The 34th America’s Cup World Series opened in San Francisco on Wednesday, August 22 to an excited crowd with a trio of Match Racing Qualifiers. The race course past Larry Ellison’s Oracle Racing headquarters at Marina Green offers spectacular views as the AC45 catamarans swoop by close to shore. Ellison will be onboard as his team is racing today.
Olympic gold medalist Ben Ainslie has made news as a member of the Ben Ainslie racing team from Great Britain. Ainslie’s recent victory in solo boating at the 2012 Olympics in London was thrilling, but he describes racing in an AC45 like going “from a go-kart to an Indy car.” Six teams including Ainslie are competing for three final spots in today’s Quarterfinals.
The race conditions were slightly lighter than what the teams had come to expect on the Bay over the past week when five crews capsized during training sessions. Today promises winds of 14-17 knots, with turbulent currents to navigate, providing exciting, on the edge racing in the double hull racing catamarans (see video).
“We’ve all sailed here; we know the winds and currents and we know the performance of these boats,” said America’s Cup Director Iain Murray. “Add to that these champion sailors and high-performance boats with wingsails, and we’re in for a spectacular five days.”
A total of 11 teams will compete over the next four days. There will be a free concert on Saturday afternoon overlooking the race course, followed by a thrilling, closely matched final race series on Sunday, August 26. The semi-finals will follow in early October during Fleet Week.
Visitors who stay at the upscale Heritage Place nearby, or the romantic Cavallo Point lodge across the channel will have picture-perfect viewing. Visitor tips are at the website.