Race for Cup speeds up 

City leaders will have to sail like a sleek trimaran on a gusty day if they hope to host the America’s Cup in 2014.

Initially, officials thought they had until the end of the year to put together a host-city proposal for the world’s oldest and largest regatta. But, they’ve been told by BMW Oracle Racing, the team with the power to choose the location for the next event, that a basic proposal is needed by the end of September, according to Kyri McClellan, a project manager in the Mayor’s Office.

That means a draft of a basic proposal — including how various properties would be used to stage the race, what resources The City could provide and how the development of a village would be funded — needs to be created and approved by the mayor and Board of Supervisors in about three weeks.

Supervisors return from recess Sept. 7, and the Mayor’s Office hopes to hand an approved document outlining the terms of agreement to billionaire Larry Ellison’s sailing team by the end of the month.

The timeline, McClellan said, is “ambitious.”

But, Board of Supervisors President David Chiu thinks it may be possible, depending on what exactly is in those terms of agreement.

“We do need to work quickly to come up with an attractive proposal that will bring the Cup — and the economic boost that goes with it — to San Francisco,” Chiu said in an e-mail. “I, of course, want to look at specific terms, but I know we will need to be creative to find the needed funds for the improvements.”

The America’s Cup is considered the world’s third-largest sporting event, after the Olympics and soccer’s World Cup. And, it’s the oldest trophy in sports. Ellison’s team won the Cup in February and now has the power to name the date, location and rules for the next race. It’s said it hopes to announce all three by the end of the year.

Ellison has said he would like to host the event in San Francisco Bay, but McClellan said The City is still competing with Valencia, Spain, which already has all the facilities for the event, and a city in Italy, which she said has offered money for the chance to host the regatta.

In a recent community meeting, McClellan laid out the basic land-use proposal being considered by her office. Piers 30-32 and Seawall 330 across from the piers would be used as the central hub of the race, and Pier 50 would act as a dock for the 10 to 12 racing yachts. The existing businesses at Pier 50 would be relocated. A developer would be granted a long-term lease and promised the chance to propose a future development at Piers 30-32 if they pay to repair the crumbling foundation.


City’s basic plan

Piers 30-32: Temporary buildings erected for central public engagement hub, including restaurants, retail, educational areas and public space
Seawall 330: Staging and support area for race and media hub
Pier 50: Docks for racing yachts
Pier 80: Docks for support boats and some of relocated businesses from Pier 50

Source: Mayor’s Office

Racing venues

In the previous 159 years of the America’s Cup, only six cities have hosted the prestigious sailing event:

  • New York
  • Newport, R.I.
  • Fremantle, Australia
  • San Diego
  • Auckland, New Zealand
  • Valencia, Spain

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