San Diego and Bermuda finalists to host next America’s Cup

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americascup1With Chicago being eliminated from consideration due to the unreliability of consistent winds on Lake Michigan, America’s Finest City and the British-held island of Bermuda are the final two contenders for the honor of holding the 35th America’s Cup yachting regatta in 2017. CEO of the defending winners Oracle Team USA,  New Zealander Russell Coutts, is the decision-maker in the race for where the race will sail.

Chicago would have been an unprecedented choice for the 163-year old race.  No America’s Cup finals have ever been held on a lake, all of them taking place in either the Atlantic, Pacific, or Indian Oceans, or the Mediterranean Sea; off the coasts of England, Spain, the U.S., Australia, or New Zealand.

The contest is run after a variable number of years have passed since the last challenge. For example, the first challenge was issued in 1870, 19 years after the original race. The previous five Cups were held in 2013, 2010, 2007, 2003, and 2000.

The next race will be sailed by modern catamarans with wing sails more than 60 feet in width. The ships will be designed to rise onto hydrofoils that allow skipping over the water. As little as 10 knots of wind are necessary for the catamarans to function.americascup2

San Diego has hosted the race three previous times, with the San Diego Yacht Club winning in 1988 and 1992, and losing to New Zealand in 1995. If selected for 2017, the regatta would be held for the first time in San Diego Bay, rather than in the ocean off Point Loma. While the previous race was run in San Franciso Bay, and won there, the city is not being considered for the next race, due to commercial and financial reasons.

americascup3Should Bermuda host the next race, it would mark the first occurrence of an American defense held outside the country. One of the incentives the British possession is offering the corporations that finance the ships and the race itself are income tax breaks. Here at home, the San Diego organizing group are seeking financial assistance from local companies, reportedly including Qualcomm.

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