San Francisco selected to host 2013 America’s Cup

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San Francisco won the bidding to host the America’s Cup in 2013, which will be sailed in fast catamarans with a backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz and Coit Tower.

Friday’s announcement by the America’s Cup Event Authority came after talks with San Francisco and Newport, R.I., went to the deadline for picking the venue for sailing’s marquee regatta.

“We sought a venue that fulfills our promise – to showcase the best sailors in the world competing on the fastest boats,” America’s Cup Event Authority Chairman Richard Worth said in a statement. “And hosting the America’s Cup in San Francisco will realize that promise.”

“The selection of San Francisco today to host the 34th America’s Cup marks the beginning of an extraordinary new chapter for our City and for the sport of sailing,” echoed San Francisco Mayor Gavin.

“Together, San Francisco and the ORACLE Racing Team have seized a tremendous opportunity to showcase sailing in the magnificent amphitheater of San Francisco Bay, provide jobs and a more than $1 billion boost to our City’s economy and transform the America’s Cup experience. The strength of San Francisco’s bid and the enormous benefits it will provide to the City and to the team are the result of months of hard work, negotiations and overwhelming support from throughout the City and State.

“San Francisco truly came together to support this bid, from the Board of Supervisors, Port of San Francisco and the City’s elected family to major business, labor and environmental and community leaders in the San Francisco America’s Cup Organizing Committee. 44I want to thank Larry Ellison, the entire ORACLE Racing Team and the Golden Gate Yacht Club for their commitment to San Francisco as we begin this strong new partnership with the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“Today, San Francisco celebrates that the America’s Cup is coming to San Francisco Bay. We are ready to get to work right away in 2011 to deliver on this remarkable opportunity for the City and for the America’s Cup.”

San Francisco had the America’s Cup all but secured in November. But Stephen Barclay, the lead negotiator for the Golden Gate Yacht Club, said the Port Commission changed the deal that had been negotiated and sent to the Board of Supervisors to begin the approval process.

After San Francisco was put on notice on Dec. 11 that its bid was unacceptable, America’s Cup officials began negotiating with Newport.

Russell Coutts, a four-time America’s Cup winner and CEO of BMW Oracle Racing, had telephone conversations with San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom before Christmas that may have helped swing the momentum back to the California city.

America’s Cup organizers had expressed concern about taking on too much risk in developing a portion of the waterfront for the competition.

Newport officials gave a “superhuman effort” in talks, GGYC spokesman Tom Ehman said.

“Should there be any problem with San Francisco fulfilling their end of the deal, we’ll be looking to Newport to jump in,” Ehman told The Associated Press.

He said Newport likely will get a preliminary regatta during the buildup to the 2013 America’s Cup.

San Francisco officials estimated hosting the America’s Cup could be worth $1.4 billion in economic benefits and create 8,000 jobs.

BMW Oracle Racing, owned by software mogul Larry Ellison, won back the oldest trophy in international sports for the United States with a two-race sweep of Alinghi of Switzerland in February off Valencia.

The 2013 regatta will be contested in 72-foot, wing-sailed catamarans.

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