The splendid scenery of San Francisco Bay will soar as the backdrop for the 2013 America’s Cup, the world’s premier sailing race.
Picture camera crows following colorful catamarans in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge and Alcatraz Island.
On the last day of 2010, the city of San Francisco and the America’s Cup organizers reached an agreement after an 11th-hour flurry of negotiations that held the prospect of the race going elsewhere.
While San Francisco is at the forefront of infrastructure plans, other municipalities around the Bay are trimming their sails to play a role in the tourism and boating industry development that will accompany preliminary races and the America’s Cup itself.
“Richmond is well positioned to provide a number of support activities to the America’s Cup, particularly during that period before the main San Francisco venues are completed,” said Tom Butt, a councilman in the East Bay city.
The City Council is participating in a Richmond committee’s plans for an “America’s Cup Village,” with “marginal wharfs” to accommodate the crews and support teams for the massive boats that will race. These could be prepared in time for preliminary races scheduled for 2012.
“I don’t think the city is looking at fronting any money, nor does the committee anticipate this,” said Butt. “However, the city has deepwater berths and landside space that is not currently leased. Even a lease for low rates is better than nothing, and there will be multiplier economic effects that benefit the city in other ways.”
The America’s Cup organizers project the racing teams and spectators and related business development will mean $1.4 billion to the area.
In December, the last-minute tacking between San Francisco and race organizers drew headlines with statements from high-profile representatives: America’s Cup champion sailor Larry Ellison, who has an interesting day job as CEO of Oracle in Redwood Shores, and outgoing San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who made the America’s Cup resolution a priority before he did a broad reach out of town for his new gig as California’s lieutenant governor.
Across the bay in Berkeley, city officials recognize the America’s Cup potential. A meeting is being organized to include including representatives from the city economic development office, Berkeley Yacht Club, convention and visitors bureau and chamber of commerce, said Julie Sinai, chief of staff for Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates.
In Marin County, there are as yet no plans for new infrastructure to accommodate tourism or marina development for the America’s Cup, said Eric Engelbart, management and budget analyst with the county administrator.
Richmond’s plans for “America’s Cup Village” would place it in Point Richmond near the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park, which commemorates shipbuilding and home industries that supported the war effort. There is an underutilized container port pier that could be modified to accommodate racing catamarans’ crews, according to the color report on the potential of “America’s Cup Village.”
See report here.
The color proposal was written by Bert and Kers Clausen, respectively, an engineer and a leader in the Richmond Yacht Club. Kers Clausen serves on the Richmond AC 34 Committee (2013 will mark the 34th America’s Cup challenge).
The report takes note of the Richmond area’s good weather (less fog than San Fran) and access to free-flowing freeways (less gridlock than San Fran).
The Richmond City Council unanimously approved an agreement with the AC 34 Committee on Dec. 7. The city granted the committee authority to offer the America’s Cup organizers the possible use of Terminal 3 in the Port of Richmond as an interim team facility. The committee has the go-ahead to reach an agreement with the race organizers in the form of letters of intent, which would go need to the Richmond City Council for formal approval.
The America’s Cup summer has tentatively scheduled Challenger and Defender selection races for July and August 2013, and the America’s Cup racing for Sept. 7 to 22. It will draw even more international attention with an innovation in boat designs, using 72-foot catamarans for America’s Cup 2013.