America’s Cup on course for tour around Alcatraz
SAILING: The race course area for the 34th America’s Cup (AC), to be held in San Francisco in 2013, has been revealed.
Friday 24 February 2012, 03:34PM
Tucked between Alcatraz and the city shoreline, the race course offers up-close viewing from several locations, and will bring spectators closer to the action than any other race in the event’s history.
The exact location of the race course area will change slightly on any given day depending on weather conditions, John Craig, the Principal Race Officer for the AC, said.
Racing in 2013 will take place in the new AC72 class, wing-sailed catamarans designed to reach high speeds.
The race might still be 15 months away, but the reigning champ, Oracle Racing, is already in overdrive preparing for the 34th Cup.
The team is practicing on the smaller version of the final product, the AC45, as the AC72 is still in the design stages.
Helmsman Jimmy Spithill said of the new course: “There’s the tide, there’s the wind, and it’s not always apparent which direction to go, you know which is the most favorable way to go. Given that the bay is very small, there will be a lot of spectator craft, the boats are more physical than ever before, and it’s just going to be extremely challenging.”
The actual America’s Cup trimaran will be 72 feet long with a 223 foot mast, and will be capable of going three times the speed of the wind.
“Fifty-60 mph (80-100 kph), so you’re really going to have to hold on,” Spithill told KGO News.
“We hope to have an advantage from my experience here on San Francisco Bay, but quite honestly the other teams will figure it out and get they’ll get a hang of it.”
The 2013 racing season starts on July 4th, with the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, leading up to the AC Finals from September 7th-22nd.