Team USA (right) turns in front of the San Francisco landscape during America’s Cup World series practice on Monday. Photo by Scot Tucker/SFBay.
The America’s Cup racing village opened Tuesday at San Francisco’s Marina Green, where race organizers introduced the sailors who are participating in preliminary races this week for the international regatta.
Practice runs began Tuesday afternoon on the Bay. The America’s Cup World Series races take place Wednesday through Sunday and involve 11 different boats representing eight teams.
San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee welcomed the sailors at a news conference Tuesday morning, saying residents are “going to see a level of excitement they’ve never seen” during the races, which will culminate in the America’s Cup Finals in September 2013.
Lee said he expects tens of thousands of people to come out for the races, which are projected to bring about $1 billion in economic benefits to the Bay Area.
“It’s not just for San Francisco; I say a billion dollars to the economy to the Bay Area with all the different activities,” he said.
Iain Murray, CEO of the America’s Cup Race Management, said the Bay’s waters should prove “very exhilarating and testing” and that “we’re in for a spectacular next five days.”
Qualifying races began Wednesday, followed by quarterfinals on Thursday and Friday, semifinals on Saturday and a final race on Sunday.
John Kostecki, a tactician for Oracle Team USA, which won the last America’s Cup in 2010 and chose San Francisco as the location for next year’s finals, said he expects a lot of action this week along the race course, which spans about 2 miles.
“It’s tough to navigate,” Kostecki said. “It’s a tight race course, and it will be very crowded.”
The America’s Cup World Series will return to San Francisco again from Oct. 2-7 before heading to Italy in April and May 2013.
The regatta will then come back to San Francisco for the Louis Vuitton Cup between July 4 and Sept. 1, 2013, followed by the America’s Cup Finals from Sept. 7-22, 2013.
More information about the races is available at www.americascup.com.