Monday, September 9, 2013

America's Cup in SF

I am happy that from time to time Craig contributes to these pages. This is one of those times. His description of the America's Cup races is below.  I thought I'd write a bit about our days.

The weather in San Francisco can be very unpredictable. We experienced an absolutely perfect day on Saturday. Inland, the temperatures soared into triple digits, but in the city it was in the 70's with bright sunshine and a gentle onshore breeze. We have been here many times, and I don't think the weather has ever been this beautiful.

We were up early Saturday, I packed a lunch, and we were off on a 20 minute walk from our RV to the Larkspur Ferry dock. Neither of us had ever done this, but all went smoothly and we were delighted with the $4.75 senior fare rate. 

Senior Seating

On both days, the weekend crowd was large but very happy and friendly. I like to watch people, especially when they are having a good time.

Even the wake was neat

Ghandi reminded us we still had a way to go to get to the Race. 

The nice man at the RV Park desk had given me a map and advice about which trolley and bus to take. So although uncertain, we mingled with the huge crowds going many different places, and found our transportation just outside of the Ferry Building door.

Another bargain. Senior fare $0.75. 

The F line took us about half way, and then instead of boarding a bus, we decided to walk the remaining distance.  Some of our walk was along the tourist shop line street, and some was up a hill overlooking Fort Mason and the Bay.

As we made our way to the grandstand area, we saw many ships both out in the Bay and moored at the piers.

This was not an America's Cup competitor.

I was quite pleased with the seats we had. I expected bleachers, but these had backs and were reasonably comfortable.  A bit close, but comfortable.  We had an excellent view of the course, and we could see two large TV screens that broadcast the race in detail. 

We settled in, ate our lunch, enjoyed some warm-up smaller catamarans racing, and began watching for the Big Cats to appear.

Finally we saw them!

This is the New Zealand boat, far out, the gray rectangle in the corner is the Diamond Vision screen.

This how well we could see the  race from our seats. This image was taken with my little point and shoot camera, and only zoomed in and cropped a little. We think the big white boat in the background is one of Larry Ellison's personal yachts.

So now I'll turn over the story to Craig.
On Sept. 7-8 we went to see the America's Cup races in San Francisco Bay, and even spent money for grandstand seats. These give you a higher point of view for a cost of $2 per foot of elevation for the least expensive seats, the ones we bought. But the tickets cost less than those for the Rose Bowl parade or a World Series game, and way less than for a Super Bowl.

There were 2 races each day. From the USA point of view, they could be described as "3 learning experiences and then a victory". 

It was clear from the start that the two boats were pretty equal. In the first race each day, Oracle Team USA was ahead at one point, but better sailing by Emirates Team New Zealand allowed them to come back and win the race.  In Saturday's second race, Team USA's boat may have had a small problem with the mainsail (more properly "main wing") but the team may have let it get to be a bigger problem in their heads, and they weren't very competitive.

The way the competition was set up, Emirates Team NZ has raced against challengers from other countries, while Oracle Team USA only got to race their two boats against each other. Probably Team NZ was better prepared, but experience is now more even.

Sunday Team USA was competitive all day. They won both starts, which is very important in races that only take half an hour. The last race Sunday they led from start to finish, but at times by only a few feet. It was the closest race we've seen in 20+ years of watching America's Cup racing. About the time I was about to faint, the US boat won by a boat length or 4.  Wow!

Fog caused some problems for the network helicopters Sunday, and may be even thicker on Tuesday. This pic is courtesy of the SJ Mercury News:


  1. They sound like exciting days! You got some really great shots too - thanks for sharing.

    Our most exciting time sailing was for the Howe Island Cup, a much scaled down version where we were all weekenders. With some skilled sailing we came in first, beating some bigger and better equipped boats - we earned our bragging rights and had a blast doing so!

  2. I had to go back and reread the beginning of the post. For a while there, I thought you had to row your way across the bay! :)

  3. Also the US team cat had been fined two of their main team members along with one or two other things. Seems like the last couple of years they added some weights to their boat after they were inspected prior to the race. Where ever it was they added the weight it was suppose to give them an advantage in the race.

    There was something about this on Yahoo News last week.

  4. I love your header picture. That is really a fantastic shot. I watched a little bit of this race on TV and saw where one of the guys (US I think) fell off the boat.

  5. What fun! Nothing like the sailing that John and I used to do. The header photo is beautiful.

  6. A ferry and the transit...great way to travel and people watch! The walk was nice too.

    What a fun, fun week- end you had! Your pictures are awesome!

  7. OH my the pictures are awesome so crystal clear. It's like being there with you.

  8. Just beautiful shots! Must have been very exciting to be there in person.

  9. We loved the racing and today I have withdrawal syndrome. Hope it's not as foggy as you predict tomorrow.

    Your pictures are stunning.

    It looks as though there will be some real competition. Cheering for Team New Zealand ..... sorry folks. We want the cup back here in Auckland.

    Thanks again for the photos.


  10. Such a great post from both of you. Really enjoyed it and the pictures are absolutely sensational especially the header and the fog photo. Very unique.


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