February 11, 2011
The Scope Of Development For San Francisco’s First America’s Cup
Chances are you’re already familiar with the plans for major America’s Cup related development in San Francisco at Piers 26-28, 27-29, and 30-32. But are you familiar with the plans for Marina Green which include bleachers for public viewing; up to 100,000 square feet of food, retail, and interactive displays; and tents for up to 2,000 VIPs?
Or how about the proposed hospitality and viewing area for up to 2,000 on Alcatraz, the temporary moorings at Fort Mason and Aquatic Park, and the designation of the Brannan Street Wharf as a strategic public open space?
With the America’s Cup Event Authority projecting between 100,000 and 250,000 spectators in San Francisco on race days during the week, and between 250,000 and 500,000 spectators on weekend and final race days, there’s a lot of building to be done.
If you’re interested in when and where it’s all proposed to be built (click images to enlarge), this is the document to read: 34th America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report Notice of Preparation.
And if you want to weigh in, these are the two public scoping meetings at which to do it: Wednesday, February 23 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at City Hall and Thursday, February 24 from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at the Port’s offices on Pier 1.
And note a new race area that now appears to extend beyond the Golden Gate bridge:
∙ 34th America’s Cup Environmental Impact Report Notice of Preparation [sfplanning.org]
Free Commercially Reasonable Rents For America's Cup As Proposed [SocketSite]
∙ And The 2013 America’s Cup Will Be Held In…San Francisco! [SocketSite]
∙ The Proposed 34th America’s Cup Course For San Francisco’s Bay [SocketSite]
∙ From Piers To Park And The Brannan Street Wharf By
2012 2013? [SocketSite]
First Published: February 11, 2011 5:00 AM
Comments from "Plugged In" Readers
How long exactly will the races last for? A year? Do some people actually go to the cities and stay there for all the races?
I'm not too familiar with the racing culture.
Posted by: Paul Hwang at February 11, 2011 8:06 AM
What about Treasure Island? That looks like a great place to view...
Posted by: brent at February 11, 2011 9:09 AM
that green line looks a lot like the proposed F-line extension...
Posted by: Mike Fogel at February 11, 2011 9:11 AM
At 30 knots, this course is still going to be too short. This course will take 45 minutes max to run, but maybe that is the idea, to make for better TV.
There are a lot of challenger races before the final one Paul. The Chronicle reports as many as 74 over the months of July and September. The total number of races is determined by the weather, so it is impossible to give an exact number.
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at February 11, 2011 9:31 AM
Oh, so bringing America's Cup here is just a vehicle for private interests to do a land-grab of some prime SF and bay public real-estate, with taxpayers selling public property low and adding cash subsidies on top. Who would have guessed?
Not only that, but what about the 74 races of big sailboats holding up essential shipping traffic on the bay for long periods of time? Did anyone even think about this?
Americas Cup in SF bay is a lousy idea. World Expo at Moffett field is a lousy idea, or the same reason: It is just a land grab.
Everyone should stop being naive about this.
Posted by: Jus7tme at February 11, 2011 9:54 AM
I'm still constantly amazed that this is such a big undertaking.
as far as I know I've never met anybody who has gone to an America's cup. I didn't even know it was televised.
I've started asking my friends and family about this, and none of us have the slightest idea about what the America's cup entails.
it must be more popular overseas or something?
I just have a hard time understanding how this can be as huge a deal as boosters claim when most people don't have the foggiest (SF pun intended) idea about even the basic rules.
even people not into sports have an idea that the Olympics is every 4 years, or that a marathon is just about 26 miles, or that Rugby is "kind of like Football".
heck, I don't even know where the contestants come from. Are they countries? Cities? Private enterprises?
so is it like NASCAR where corporate sponsors put forth a team? of like the Olympics where a country puts forth a team?
this isn't to say that there is no following of this Cup, only that I wonder how they figure out the economic impact of the Cup.
Posted by: ex SF-er at February 11, 2011 10:13 AM
What impact will this have on Chrissy Field? I'd hate to see the beautiful walking/jogging trails and open views of the water turned into a bleacher-ridden wasteland full of hot dog stands and such.
Posted by: Gigi at February 11, 2011 10:26 AM
considering the demographic it will more likely be a wasteland of champagne and caviar stands.
Posted by: James at February 11, 2011 11:12 AM
Well, the nimby's are beginning to show up and complain and whine. what else is new?
they have no idea what they are talking about. This promises to be a great event for San Francisco.
Looking forward to watching it.
Posted by: noearch at February 11, 2011 11:15 AM
"a new race area that now appears to extend beyond the Golden Gate bridge"
One of the press releases had mentioned this. It's a great idea -- think about the iconic photos.
"I've started asking my friends and family about this, and none of us have the slightest idea about what the America's cup entails."
I knew it was televised, but I'm not familiar with the audience for the America's Cup either. I will watch it because it's here, but I wouldn't travel for it, obviously. My guess is that lots of ridiculously filthy rich people come here to watch, since yachting is a billionaire's club anyway.
With respect to the contestants, usually a yacht club is the official "defender" and the official "challenger." In this case, the official Defender is the Golden Gate Yacht Club, which was last represented by BMW Oracle/Larry Ellison. I forget who the official Challenger of Record is, but you could look it up.
