, and possibly get your picture with it. (Your reporter will be attending a press tour of the Artemis Racing base here at Alameda Point; read about that next week.)

JULY 7: IT FINALLY BEGINS: The first race of the Louis Vuitton Cup, aka the America’s Cup Challenger Series. Since Artemis has taken a pass on these opening rounds, there will be only five races in July between the remaining two challengers, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy). The “Dock Out Show” with members of the teams is scheduled for 10:45 a.m., then the boats will be towed out onto the Bay for a 12:15 p.m.start. The AC staff told the press last week that, on days with only one race, that contest should be about 40 minutes long, so it should be finished by 1 p.m.

There’s a lot to see and do at the AC Park, including a highly interactive exhibit called “Flying on Water.” I’ll hope to write about that next week. In between I’ll be sending short items to http://alamedawaterfront.com. If you Tweet, you can follow me @sierradave during the summer; I’ll be out and about during the events as much as I can.

Have a great July 4 weekend!