It's finally here. Next week, August 21-26, the events leading up to the real America's Cup races next year come to San Francisco Bay. This is the "America's Cup World Series," an international training/development/demonstration series of regattas taking place over the two years leading up to the big races in 2013. The World Series is being sailed with the AC45s, the 45-foot catamarans that some of you may have even seen on the Bay in the past year or so. (The "real" races will use 72-foot catamarans that are being engineered and built as we speak.)
The 2011-2012 World Series was held in Portugal, England, Italy, and San Diego and Newport in the USA. Oracle Racing won the Fleet Racing (that's all the boats in a single race) and the Overall championships. Artemis Racing, the Swedish team which has selected Alameda as its American home, won the Match Racing championship (these are boats racing in pairs). The regatta coming up next week is the first in the 2012-2013 World Series.
Even if you've never seen a sailing regatta before, this is a great opportunity that should not be passed up. You've got three ways of seeing it, all fun and all very different experiences. Since the World Series events run over six days, you may be able to enjoy them all!
1) WATCH FROM SHORE. The primary viewing area will be at Marina Green in San Francisco. There will be a large area for free viewing, and some paid bleacher seating. (The details on bleacher tickets were still not available at this writing.) The "AC Village" at Marina Green will have food, beverages, and some live simulation activities, like a "net traverse" that "simulates the action of working on a trampoline as on the AC45 catamarans" (according to the AC Website). Exhibitions on AC history and the AC Healthy Ocean Project will be there, too. The organizers strongly advice taking transit to Marina Green; parking in the area is very limited.
2) WATCH FROM A BOAT. If you know anyone with a boat, see if they're planning on going out on the Bay for any of the races. For a more deluxe experience, several excursion boat companies including Alameda's own Commodore Events will have special cruises going out at least on the final Sunday to view the regatta in comfort and style. View Commodore's offerings at http://commodoreevents.com/.
3) WATCH ON TV. EVERY America's Cup event is streamed live on YouTube at http://youtube.com/americascup, so if you can watch YouTube videos you're all set. But if there is a restaurant or tavern where you like to watch sports, see if they can show these streams.
On Sunday August 26, the regatta will be broadcast live on NBC television. From 11:30 a.m. until about 12:25 p.m., you'll see the edited highlights of the Match Race Semi-finals and Finals from Saturday afternoon. Then at about 12:30, they will go live from the Bay with the Fleet Race, where all the boats race at one time. Your reporter watched the 90-minute telecast from Newport a couple of months ago, and it was a really exciting time!
Some local yacht clubs will also be having events during the races; if you know a club member, ask! As with any sport, you can't really do better than enjoying these races than with a bunch of true fans. Especially on Sunday, the clubs should be great places to be.
FOLLOW THE REGATTA RIGHT HERE!
I hope to be over in San Francisco or out on the Bay throughout the week, and will blog and Tweet both here and at http://alamedawaterfront.com. There should be lots of photos and perhaps even some video during the races as well. But come out and enjoy!