In 2013, the world will be flocking to our beautiful Bay, when San Francisco hosts the America’s Cup.
I took a stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge the other day. It was an unseasonably glorious winter afternoon (admit it, global warming provides some short-term benefits as we wait for the ocean to flood our streets). For the millionth time, I thought about how lucky we are to live in this breathtakingly beautiful place.
San Francisco Bay is the crown jewel of our city’s soul. Its glory was hidden from early explorers by our notorious fog; Sir Francis Drake is supposed to have sailed by without realizing that one of the largest inlets on earth lay off his bow. Two centuries later, Gaspar de Portolá made the first recorded sighting of the Bay, spotting it from a ridge north of what is now Pacifica. After gold was found at Sutter’s Mill, ships of almost every nation flocked to it—and were left there moored and empty as the voyagers lit out for the mother lode of the Sierra Nevada. And in 2013, the world will be flocking to our Bay again, when we host the America’s Cup.
Not until recently did I fully understand how big an event this is and what a huge impact the races will have our community.The America’s Cup is to yachting what
the World Cup is to soccer. Every self-respecting sailing enthusiast tries to make the scene, and the San Francisco matches are likely to draw the biggest crowds ever—some estimate that over 2 million people will watch the races here, and many of them will be visitors to our beautiful Bay.
They won’t all come on the same weekend, of course. The competition starts in mid-July, with the Louis Vuitton Cup, a series of heats between multiple competitors that will last more than six weeks. Then, between September 7 and 22, the winner of the Vuitton Cup will duke it out in a best-of-nine matchup against the fastest trimaran of the current America’s Cup holder—our very own Oracle Racing team. In the space of two months we could see as many as 70 races, a level of activity and splendor never before experienced on these waters.
Aficionados are thrilled that the America’s Cup will be here. Our breezes are reliable—there’ll be few tedious waits for the wind to blow—and all around the Bay, throngs will line balconies, beaches, and bridges to share in the spectacle of yachts with 150-foot masts cleaving the waves, circumnavigating Alcatraz or whatever mid-Bay point is selected for their high-risk, high-speed turns.
Did I mention money is involved? The entrance fee is a modest $100,000, but the designing, building, staffing, and training involved cost millions more. It takes someone with Larry Ellison’s scratch to consider competing. But although only the superrich can enter, the merely very wealthy do come to watch. That’s what’s in it for the rest of us. Our town will be filled with tourists dripping with cash; supersized yachts will adorn our harbors and they will all need to be serviced and supplied; restaurants and hotels will be crammed with guests with lots of disposable income. Our economy will be well oiled, our beauty will be blazoned on televisions all around the world, there will be a festive spirit throughout the city for the entire summer, and we will be able to stroll across the Golden Gate Bridge and enjoy it all free.
Now all I have to do is figure out how to get San Francisco magazine into the hands of every one of those visitors.
Steven Dinkelspiel, president