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2017 America’s Cup would have been great fit

December 9, 2014

By U-T San Diego Editorial Board

Our accomplished, distinguished local sailing community got the bad news last week: Bermuda had been chosen over San Diego to host the 2017 America’s Cup.

Oracle CEO Larry Ellison — the Silicon Valley-based owner of the yacht that won last year’s competition in San Francisco — hasn’t explained his decision. Money seems to be the prime factor. Bermuda couldn’t offer a better venue for sailing or viewing than San Diego, but Bermudan officials offered fewer taxes and more subsidies. So now we’ll have the unprecedented spectacle of an American team choosing not to defend its America’s Cup title in America — instead selecting a British territory 650 miles off the Carolina coast.

And so America’s Finest City won’t get a fourth chance to host the world’s premier sailing event. Too bad. It would have been a great fit.

We appreciate those who tried to bring the 2017 America’s Cup here and hope they pursue the event again in coming years. That list starts with Sailing Events Association San Diego board member Troy Sears. We also thank officials with the Unified Port of San Diego and the San Diego Yacht Club as well as Mayor Kevin Faulconer and Ed Plant of Harborside Refrigerated Services.

America’s Cup San Diego — Perfect Stadium Sailing

November 14, 2014

Watch to see why San Diego should be the next venue for the 35th America’s Cup. (updated 11-14-2014)


  • San Diego is currently in the bidding process to host the 35th America’s Cup on San Diego Bay in Summer 2017.
  • In early 2014, the Port of San Diego responded to the organizers’ Request for Information (deadline to respond was March 24, 2014).
  • In April 2014, San Diego was informed that we made a shortlist of venues being considered by the America’s Cup Event Authority. The other venues were not officially named.
  • On June 10, 2014, the organizers narrowed the shortlist to San Diego, Bermuda and Chicago.
  • On July 8, 2014, the organizers further narrowed the shortlist to San Diego and Bermuda.
    Learn more…
  • The Port of San Diego is currently in confidential negotiations with the America’s Cup Event Authority governed by a Non-Disclosure Agreement.

Foiling into the Future

October 28, 2014

Should San Diego win its bid to host the next America’s Cup, two of the sport’s key sailors, one a superstar and the other on the rise, would be competing in their own backyards.


Published: 2014.10.23 03:13 PM


Next time you’re walking the dog along the footpath at Kellogg’s Beach, or grabbing a beer in North Park, you might be rubbing elbows with two of the best professional sailors in the world. Both America’s Cup skipper Jimmy Spithill (right, above) and his new crewmember Andrew Campbell now live and train in San Diego. And both do so largely under the radar. “I love it here,” Spithill says. Campbell, who moved back to San Diego after sailing in college at Georgetown, adds, “There’s a huge lifestyle advantage to living here, being able to be outside all of the time.”

San Diego is one of a few home bases for Spithill and his SD-native wife, Jennifer. Spithill originally hails from New Zealand, and the couple lived in San Francisco with their two boys before the 2013 America’s Cup. San Diego is one of two finalists in contention to host the next America’s Cup in 2017 (Bermuda is the other). And while the city has a history of defending the Cup here, it isn’t Dennis Conner’s race anymore. Far from it. The multimillion-dollar hydrofoiling catamarans reach speeds of 40 knots and are outfitted with the most advanced technology the sport has ever seen. Oracle Team USA has an active social media presence and, perhaps most appealing, a youthful star power in Spithill and his crew of fresh talent like Campbell. “There are no big egos,” contends Spithill. “There’s no room for that. Everybody works hard.”

Hard work during the last America’s Cup led Oracle Team USA back from an 0–2 deficit, winning eight straight races to beat Emirates New Zealand. Some say it was the greatest comeback in the history of sports. As the skipper, Spithill appeared everywhere from the Today Show to Sports Illustrated to The Colbert Report, where Stephen Colbert was unabashedly a fan. “I invited him to come out sailing, and I think we’ll get him out here,” says Spithill, who noted that hanging out with Tom Hanks in the green room before the show was a highlight of his post-win media tour.

