The Maritime Report: Life after the America's Cup

The Maritime Report: Life after the America's Cup

Dave Bloch

PICYA's 2012 Margo Brown Wheelchair Regatta. Photo by Dave Boitano.

I started last week's Maritime Report with the question, "Is it really over?"

The AC34 is indeed completed. But Oracle CEO Larry Ellison had not even reached shore yet after watching his team once again win the Cup when he was handed a letter challenging Oracle to defend their title. The Hamilton Island Yacht Club, located off the northeast shore of Australia, is the official Challenger of Record for the next regatta. (This somehow reminds me very much of our own presidential elections; I think it took a week after the re-election of Barack Obama for pundits to begin talking about 2016!) The HIYC looks like a huge facility; more a luxury tropical resort that what we think of as a yacht club. Take a look at http://www.hamiltonisland.com.au/.

San Francisco's Mayor Ed Lee has already made it very clear that he'd love to have the regatta come back, but we are definitely a ways away from decisions like that. A Cup three years from now would overlap the 2016 Summer Olympics, which draws many of the world's best sailors (and far more media attention), so a 2017 America's Cup would seem more likely.

Meanwhile, our own Island city is making sure we're not forgotten in the process. We attracted Artemis Racing and, later, Luna Rossa Challenge, to facilities on Alameda Point this year. City Manager John Russo made his pitch for an Alameda-based Cup competition to The Alamedan this week:

"We’re not saying we want to compete with San Francisco. We know we’re not going to be able to do that. If for whatever reason the more complicated politics of San Francisco or whatever reason San Francisco finds that it can’t make it happen, and people still want to keep the race in the Bay Area, and not technically be hosted by the City of San Francisco, we’d be willing to talk with the organizers about doing it here."

Russo noted that we hosted two of the teams here and that the city is talking to one, Artemis Racing, about coming back. He indicated that we have a lot of slips, waterfront and maritime resources here as well. Even so, he said he's not sure whether we could do it here, and that the city has not talked to or been approached by event organizers.

So it is certainly a long shot. But keep in mind that San Francisco's Piers 27 and 29 - the location of the "America's Cup Park" where the major facilities and attractions were placed - is going to become a long-awaited cruise ship terminal. (There were certainly winners and losers in the AC34, and the Port of San Francisco came out a huge winner!) Pier 30, which housed the ETNZ and Luna Rossa bases, may well have a basketball arena built on it by then. So if Oracle Racing wants to stay in the Bay Area and a deal cannot be reached with San Francisco, Alameda's city leaders would be happy to talk with them.

WOMEN'S SAILING SEMINAR

Island Yacht Club hosted its 21st Annual Women's Sailing Seminar over the weekend. The biggest event of the year for IYC, this year's WSS drew 93 women from all over Northern California (and one from Michigan!) for a full day of classes and a second day of either estuary racing or bay cruising. The volunteer seminar instructors are all women as well who come from all up and down the West Coast to bring new women into the sport and help existing female sailors improve their skills. IYC members are always happy to talk about this event any time of year; contact the club at wss@iyc.org for more information.

PICYA WHEELCHAIR REGATTA

Every year at this time, the Pacific Inter-Club Yachting Association (PICYA) invites disabled veterans to Encinal Yacht Club for a day on the bay. The 17th Annual PICYA Margo Brown Wheelchair Regatta (named for the indefatigable organizer of the event) took place this past Saturday, with power boats gathering at EYC's docks to board the veterans - many in wheelchairs - for this truly great community service event. Many of these veterans used to have boats of their own; for many of them this regatta is their one day each year to be back out on the water they love.

BOAT FEST IN ALAMEDA

Have a fun and free day out at the Northern California Boat Fest, today through Sunday at Alameda's Marina Village Yacht Harbor! This twice-yearly event is put on by the brokers located at Marina Village. They would love to sell you a boat, but are very happy if you just come, walk the docks and check out the boats, from cute, small tugs to the 50-plus-foot yachts. (They know that the first step of a dream becoming reality often happens at shows like this.) There are free workshops on both days as well, and you'll find lots of sailors around who will start telling you their stories when given half a chance. (They don't all get to do that in virtual print once a week, like your Maritime Reporter does.)

Marina Village Yacht Harbor is located on Marina Village Parkway, which intersects Constitution Way just north of Atlantic Avenue. The marina is also a great place to start a waterfront walk all the way to Wind River. The location map is HERE: http://goo.gl/maps/NYf6p.

More information on the Boat Fest is at http://www.boat-fest.com/.

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