The Maritime Report for April 25, 2013

The Maritime Report for April 25, 2013

Dave Bloch

Two big stories this week; one from far away and the other right here at home.

FINAL AC WORLD SERIES IN NAPLES

The final ACWS series took place last week in Naples, with nine boats (and two from the Italian Luna Rossa team). The America's Cup organization reports thatover a million spectators watched the regatta! Like last year's event, this one had both match racing (one boat against another) and fleet racing (all the teams on the course at one time). Rankings and awards were given for the match racing, and then overall rankings calculated with a point system that one day I'll try to figure out.

It was a good week for Alameda, too: The Italian Luna Rossa teams will be joining Artemis Racing of Sweden out on Alameda Point in the next few weeks, so there will be even more attention focused on our Island than there has been over the last several months.

The local Italian crowd was certainly not disappointed. Their Luna Rossa Swordfish team won the Overall trophy for the Naples series; Luna Rossa's Piranha team finished fourth. Artemis Racing was farther behind the pack, finishing seventh overall and sixth in the match racing. But we're going to cut Artemis some slack: Skippering their boat in Naples was the 23-year-old Swede Chris Ekberg, who was there for some real-world training for the Red Bull Youth America's Cup regatta in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend.

Some sadness during the week as well: The Artemis team wore black armbands to commemorate the recent passing of team member and veteran of the Volvo Ocean Races Magnus Olsson. The armbands are visible in the photo accompanying this article.

Oracle Team USA's Naples win also got them enough points to win the entire 2012-2013 AC World Series award.

There is a ton of video of the whole week at http://www.youtube.com/user/AmericasCup.

OPENING DAY ON THE BAY THIS WEEKEND

Even though San Francisco Bay is always a sailor's paradise, every year since 1917 the Pacific Inter-Club Yacht Association (PICYA) has coordinated the official "Opening Day" celebration right around the beginning of May. This year, the event happens on Sunday, April 28, and the theme is "The Great Race." (Guess where that came from?)

Two main events take place on Sunday. The first is the Blessing of the Fleet, which takes place over by Corinthian Yacht Club in Belvedere at 11:00 a.m. But the big deal is the Decorated Boat Parade, which happens right along the San Francisco waterfront from Crissy Field to Pier 39. Over 100 historic work boats, fire boats (the San Francisco fire boat leads the parade every year, spraying water out of all its water cannons), tugs, and recreational boats are decorated to the theme.

Alameda's boating community is always well represented in the parade; in fact, Alameda's Island Yacht Club has won more "Best Sailboat" and "Best Overall" over the last 20 years than any other club in the Bay Area. I know that Oakland Yacht Club is sending a fleet out this year to celebrate the club's 100th anniversary; others may be participating as well.

The Decorated Boat Parade starts at about noon on Sunday off the shoreline near St. Francis Yacht Club and ends off Pier 39 about 3:00 p.m. You can see it from the shore (but bring some binoculars for the best view). PICYA also has a chartered Hornblower yacht that serves as the judges' platform. The charter boat leaves in the morning (breakfast is included). For information and reservations contact Lenora Clark of PICYA at (925) 783-7660 or lenorasclark@yahoo.com.

PHOTOS: Boats from (left to right) China Team, Energy Team, Oracle Team USA, JP Morgan, Artemis Racing, Luna Rossa Pirhana, newcomer HS Racing, Luna Rossa Swordfish and Emirates Team New Zealand line up at Naples. The Artemis team wears black armbands in memory of teammate Magnus Olsson. Photos copyright 2013 ACEA photo by Gilles Martin-Raget.