Fisher's View: Day Zero Minus One - Of Foiling, Facilities and Fans

34th America’s Cup - San Francisco - Paradise Lost? - Pier 27-29 from the Embarcadero

Bob Fisher, one of the world's top international yachting journalists, and certainly the top writer on the America's Cup, is in San Francisco, CA, USA for the sixth round of the America's Cup World Series.

Bob is a multihuller from way back, having won the 1967 Little America's Cup, with Peter Schneidau on Lady Helmsman, and has been covering the America's Cup since 1967.

He writes:

Dear Diary – Day Z minus One - America's Cup World Series - San Francisco, CA, USA

San Francisco - Tuesday

298627 434218639948521 1640931583 n - Oracle Team USA - Day 4, San Francisco
With the second of the new-season America's Cup World Series regattas about to start, the focus has been on other aspects - the trials of the Oracle Team USA AC-72 being high on the list, and the tribulations of the America's Cup Event Authority (ACEA) right up there as well.

Everyone was aware that the defender's USA-17 ran into problems very shortly after launching - failures of the daggerboard/foils, which led to a severe downtime in the sailing programme and yesterday was only the fourth day that the big black boat had been on the water. (No problem there of exceeding the allowable 30 days by the end of January - given the proclivity of crashing that these giant craft seem to have).

Incidentally, re-cycling s very much in-fashion in San Francisco and the foils that the Oracle team are using are ones from the 2012 trimaran that have been cut down to fit the AC-72 - from one USA-17 to another!

On the far shore, at Alameda, the Artemis Racing team has its headquarters and there sits its bright-red, Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed AC-72, still without the triple element rig that failed when trialled on a 60ft trimaran in Valencia. But the move there is among the personnel with Nathan Outteridge joining the Red team with Paul Cayard, plus Rodney Ardern, Phil Jameson and Curtis Blewett.

Yesterday, ACEA informed the competitors of a change of heart that had been brought about by the experience it had garnered from the August ACWS regatta. There was a distinct paucity of attendance at the Pier31/32 set-up, but the crowds gathered on Marina Green, along the City Front shoreline, and this brought about a decision to concentrate the efforts to repeat that throughout the Louis Vuitton Cup and the 34th America's Cup, from July to the end of September next year.

Artists impression of viewing from Pier 30-32 in the public hub for 34th America’s Cup, San Francisco
.. .
Pier 31/32 will still be available to such teams as require it with a shared crane in situ. What won't be there is the subsidised hospitality - there would have been a trimming of this financial benefit in any case - and the money that ACEA would have spent there will be going to partially providing the public access on the Marina Green and even to providing a floating walkway similar to the one that was used in Auckland's Viaduct Basin to allow access from the promontory,where the Golden Gate YC (the defending club) and the St. Francis YC are situated.

What else has disappeared is the building subsidy that the challengers had expected, but in the light of the experience, the greater exposure on Marina Green will allow them to increase the benefits to their sponsors - a win-win situation. One feels that the budgets have reached their limits and the ACEA is attempting to prevent an implosion.

In tomorrow's Match Racing Qualifiers, Emirates Team New Zealand meets Artemis Racing-Red; Team Korea faces Luna Rossa-Piranha; Energy Team takes on the China Team; and Ben Ainslie Racing is matched with Luna Rossa-Swordfish. The second round will see the loser of the Korea v Luna Rossa-Piranha face the loser of the China v Energy match; and the losers in the other two matches will meet. Finally, the winners of second round matches will meet to progress to the quarter finals on Friday.

Cheers, Bob

Piers 30-32: Located just south of the San Francisco/Oakland Bay Bridge on the Embarcadero