The luster of the AC World Series San Francisco still radiates two days after racing ended. The debut of wingsail catamaran racing on the Bay has generated great excitement throughout the host city of the 2013 America’s Cup.
Even track and field star Michael Johnson, the four-time gold medalist who’s considered the greatest long sprinter in the history of track and field, admired the athleticism required to race the AC45.
Johnson sailed with J.P. Morgan BAR skipper Ben Ainslie during pre-race tune up for the Super Sunday Finale, and then was the guest aboard ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS for the race.
“I have new respect for sailors,” said the 44-year-old Johnson. “The agility and movement that’s required while the boat’s moving around at the same time is amazing.”
Johnson started the final fleet race at the aft end of Russell Coutts’ AC45, and while Coutts placed 5th in the race the sprinter was scored DNF. The world record holder in the 400 meters fell off the back of the trampoline during a tack when he took a misstep while crossing sides.
Watch Michael Johnson fall off of ORACLE TEAM USA COUTTS
“I think we hit a wave or something,” said Johnson, who was sailing in his first race. “These boats are fast, and it’s amazing how close they get to one another. It’s pretty cool.”
Johnson was wearing a personal flotation device and was recovered by one of the course marshal boats without incident. Although his front row seat was experienced only briefly, tens of thousands of fans enjoyed course side seating along the Marina Green and other vantage points and the dryness of their computer.
Some of the highlights included:
- A crowd estimated at 150,000, highlighted by 40,000 on the final day, visited the AC Village at Marina Green during the regatta period (Aug. 21-26)
- The spectator fleet on the Bay grew daily to a peak of 450 yachts on Super Sunday
- The America’s Cup YouTube channel featured 45 videos and generated more than 500,000 views
- There were 163 accredited media from 11 countries and all five continents
- More than 2,900 stories were published in more than 1,000 outlets
- There were more than 5,600 hi-res image downloads from the America’s Cup Media Server
- The new America’s Cup Website had 300,000 unique visitors, who viewed more than 1 million pages and visited for an average time of three and a half minutes
- The new America’s Cup mobile application has been downloaded more than 10,000 times across the iOS and Android platforms. The app for iPad and iPhone has a 4+ rating
- Ticketed seating sold out daily for a capacity crowd of 6,600, and there were more than 1,600 hospitality guests over the four days
- The concert in the AC Village featuring Dr. Dog on Aug. 25 had more than 5,000 attendees
- The America’s Cup Event Authority distributed 2,725 gallons (12,388 liters) of water on site, which prevented the use of 24,700 single use plastic bottles
- The Healthy Ocean Project beach cleanup on Aug. 19 had 180 volunteers pick up more than 75 bags of trash and recyclable items at Fort Baker
The next AC World Series regatta in San Francisco is scheduled during Fleet Week, Oct. 2-7, when the ACWS fleet will share the Bay alongside the naval ships of the U.S. Pacific Fleet in one of the largest annual events held in San Francisco.
(Go to ACWS San Francisco Results for full standings)