Factoring in the team’s historic comeback, new hydrofoiling boats that are a tad smaller and cheaper, plus an easygoing, handsome star in Spithill, the Cup has a chance to overcome some of the flak it took in San Francisco. The city ladled out pots of money to host the races without attracting the number of challengers and spectators it had hoped for. “The future is foiling,” the skipper explains. “The speed is incredible and that’s the way to get the kids excited.”

For his part, Campbell’s new to the crew. A young American who grew up in the junior program at San Diego Yacht Club (and whose dad, Bill Campbell, sailed in three previous America’s Cups), he’s enjoyed a successful college and Olympic career. He and his Washington, D.C.-native wife, Jacqueline, settled in North Park earlier this year. Its walkable, bikeable streets and hip restaurant scene eased the transition from a big East Coast city back to San Diego. “It’s cool when we have people over for dinner,” he says. “We can just walk down to Thorn Street Brewery and fill up a growler.”

So, does the fact that these two world-class sailors live here help San Diego’s chances for getting the Cup? “Those conversations happen at much higher levels,” Campbell says. “I’m just here to compete and sail.” Spithill won’t comment, either. “They’re both really great venues,” he says, tactfully. “Fans will get a great show in either bay.”

Oracle Team USA will announce the prevailing venue next month.

America’s Cup headed back to San Diego?

October 6, 2014

Sometime soon, San Diego will learn whether it’s been selected over Bermuda as the venue for the next America’s Cup, competitive sailing’s top prize and the oldest trophy in international sport.

The contest was last held here in 1995. The city has changed a lot since then. So has the cup.

At the most recent championship, last summer in San Francisco, the races were moved for the first time in the 162-year history of the event away from the open ocean and closer to shore. That made it more watchable than ever, both in person and on TV, and what people saw was seven-ton, 72-foot-long, 130-foot-tall catamarans flying across the water on hydrofoils at close to 50 mph.



America’s Cup Momentum …

September 26, 2014

Bermuda shorts, or fish tacos and margaritas? What will the flavour of the next America’s Cup be?

One year after one of the biggest comebacks in sport, regatta officials are still sorting out details for the 2017 event.

They haven’t picked a venue, although it’ll be either Bermuda or San Diego. They’ve yet to announce a major sponsor or TV deal, or the schedule for warmup regattas for the next two years.

Many in sailing feel the America’s Cup has frittered away all the momentum it gained in the mainstream sports world when the once-stodgy sport zoomed fully into the 21st century on space-age catamarans that skimmed across San Francisco Bay on hydrofoils in September, 2013.

Oracle Team USA rallied to win eight straight races to stun Team New Zealand and keep the Auld Mug in the United States.

So what does America’s Cup czar Russell Coutts say to the critics?

”You’re wrong,” Coutts said during a recent visit to San Diego to meet with government officials and potential sponsors.

Coutts was then headed to Los Angeles to meet with television executives as he continues to try to sell his vision of stadium sailing that’s accessible to TV viewers as well as spectators lining the shore.


Council backs hosting of 35th America’s Cup in San Diego

September 12, 2014

City Council on Aug. 7 passed a resolution brought forward by District 2 Councilman Ed Harris in support of San Diego hosting the 35th America’s Cup to be held in the summer of 2017.
The Unified Port District of San Diego submitted a proposal to the America’s Cup Event Authority to host the race, and on July 8, San Diego achieved finalist status. San Diego, in the running against Bermuda for the host city selection, hosted the America’s Cup in 1988, 1992 and 1995.

A final decision on the venue is expected before the end of the year.

“San Diego already has the infrastructure in place for the America’s Cup, and we know what it takes to host this event,” Harris said. “This breathtaking spectator sport would be a boost to our economy, and we could once again showcase America’s Finest City to the world at this international sporting event.”

“The City of San Diego’s support and partnership are essential as we pursue the opportunity to host the 35th America’s Cup,” said Unified Port District of San Diego chairman Bob Nelson. “San Diego is a ‘can do’ region, with a sailing tradition as strong as anywhere you can find, and we have unrivaled experience in coming together to host major special events. Our collaborative regional approach gives our destination a strong advantage in this competitive process.”

