Friday, February 24, 2012

Race course area for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco revealed

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The race course area for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco has been revealed.
Stretching across the city shoreline from Piers 27/29 out to near the Golden Gate Bridge, the course will bring the action closer to shore than ever before in the 160-year history of the Cup.

A pair of Oracle Racing team's AC45 sail by the Golden Gate Bridge
on Feb. 21, 2012 in San Francisco. (Dai Sugano/Staff)

"The input and cooperation we've received from Bay stakeholders and users has been invaluable in allowing us to reach this point," says John Craig, the Principal Race Officer for the America's Cup.

John Craig, America's Cup 34 Principle Race Officer, spoke at Unfurling Opportunities a forum hosted by (March 2011)
He gave the first public presentation in San Francisco about what the course area for the Cup races would look like.

"Now we can focus on setting up a race course that will allow the teams to compete and perform in a way that I think will really energize and excite this city."

An Oracle Racing AC45 skippered by James Spithill sails past Alcatraz on February 21, 2012 in San Francisco, California.
The AC45 is the forerunner to the AC72, which teams will race in the Louis Vuitton Cup and America's Cup finals in 2013 in San Francisco.
The AC45 will be featured at the America's Cup World Series.
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

Tucked between Alcatraz and the city shoreline, the race course offers up-close viewing from any number of locations along the city front, with the Marina Green and Crissy Field among the prime locations.
The exact location of the race course area will change slightly on any given day depending on weather conditions.

Environmental buffers and small boat access areas were prime considerations in setting up the racing box.
A transit channel has been set up along the shore to allow ferry traffic, boats needing to transit in and out of the marinas as well as commercial fishing boats and other craft, to still operate safely during racing.
The restricted area box is expected to be in place for three to four hours a day on scheduled race days.

"Following consultation with numerous Bay users, the Coast Guard have issued a draft Special Local Regulation (now in the 90-day public comment phase), that defines a restricted area where we can safely set up our race course area," Craig says.

Schematic showing the larger AC72, which Oracle Racing is building in a San Francisco warehouse, ready for launch this summer.
The smaller AC45 is a prototype that sailor have been using for practice runs this week.
(Courtesy of America's Cup)

Racing in 2013 will take place in the AC72 class; a new breed of America's Cup boats, these wing-sailed catamarans are on the cutting edge of design, engineering and technology.
Outrageously fast and requiring a crew with great athleticism as well as vast reserves of courage to sail, the AC72 is designed for thrills… and spills.

The 2013 racing season starts on July 4th, with the Louis Vuitton Cup, the challenger selection series, leading up to the America's Cup Finals from September 7th-22nd.

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