America’s Cup Teams convene in San Francisco to prepare for racing later this year

Saturday, 25 February 2012

America’s Cup teams are flying into to San Francisco this weekend to see first-hand the vision for the America’s Cup racing here in 2012 and 2013.

The representatives are sourcing team housing, inspecting the venue sites and planning together for two summers of sailing here in San Francisco -- the America’s Cup World Series later this year and the pinnacle events of the 34th America’s Cup in 2013: the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series (July 4th – September 1st), and the America’s Cup Finals (September 7th – 22nd). Teams are preparing to hit the “go” button as soon as all City approvals are in place.

“Emirates Team New Zealand is here to find 70 to 80 apartments for our team members and their families,” said Kevin Shoebridge, the team’s Chief Operating Officer who arrived today from Auckland. “It is no small task to house our team here. We will start with a core shore team but will ramp up as we prepare to train in two AC 72s next year.”

America’s Cup rules allow the teams to begin launching their America’s Cup racing boats in July 2012. The AC72s have 11 race crew, but the logistics to launch and maintain these high-tech racing machines require a shore support crew for each team of dozens of skilled technicians.

“It’s a busy time with an international circuit in the AC45s but we can’t take our eye off the end game which is here in San Francisco. Getting the logistics of where we will live and operate is a critical step in our America’s Cup program,” Shoebridge said. “The local America’s Cup Organizing Committee has been great in welcoming us and helping us jump start this process.”

There are eight Challengers entered from seven nations. The Defender, Team USA/ORACLE Racing, is based in San Francisco. Four teams are planning to build two AC72s and are advanced in the construction of their first boats. But with final entry fees not due until June 1, other teams still have the opportunity to commence construction later this summer.

While the long-term planning for 2013 continues, the international field of teams have sights set on the AC World Series San Francisco event in 2012 to be sailed in the dynamic AC45s.

“We are looking forward to being here later this year for the AC World Series for our first taste of competition on the stunning arena of San Francisco Bay,” said Thierry Barot, CEO China Team. “On this visit, we will check the sites in San Francisco that are being redeveloped for the event, as well as meet with the event organizers, and with all the other challengers,” Barot said.

“Another important aspect of our visit to San Francisco is to meet with select members of the local Chinese community who are active in their support for China Team. We are building our U.S. operations for China Team for a January 2013 move to San Francisco and are hiring locally for our U.S. operations. China Team is committed to leveraging mainly local resources in San Francisco to work with us on the China Team project while in San Francisco, and as such, we have the full support of the local Chinese community,” Barot said.

US Sailing, the national governing body for the sport of sailing, was in San Francisco this week to honor the sport’s top athletes. Gary Jobson, US Sailing President and 1977 America’s Cup winner with Ted Turner said:  “How appropriate to look out the window at the Golden Gate Bridge and see two of the AC45s screaming down at us. Everyone in the room instantly jumped up – these boats are pretty dramatic – and that spoke volumes to me. This is just a sneak preview to the amazing racing we will see during the Louis Vuitton Cup and America’s Cup Finals on San Francisco Bay in 2013 – something we have all dreamed of for many years, and now, here it is.”

Teams represented this week in San Francisco are here from China, France, Italy, Korea, New Zealand, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Stephanie Martin

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Last Updated ( Saturday, 25 February 2012 )