Mayor Kevin Faulconer, who represented City Council District 2 for nearly two full terms before being elected mayor, agreed.

“San Diego hasn’t hosted an America’s Cup in nearly 20 years, and bringing it back to San Diego could be great for our city,” he said. “This would be a phenomenal opportunity to showcase San Diego to the rest of the world.”

The America’s Cup is the oldest trophy in international sport and is the pinnacle of the sport of sailing. The port district’s proposal calls for sailing in north San Diego Bay, unlike previous America’s Cup races held off the coast of San Diego.

Read more: San Diego Community News Group – Council backs hosting of 35th America s Cup in San Diego

America’s Cup: Five reasons San Diego should host

Published on by , Sailing Scuttlebutt

The candidates to host the America’s Cup in 2017 are down to San Diego and Bermuda. U-T San Diego sports writer Bill Center and Bermuda Sun Deputy Sports Editor Don Burgess state their case for why the event should be hosted in their respective homes…


THE ARENA: San Diego Bay is likely the world’s best venue for “arena sailing.” Oracle USA CEO Russell Coutts and skipper James Spithill are on record agreeing on that. Viewer areas and supporting America’s Cup “villages” could easily be constructed along San Diego’s Embarcadero and waterfront piers, Coronado and Harbor Island. The racers would never be out of sight. Better even than San Francisco. Far superior to Bermuda, where the races would have to be offshore.

SHORESIDE FACILITIES: San Diego already has in place the shore facilities needed by the up to five teams expected to compete in the challenger semifinals and finals of the 35th America’s Cup. San Diego hosted larger fleets for the RC-44 championships in 2011 and the America’s Cup World Series event in 2012 without any problems. The Broadway and B Street piers would easily house the teams and the media, with no new construction required. The organization to run the event is also already in place.

CONNECTIONS: The official defender of the America’s Cup (Golden Gate Yacht Club) is in California, not Bermuda. There is no precedent for a U.S. defender to host a defense in a foreign land. San Diego already has strong ties to the defending Oracle USA organization, which trained in San Diego for almost two years while preparing for its successful challenge in 2010.

HISTORY: San Diego has had involvement in the America’s Cup since 1967. It hosted three defenses, in 1988, 1992 and 1995 when the protocol called for the races to be sailed far offshore. Skipper Dennis Conner won the America’s Cup for San Diego Yacht Club in 1987 off Fremantle, Western Australia. Plus, San Diego annually stages more major races than any other area in the world. The skilled personnel needed to administer an event such as the America’s Cup is in place.

SAILING CONDITIONS: The event would be held in June and the first week of July in 2017. Normal conditions call for steady afternoon breezes of 8-12 knots on San Diego Bay, perfect conditions for the 62-foot catamarans that ride on their foils at 7 knots. Not only will the new America’s Cup courses fit perfectly on San Diego Bay, the shape of the area would eliminate the need for the out-of-bounds barriers needed in San Francisco and in Bermuda to keep the boats bunched together. Weather in Bermuda is far more variable.

– See more at: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2014/07/13/americas-cup-five-reasons-san-diego-bermuda-host/#sthash.yTHNhZh7.dpuf

The ‘San Diego Plan’ to host the next America’s Cup

September 11, 2014

by Editor, Sailing Scuttlebutt

The venue search for the 35th America’s Cup has narrowed the finalists to Bermuda, Chicago and San Diego. The leader among the venues appears to be San Diego, which has both consistent weather and event experience. The plan is for the racing to be held inside San Diego Bay.

“San Diego clicks a lot of boxes,” remarked defense CEO Russell Coutts. “The boats might be maneuvering every minute and a half. It would be a highly technical course in the AC 62 and would lay out quite well for spectators and sponsor fulfillment.”

The ‘San Diego Plan’ uses two downtown cruise ship terminals for the activity hub. The teams will be based at the B Street Pier while the adjacent Broadway Pier will be the public village. The start and finish would be off the Broadway Pier, with the course extending from Coronado Bridge to Harbor Island.

