America's Cup: Alameda makes overtures on Venue hosting for San Fran

City of Alameda Mayor, Marie Gilmore, with former City of San Francisco Mayor, Willie Brown
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The City of Alameda has made a late play for the Venue hosting for the 35th America's Cup, with the release of a letter from the Mayor, Marie Gilmore.

The letter appears to be an initiative from the City's America's Cup Committee, formed in the run-up to the 34th America's Cup to maximise benefits of that event for the City and Alameda district.

The ten member Committee has remained in place, and is still holding regular meetings in the hope that the America's Cup will return to the San Francisco Bay area, home waters of the America's Cup Defender Golden Gate Yacht Club. It is also responsible for generating benefits for the Alameda area and businesses.

Artemis Racing is being launched and christened by Sarah Gundersen in the presence of Torbjörn Törnqvist and his son Frederic. The Christening was witnessed by The whole shore team, sailing team and their families and friends. 22nd of July, 2013, Alameda, USA
In the minutes of its meeting on April 3, 2014, the Committee noted:

'The Committee discussed the various rumors for AC35’s site selection and that the media coverage of possible venues may be a part of behind-the- scenes negotiating tactics by various players. The Committee decided to continue forming a Work Plan in case AC35 stays in the Bay Area.

The Committee reviewed items that worked well with AC34.'

The 2017 America's Cup was also on the Agenda for the next Meeting of the Committee on July 10, 2014 which again discussed the America's Cup and also how the City could be involved in 'Bart's Bash' a mass worldwide regatta to be held in honour of Andrew 'Bart' Simpson. Olympic Gold medalist, Bart Simpson (GBR) was part of the crew of the ill-fated Artemis Racing AC72 which broke up during practice ahead of the America's Cup eliminations. Artemis Racing was one of two teams based in Alameda, a former seaplane base on the shore opposite the Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The letter dated July 24 would seem to be an initiative from the July 10 meeting of the Committee, and is a late run for the Hosting Rights. But according to local sources the fist initiative to have the America's Cup hosted out of Alameda was taken by some individuals soon after the conclusion of the 34th America's Cup.

Sail-World understands that the subject of the America's Cup venue will not be on the agenda for the upcoming Competitors Meeting in London, this week. But if not on the formal agenda then the matter is certain to be discussed informally.

At the previous Competitors Meeting in Los Angeles just over two weeks ago all then six Challengers were reported expressed a preference for San Francisco as a venue. America's Cup Events Authority, the commercial and marketing arm of Golden Gate Yacht Club and Oracle Team USA were also present at that meeting in Los Angeles. The Challenger of Record, Hamilton Island YC gave notice that it would not be entering the 35th America's Cup for financial reasons, and gave 90 days notices of its resignation as Challenger or Record. That mantle is expected to transition to Luna Rossa (ITA) expected to be confirmed as the second Challenge received, when entries close at the end of next week.

Proposals lodged by the City of San Francisco at the end of December 2013, were not accepted by ACEA, who announced on June 11, 2014 that the City had been excused from further consideration. San Francisco was one of four venues long listed by ACEA. Chicago was excused on July 8, 2014 and the decision now appears to revolve around a choice between Bermuda, a British Overseas Territory and San Diego. Racing is planned to be sailed inside San Diego Bay, which is subject to heavy Navy and other traffic.

A decision on the venue is required to be made by December 2014, however previous statements by ACEA indicated that it could be made earlier, in late September.

San Francisco, 17/05/13 America's Cup 2013 Patrizio Bertelli Luna Rossa Press Conference in Alameda-San Francisco Photo: © Carlo Borlenghi/Luna Rossa

Last Friday, four of the remaining five Challengers made a statement supporting any venue selected by ACEA. Team New Zealand did not put its support to the statement, which was supported by the four remaining European Challengers. The New Zealand team, one of the longest standing in America's Cup competition and the most successful professional sailing team in the World, has been not invited to the London Meeting, for reasons which are not clear.

Entries close for the 35th America's Cup on August 8, 2014. Five teams are expected to enter, triggering the need for a preliminary Qualifying Series in a second venue. That requirement is not believed to be favoured by two of the European Challengers.