America’s Cup yacht regatta organizers are attempting to redefine sailing by offering a free show to anyone who can find a clear view of the race course on San Francisco Bay. But that’s not to say race officials will neglect sailing’s historical fan base among the rich.
Last week, the America’s Cup released VIP packages offering prime seating and other perks such as easy parking and wine tastings from top-notch Napa Valley vineyards. You and 10 guests can have all of that — over a four-day period — at a price tag of just $26,000. Individual tickets for the same four-day package will go for $3,000, and
two-day passes will cost $1,500.
The tickets are being offered for the cup’s 2012 events in San Francisco, including a round of races from Aug. 23 through Aug. 26 and another series that coincides with Fleet Week from Oct. 4 through Oct. 7. Those races will involve the AC45 boats, which will be dwarfed in comparison with the 72-foot yachts planned for the America’s Cup finals coming to San Francisco in September 2013.
The VIP area will be set up adjacent to the St. Francis Yacht Club in The City’s Marina district. Promoters have touted the America’s Cup as the third-best international revenue magnet for host cities — outdone only by the
Olympics and the World Cup.
Normally raced on the open ocean, the 2013 edition of the America’s Cup will be available for wider public view because of the highly touted “natural amphitheater” created by the rim of the Bay. For spectators, especially those willing to pay $26,000, organizers are promising a big show.
“The boats are wing-sailed catamarans, capable of sailing twice the windspeed,” says a brochure for the VIP passes. “Sailing fast is easy, maintaining control is critical, and the physical challenge imposed on the athletes is immense.”