Involved in the San Diego bid is Troy Sears, who helped form Sailing Events Association (SEA) San Diego to promote major sailboat racing events in San Diego for the benefit of the local economy. Troy provides an update on the selection process…

What gives San Diego the confidence to host the America’s Cup?

The leadership of the Port of San Diego understands they have some very valuable assets, such as the B Street Pier and the Broadway Pier, and have made the commitment to maintain them. These piers are in great condition and well suited for a variety of uses.

As a result, to host the America’s Cup, we won’t have large capital costs needed to make improvements. Our infrastructure is ready to go. We can formulate a plan that does not require investment. The Broadway Pavilion is a fantastic facility for hosting events, and it is ready to go. This is a substantial difference from the other cities.

Additionally, we have hosted the America’s Cup before. The event has been here in ’88, ’92 and ’95, with the event in ’95 ending in the black. We know the 2017 event has to financially perform, and we understand how to make that happen.

Explain the sailing venue.

What we propose to do with the race course, positioning it in the Bay, has already proven itself successful when we hosted an RC44 class regatta and the AC World Series in 2011. Through those events, it was demonstrated that San Diego Bay is a tremendous venue for stadium sailing.

The natural landscape brings people close to the event, and it will be the harbor that defines the course. This will make it very easy for fans to recognize that when boats get to the edge of the course, they will need to turn. If boats don’t turn, they will hit the shoreline. The boundaries will be very understandable.

Additionally, the public is going to have a great view of the team bases. Watching the boats get launched, and seeing the wings get raised and lowered, is quite a show, and something the public missed out on during the 2013 America’s Cup.

What are some of the other advantages for San Diego?

We may not have strong winds on a regular basis, but we always have wind in the afternoons. The consistency of our conditions will insure the schedule will not be affected; racing will happen when it is supposed to happen. So with minimal investment needed, and solid political support, I like our chances.

Why does the venue selection take so much time?

The process takes time to generate local support once a city has been notified that their bid has been accepted. You have to educate government; you have to educate the community entities that you hope will provide financial support. That’s not a one day, one week, one month process.

Since we were notified at the start of the year, the organizational group in San Diego, which is lead by the Port of San Diego, has been working very diligently. Additionally, all the community supporters, lead by SEA San Diego, are putting in a full-time effort as well. From our perspective, we don’t see the process dragging on. Quite the opposite, we feel we need all this time to fulfill the requirements and meet the deadlines.

These events are complicated. They require a huge commitment by local cities. The assets must get lined up, such as the piers, along with the services such as fire and police. Time is also needed to sort out the city codes that may impact the organizational plan.

We understand that the challengers need to know the venue location, and every sense I have gotten is that everyone is pushing as hard as possible to make that happen.

What kind of support is needed to host the event?

While we are pursuing local corporate support, what the America’s Cup Event Authority is looking for is broad support. They want to insure that our community is behind the event and will support it. From the political sector, the public sector, and the business sector, San Diego has demonstrated loud and clear that this support is in place.

When the America’s Cup had previously been in San Diego, it was not a hugely popular event. What makes the City think the 35th America’s Cup will be an attraction?

The previous events were held 3 miles off the coast. The team bases were scattered around the harbor and curtained off. It was pretty hard for people to know what was going on. And even when you went out on the ocean to watch, the motion of the ocean was not comfortable for a lot of people. However, the event has now evolved, and this new model in the Bay, in front of the City, and accessible from shore, is a huge change. The interest already is phenomenal.

Note: The field of finalists will be narrowed to two venues by the end of June. The final venue is to be selected no later than December 31, 2014.


The ‘San Diego Plan’ to host the 35th America’s Cup – See more at: http://www.sailingscuttlebutt.com/2014/06/16/san-diego-plan-host-35th-americas-cup/#sthash.b5Nw5kHh.dpuf

San Diego best place for America’s Cup

by Bill Center, U-T San Diego

San Diego is the perfect venue for the 35th America’s Cup.

For a number of reasons, starting with San Diego Bay as the arena and including the city’s history in the America’s Cup, San Diego has it all over Bermuda when it comes to hosting the next defense in 2017.

