Barclay: A postcard from Marina Green

11/06/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - AC72s training

I received a note from our photographer Gilles Martin-Raget today. He's been working from Marina Green the past few days, shooting the AC72s training just off the shoreline. This is the start area for the races and the teams are spending a lot of time here, learning the nuances of the top part of the racecourse.

Gilles has covered the America's Cup since 1983. Today, when he emailed us his shots, he wrote: “You guys stuck behind your desks need to get down here. The show is unbelievable. I can’t wait for the racing."

11/06/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - AC72s trainingIt's nice to hear that kind of positivity. Just one month ago, tragedy struck the America’s Cup. Artemis Racing’s Andrew “Bart” Simpson died when the team’s AC72 capsized while training on San Francisco Bay. Last week we were all inspired by the team’s decision to continue, to keep their challenge going.... they didn’t want their story to end with Simpson’s death.

Artemis Racing intends to go sailing early in July. But this sailing is not racing; it’s a little like building a race car and then tuning it on the track until all the systems and balance of the car is perfect. It is only then that the car is ready to go racing.

So it is with the Swedish team - they will be “tuning” their boat in July until it is ready for racing. If the winds are below average, we could see them out earlier in July. On the other hand, if the winds are stronger than average, it will be late July or early August before they go racing.

The safety-revised race schedule issued by Regatta Director Iain Murray gives Artemis Racing every chance to compete and be successful: maybe that is why a couple of the teams are sparring over the Artemis decision to stand down from the early preliminary rounds.

That aside, Artemis Racing’s decision adds uncertainty to what we can expect in the July preliminary rounds.  While there will be lots of activity on the racecourse every day, we felt that if we could not guarantee racing on the scheduled day in July, the only decision that was fair to fans was to refund their tickets. We did that yesterday.  Looking forward, the ticketed bleachers will be in place for Louis Vuitton Cup semi finals, finals and the America’s Cup Finals.

(photo2060)Regardless of any uncertainty over racing, there will be lots to see at race times on the Bay. Why? Because all teams want as much time as they can get on the racecourse, as close as possible to the time of the day the races will be run.

This means that in July we will see ORACLE TEAM USA’s two boats, one skippered by Jimmy Spithill and the other by 4-time Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Ainslie, matching each other on the racecourse. Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa will be there, perfecting their maneuvers and wringing every last bit of speed out of their respective boats.

And the great news of last week is that Artemis Racing will also be there, sailing and tuning their boat in a race against time to get themselves into a position to race competitively. We all love an underdog story and Artemis Racing fits nicely into this category!

(photo2032)With all this activity, the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green and the America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29 will be open as planned for the entire month of July. Viewing is free, the activities, displays, food and drink concessions will be open and there will be as much on land to see as there will be on the water.

Yes, the Bay will be busy this July and I hope to see you at the America’s Cup Village at Marina Green and the America’s Cup Park at Piers 27/29.

I have it on good authority the show will be unbelievable.

Stephen Barclay

CEO, America’s Cup Event Authority