News From the Port
ORACLE RC44 Cup Sailing Regatta Comes to San Diego Bay
The ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego, an action-packed international sailing competition, will be held on San Diego Bay near the downtown waterfront from March 2 through 6, 2011. It will offer the public an up-close view of some of the world's best sailing crews.
The 11 teams racing represent New Zealand, Italy, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Austria, Russia and the U.S.
Hosting the ORACLE RC44 Cup sailing regatta continues San Diego's prominent ranking as an international sailing venue—a distinction that dates back more than 20 years to when the America's Cup races were held off of Point Loma in 1988, 1992 and 1995.
Public Invited to Tidelands
The public is offered free front row viewing from the North Embarcadero and other vantage points on the bay to watch all the preparation and skill of top-notch sailors competing aboard the 44-foot-long high-performance boats. From the east end of Harbor Island, spectators will be able to watch the boats maneuver around a mark.
During the short course, fast action races, the boat crews will lean out over the water on the rails of the boat to increase speed—a move called "hiking-out." The fleet of boats will be scant feet, sometimes inches, from each other as they maneuver around the marks. Spinnakers will be hoisted to capture the most speed possible while sailing downwind.
Spectators are invited to watch the race from the end of the Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier, the Port of San Diego's new cruise terminal and event center on the North Embarcadero. The Pavilion is located at 1000 North Harbor Drive.
Wind permitting, the start and finish line will align in the Bay in front of the Port Pavilion. The boats will depart from the Broadway Pier each morning, allowing spectators a chance to watch the teams prepare for a day of racing.
The Port Pavilion on Broadway Pier is also home to the Event Village, where spectators can purchase food, drinks and regatta souvenirs.
World Will be Watching San Diego
The ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego event is a coming out party of sorts for the new Port Pavilion, and an opportunity to demonstrate how the public facility can adapt to a variety of uses.
The world will be watching.
A high profile sailing event that leads up to the 2013 America's Cup competition, the series of RC44 races attracts fans from many countries and world-wide media attention. The San Diego races are the first event in the 2011 RC44 Championship that then continues on to Europe.
"The national and international exposure San Diego will gain from ESPN and others covering the RC44 races and showing San Diego in its best light is invaluable," said Joe Terzi, President and CEO of CONVIS, San Diego's Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Dennis Conner, a San Diego yachtsman and four time winner of the America's Cup, brought the prized Cup home to American shores and San Diego in 1987 after winning the Cup back from Australia. His team aboard Stars and Stripes successfully defended the Cup against a New Zealand challenge in 1988.
The America's Cup races here attracted hundreds of yacht owners, and megayachts, from around the world.
Shoreside, the Port of San Diego and the America's Cup Organizing Committee sponsored an America's Cup Museum that highlighted the history of the silver America's Cup, the oldest active trophy in international sport that dates to 1851. It was located in the B Street Pier Cruise Ship Terminal.
America's Cup International Villages were set up in North Embarcadero Marina Park and on Shelter Island for public America's Cup events, such as team introductions.
To commemorate hosting the America's Cup, the Port of San Diego and San Diego Port Tenants Association renamed the "Commercial Basin" at Shelter Island "America's Cup Harbor."
Sailors Return to San Diego
Many of the sailors competing in the ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego sailed here in the 1990s during the challenger and defender series for the America's Cup.
This includes Russell Coutts, who led BMW ORACLE Racing to victory in last years America's Cup races against Switzerland, returning the coveted Cup to the United States. The team spent 16 months in San Diego practicing for this 33rd America's Cup competition, held in Valencia, Spain.
The RC in RC44 stands for Russell Coutts, who co-designed the high-performance boats.
Coutts and ORACLE Racing will defend the America's Cup in San Francisco at the 2013 America's Cup competition.
Coutts was the skipper who led Team New Zealand to an America's Cup victory in 1995, ending San Diego's reign as "Home of the America's Cup."
Coutts told the RC44 Class Association that San Diego would be a natural amphitheatre for those watching the RC44 races from onshore.
The ORACLE RC44 Cup San Diego will be run by Sailing Events Association of San Diego (SEA SD), a new organization that promotes major sailboat racing events in San Diego for the benefit of the local economy.
Learn more about the Port of San Diego: www.portofsandiego.org.