In 1967, the USA team competing in the America’s Cup sailing races out of Newport, Rhode Island, beat the Australians, four races to none. This summer, we can watch the competitions right here in San Francisco Bay.
First, some facts. America’s Cup refers to the trophy that was won in 1851 by the yacht named America, sailing for the New York Yacht Club, in a race against the British Royal Yacht. Queen Victoria watched as the boats sailed by. The Queen asked who was in second place. The answer was, “Your Majesty, there is no second place.” The team of America’s sailors, representing the then-relatively-new United States of America, took home the Royal Yacht Squadron’s 100-pound cup.
The last America’s Cup competition was in 2010. Billionaire Larry Ellison, who lives in the City part-time, created the sailing team and built the boat that won. As the current “defender” of the trophy, he earned the right to make some choices about how this next competition would be planned. He joined the Golden Gate Yacht Club, founded in the City in 1939, and our home town club became the official host club for the 2013 competitions.
Although more than 10 teams qualified to compete, only New Zealand, Italy and Sweden have sent teams to the 2013 competitions. The “challengers” compete for the prize called the Louis Vuitton Cup, with races scheduled for July through August, to determine the one challenger who will race Oracle Team USA for the America’s Cup in September. All teams competing in the event spend millions of dollars. Oracle Team USA’s boat alone cost a reported $8 million. Check out this exciting clip and hope that our team does not repeat what happened in a practice session last fall:
If you are interested in sailing, but prefer to stay dry, you should check out our San Francisco Model Yacht Club. The club was founded in 1898, and is reported to be the oldest continually operating club in the country. Home base is Spreckels Lake in Golden Gate Park, built on land gifted by the Spreckels family and designed specifically for model yachting. There are two divisions of boats, a Sail Squadron and a Power Squadron. The club is the only venue in the USA that is home to freesailing racing, where the boats rely only on the wind, the set of the sail, the rudder and the skill of the sailor, even though the sailor stays onshore. Here is a club member inviting everyone to come sailing. And you do not need to be a millionaire to join the fun:
This summer, Spreckels Lake is being repaired, but the SFMYC Web site is giving updates: http://sfmyc.org