Trick or Treat

So here we are in the final week of the month, and earlier this month Russell Coutts told an audience there would be an America’s Cup venue announcement—

“This month, I think.”

Which is a long way from a guarantee, but it does have me thinking sooner rather than later. San Francisco city officials have been in nose-to-nose, practical negotiations with Larry Ellison’s team since the Board of Supervisors passed the term sheet, 9-2, on October 5, and I wouldn’t pretend to know how many points of discussion are on the table. I do know that Coutts, as the featured speaker at the San Francisco Yacht Club’s very successful Leukemia Cup regatta, got the crowd to feeling all smiley-like with the sense that he had, between the lines, encouraged them to expect to see the 2013 AC match sailed on San Francisco Bay.

My pessimist friends will be rolling their eyes (“There he goes again”) and of course they may be right. It could have been a dry tease. I had a girlfriend like that in high school.

But I still see San Francisco working high and low to facilitate AC 34, and I still remember Mr. Ellison standing beside the Cup and declaring that he wants to race here, “if we can.” I have a theory that, sometimes, things are what they seem, and professional sailors will follow the Cup even if they do pay more taxes here than in Europe. Or perhaps you can imagine a scene in which Larry Ellison sits down with his closest confidante, breathes a sad sigh and declares, “I hate it. I just hate it. But the boys wanted to sail the match in Rome, so what could I do?”

At last week’s meeting of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, the project director of the long-awaited makeover of the San Francisco Marina, Mary Hobson, told the commissioners the goal is to complete the work in 2012, “ready for an America’s Cup in San Francisco in 2013.”

To be clear, Hobson was speaking of the small-boat harbor on the cityfront, operated by the Recreation and Park Department and fronting the West Bay waters where a match would be sailed. The defending Golden Gate Yacht Club is located in this harbor (on the right in the image above). The America’s Cup Village is envisaged for the Southern Waterfront several miles away, around the corner and south of the Bay Bridge, on piers owned by the Port of San Francisco. But we want our municipal marina up and running and refreshed in 2013, oh yes we do. And, btw, the Port of San Francisco is also the landlord of AT&T Park. Go Giants.

For readers who are following developments, or un-developments, at the San Francisco Marina: The renovation project currently envisions a floating breakwater off the end of the existing rock jetty, which is the one point drawing opposition from the neighborhood association, which has at least some leverage because the floating breakwater was not part of the original Environmental Impact Review and replaces a different solution that was judged too expensive.

And really, what’s another twenty years when it’s been going on this long?

By contrast, consider this AC 72 rule requirement, related to putting a tour on the road:

5.12 An AC72 Yacht shall be capable of being assembled and disassembled by a Competitor as follows:

(a) within 24 hours, wings shall be disassembled and packed in shipping boxes of the following outside dimensions:
(i) one box of 20.000 m x 5.000 m x 2.500 m;
(ii) additional boxes that will collectively fit within 5.000 m x 1.500 m x 19.000 m, no one of which shall be larger than 5.000 m x 1.500 m x 9.500 m;

(b) within the same 24 hours, hulls and cross structure shall be disassembled and packed in shipping boxes of the following outside dimensions:
(i) two of 22.500 m x 2.500 m x 2.000 m;
(ii) two of 14.500 m x 1.500 m x 1.250 m;
(c) within 48 hours, from packed in the foregoing shipping boxes to assembled and ready to sail.


Now here’s a deal that strikes me as strange, a provided-boat regatta where the crews are not allowed to carry spare parts aboard, and there is no repair team standing by to cover breakdowns. This at the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France, where Cal Maritime is sailing as Team USA and at last word was seeking redress for two races of a three-race day. As described on the team blog,

“The shackle connecting the block to the jib car parted, and worse yet, it did so in such a way that a replacement block could not be attached to the car.” From a third in the first race of the day and looking good in the second, Cal Maritime faded to a pair of tenths, and that was a struggle all the way. Read about it HERE. (The Canadian team, apparently, is in the same fix.)

But before you go, here is Charlie Arms Cartee, sailing director at Cal Maritime, checking in to say, “How about CMA winning the Pacific Coast College Match Championships this weekend? Three freshman sailors and a junior on the case whilst the upper classmen are in France. Going to the first ICSA Match Race Championship!”

Pending the redress hearing, the standings look like this:

1. Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland
2. Universidade Tecnica de Lisboa, Portugal
3. Southampton Solent University, England
4. CUS Brescia, Italy
5. Limerick University, Ireland
6. Léovoile, France
7. California Maritime Academy, USA
8. Queen’s University, Canada
9. BI Business School, Norway
10. CUS Milano, Italy
11. University of Strathclyde, Scotland
12. Aachen university, Germany
13. Nihon University, Japan
14. Ecole Polytechnique, France

Suns New Jerseys