Bermuda does have one thing going for it – money.

San Diego will not be offering the financial incentives Bermuda will present in the final bids to earn the rights to host the 35th defense.

Bermuda is already on record saying the 2017 event will be tax-free for all participants and Bermuda organizers have indicated their final bid will include other financial rewards.

And, let’s face it . . . money talks.

But if pure dollars are removed from the equation, Bermuda has only one thing to offer that San Diego can’t match – a better television time for Europe.

That’s it.

San Diego has a better race course for both racers and viewers, better facilities that are already in place, a stronger cadre of necessary officials needed to run such an event, already strong ties to the Oracle USA defenders, a history in the event and a great destination for visitors.

“The America’s Cup is part of our DNA,” Malin Burnham said last week after Chicago was eliminated as a possible host for the 2017 America’s Cup.

The host will be either San Diego or Bermuda.

“We deserve to get the event for so many reasons,” said Bob Nelson, the chairman of the Port Commissioners. “I have been astounded by the amount of cooperation and support this proposal has received from public agencies, civic groups and corporate organizations.

“I think the chance to again host the America’s Cup has created enthusiasm and partnerships that we haven’t witnessed in a long time.”

The Port of San Diego is the official bidder for the 35th America’s Cup. But support is widespread and includes the cities of San Diego and Coronado and a wide range of organizations connected to San Diego Bay, sailing and the promotion of San Diego.

Even before the Port of San Diego made its first formal bid for the 2017 defense, Nelson had in his hands a blueprint from SEA San Diego on how the event could be managed and run. SEA San Diego had run two events – the RC-44 World Championships in 2011 and a leg of the America’s Cup World Series in 2012 – on the same course using the same facilities.

“We were able to forward a comprehensive plan from the start and our bid has gotten stronger since,” said Nelson.

San Diego has hosted three previous America’s Cups in 1988, 1992 and 1995. But those were sailed offshore over a span of five months with competing teams housed in compounds stretching from Mission Bay to Coronado.

This America’s Cup would be raced on San Diego Bay over a span of just over a month with all the teams housed on a pier less than a half-mile from the start-finish line. Viewing areas would be constructed along the Embarcadero, on Coronado and on Harbor Island. America’s Cup villages would support the viewing areas.


Port of San Diego Makes America’s Cup Shortlist

San Diego has been shortlisted as one of two final potential host cities for the 35th America’s Cup, according to the organizers of the renowned sailing event.

The Port of San Diego is the lead agency carrying forward the region’s bid for hosting the event.

“We are energized and honored to be one of the two final venues being considered for the 35th America’s Cup in 2017,” said Port of San DiegoChairman Bob Nelson. “San Diego Bay is a highly competitive and desirable venue for the most prestigious sailing event in the world. We’re enthusiastic about this opportunity, while mindful of both the potential benefits and costs of hosting the ‘Super Bowl of sailing.’ We look forward to working with the City of San Diego and other regional partners as we close this deal with the America’s Cup Event Authority.”

Chairman Nelson announced the formation of an America’s Cup 35 Ad Hoc Committee to continue working on the region’s bid for the event. Port Vice Chairman Dan Malcolm will chair the committee, and its members will include Nelson and Commissioner Garry Bonelli.

“Both Bermuda and San Diego have made very compelling cases to be the host for the next America’s Cup,” said Russell Coutts, Director of the America’s Cup Event Authority (ACEA). “We will be in good hands with either venue.”

San Diego is one of only seven cities to have hosted the America’s Cup. When the Cup was previously held there in 1988, 1992 and 1995, the race course was far offshore, on the ocean waters beyond Point Loma. But if San Diego were selected as the venue this time, racing would take place in San Diego Bay, offering incredible viewing opportunities for spectators along the city’s waterfront.

To advance the venue selection process over the coming months, the America’s Cup Event Authority will work closely with both venues to finalize logistics requirements and commercial opportunities, as well as to establish the needed relationships with private and public entities to ensure a successful event.

It is through this process that the final host city for the next America’s Cup will emerge.

The host city for the next America’s Cup will be announced by ACEA before the end of 2014.


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