Monday, 22 February 2010

America's Cup: The America's Cup Arrives in San Francisco

The America's Cup at the City Hall in San Francisco. Image copyright Gilles Martin-Raget/BMW ORACLE Racing.

by Jane Eagleson

Larry Ellison and his BMW ORACLE Racing team have received the key to the city of San Francisco from Mayor Gavin Newsom.

On the first stop of the BMW ORACLE Racing America's Cup Victory Tour presented by ORACLE and BMW Efficient Dynamics, the America's Cup was available for public viewing at the San Francisco City Hall Rotunda on Saturday morning. The Mayor welcomed the Cup and team back to the United States and specifically to San Francisco, where he say he'd like to see the Cup stay.

"We're going to do whatever it takes to support the America's Cup staying right here in San Francisco Bay," Mayor Newsom said. "We've got the batural amphitheatre, which is the Bay and we have the spectators. If you want to elevate this sport, come to San Francisco Bay."

The venue for the 34th America's Cup hasn't been selected, with Larry Ellison (USA) noting that his team would consult with the America's Cup community on the next edition of the Cup before making any decisions.

"I think the most important thing is to make the right choice for the sport and all of the teams involved. That#s our number one concern," Ellison said. "Having said that, our yacht club is from San Francisco. I'm from San Francisco and this is a great place to sail."

At San Francisco's Citz Hall on Saturday the sailing team signed posters and hats for the large crowd, who also had the opportunity to take photographs with the trophy.

The Cup arrived in the United States on Friday afternoon, flying in from Valencia, Spain, where BMW ORACLE Racing won the 33rd America's Cup on 14th February.

After touching down at 4pm local time Friday, the Cup travelled with a police escort to the Golden Gate Yacht Club, where the team enjoyed a Q+A session with club members and special guests.

Larry Ellison, who founded the team and is a member of the afterguard in the race crew, noted it had taken 10 years, and three attempts, for him to complete his quest for the Cup.

"The third time is the charm," he said. "From the sailors to the design team and boat builders... Everyone's work combined in Valencia to deliver us the 33rd America's Cup."

On Sunday, the Victory Tour continues with the America's Cup heading south to San Diego, where the team operated a training base for 16 months in preparation for the competition in Valencia. At 4pm the trophy will be on public display at the USS Midway museum on the city's waterfront.

Following a 5pm ceremony with Mayor Jerry Sanders, the trophy and team will head to the San Diego Yacht Club on board the replica of the yacht America, after which the trophy is named. A flotilla of San Diego boats will parade along with America for a sunset sail across San Diego Bay to former Cup holder San Diego Yacht Club.


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