The eyes of the sailing world will be on America’s Finest City beginning Saturday when the America’s Cup World Series begins a nine-day run on San Diego Bay.
The Port Cities Challenge kicks off the regatta on Saturday and Sunday, with three fleet races each day beginning at 1:05 p.m. Following a two-day break, action resumes Wednesday through Sunday (Nov. 16-20) with the championship portion of the America’s Cup World Series, including fleet and match racing, plus AC 500 Speed Trial drag races.
After stops in Portugal and England, the event in San Diego brings the series within 500 miles of the site of the next Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series and the 34th America’s Cup Finals, to be contested off San Francisco in early 2013.
Though it’s not the ultimate America’s Cup competition, the battle for the oldest trophy in international sport was contested on the waters off San Diego in 1988, 1992 and 1995, and the BMW Oracle Racing team had its training base here in 2009 before heading to Spain and claiming the 33rd America’s Cup.
The racing will take place with the AC45 class of cutting-edge multihull catamarans, with their towering wingsails providing speed. Fans will have the opportunity to see all of the America’s Cup competitors racing together, though the action on San Diego Bay may not rival what will take place on the open ocean. Weather may also be a factor, with a storm expected to hit here by Saturday.
The America’s Cup Village, featuring food, merchandise, exhibits and entertainment, will give sailing fans a great vantage point for the races. The AC Village is housed on North Harbor Drive, between the Broadway and Navy piers.
There will be plenty of good viewing points, including a public spectator area at the end of the Broadway Pier. The America’s Cup Village will have live video with commentary on a big-screen format from Wednesday through Sunday. Entrance to the AC Village is a suggested donation of $10, which will help support ocean conservation.
“San Diego Bay has a proven track record as a perfect venue for this type of action-packed sailing,” said Port Commission chairman Scott Peters. “The Port Cities Challenge is really a community celebration and a perfect way to encourage residents of San Diego County to come to the waterfront and cheer on their representative teams as the racing event gets under way.”