The race is generally ad hoc each time it's run. The Defender and the Challenger of Record agree upon the rules -- the site, what type of boats, where the course is, etc. Usually what happens, since sometime in the 1800s probably, is that there are many challengers, and they have a challenger regatta to determine who the challenger will be in the final series. This regatta has been known in many recent years (but not for the last America's Cup) as the Louis Vuitton Cup. This regatta will be in SF in 2012.
Sometimes, the Defender has its own regatta to determine who the defender will be in the final series, although it's unclear whether Golden Gate/Oracle will be doing that this time around. The final series will be in SF in 2013, and will be in the format that the Defender and Challenger of Record decided. In the past, there has been best of 3, best of 7, and probably other things.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 11:31 AM
I think this'll be a great event, and as a Marina resident I'm looking forward to walking down to Crissy Field to view the race. Looks like the extra $$ I spent on a really nice pair of binoculars a few years ago will finally pay off.
To the whiners who constantly complain about a "land grab" where do you think the city was going to get the money needed to fix and rehab all the dilapidated piers?
Posted by: Fishchum at February 11, 2011 11:34 AM
Yes. You damp sponges have it all figured out. Your worst nightmare has come true. A large tribe of rich, cosmopolitan global citizens will descend upon San Francisco soon and rub their wealth, glamour and prestige in your rent-controlled, patchouli-reeking, holier-than-thou faces. "Oh look, Paloma. Its a little person gazing in on us and our impossibly chic sailing event. Poor, poor little person."
Posted by: killbotkondo at February 11, 2011 11:39 AM
I think that the spectator count is wildly optimistic. Everyone will want to see the 72 foot catamarans in action once, but then, well, it's a slower nascar without the crashes and with the contestants miles distant most of the time. Worth seeing casually but not something you plan your day around.
For those who haven't read the various docs, the event (AC34) has exclusive use of the race area from about mid-July to mid-Sept in 2012 and 2013. The NOP doc suggests that in 2012 they will have approximately 30 race days, using the race area from 1-5PM on those days.
The NOP doc is worth reading--scroll down to the table starting page 22 to see the permanent and temporary changes to take place. They're rather vague about where bleachers and corporate/private hospitality tents would go, lumping it into "Crissy Field, Alcatraz, Cavallo Point, Fort Mason" with mention of 5-10000 bleacher seats. Sounds like Marina Green will very occupied with tents.
Gigi, my guess is that on race days Crissy Field won't be available for its regular recreational users. Even if you could get there the experience will be lousy. But my hope is that once the novelty wears off the crowds will be tiny, except perhaps for the final races in 2013 which might draw blue angels level crowds. I agree that having Crissy fouled with bleachers and tents for the 2.5 month stretches of 2012 and 2013 is not acceptable.
If you want to keep Crissy free of bleachers and other encroachment, by all means, participate in the environmental impact process. I think aside from Marina Green the locations of bleachers and tents is not yet set.
Posted by: Delancey at February 11, 2011 12:00 PM
Would someone who believes this is a "land grab" please lay out the bullet points of the economic case for it being a land grab? That would be helpful, as opposed to simply declaring that it is, and it would give us some comparison to other developments in SF that people feel may or may not be a land grab.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 12:15 PM
sfrenegade, I did not make the "land grab" remark but cynical me would really like to know just how much the deals changed on Dec 31, 2010. Until that info is public one cannot respond.
I am obviously less than thrilled with the prospect of prime waterfront parkland being turned over to the race organizers for 5 months in 2012 and 2013, allowing for a week of setup and breakdown each year.
Posted by: Delancey at February 11, 2011 12:44 PM
Thank you for the information Delancey, much appreciated!
Posted by: Gigi at February 11, 2011 12:48 PM
"cynical me would really like to know just how much the deals changed on Dec 31, 2010"
I agree -- I'd like to know that too. There is also the cynic in me saying, "why would Oracle do this without great benefits?" I'd like for someone to lay out the argument though. It's easy to say, but harder to argue. These piers are potentially dangerous deadweight to some extent currently, and the NIMBY concerns about partial use of the parks for spectators doesn't concern me much.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 12:55 PM
The final race is short but the practice and then the races will go on for years. These monster boats will be out there for a long time. It will be interesting to see if the Cup has a measurable effect on real estate with good north views, such as the Fontana buildings on North Point. Front row seats.
If the GG Yacht Club wins again, which the champ often does, then the Cup presence could be here for many years.
Posted by: unwarrantedinlaw at February 11, 2011 12:58 PM
"It will be interesting to see if the Cup has a measurable effect on real estate with good north views, such as the Fontana buildings on North Point. Front row seats."
Do you really think that people will pay more for real estate just because they can watch two seasons of races from their homes ? The north views are attractive with or without a race.
Posted by: The Milkshake of Despair at February 11, 2011 1:22 PM
So opposing giving up the best public parkland in the city for the exclusive use of a corporate schmoozing event for 75 days a year is NIMBYism? sfrenegade, you're giving the NIMBY accusation a bad name.
BTW, I'm not opposing the event--I think the cat racing will be very cool and AC34 is trying hard to address format, competetive balance and approachability issues from past cups. But, I also think AC34 will do fine without bleachers in Crissy and with the schmooze tents in less prime locations.
Posted by: Delancey at February 11, 2011 2:00 PM
Everybody is treating this as if it is the Olympics. The America's Cup? WTH is that?? When the Olympics come here, THEN we can get excited. This event will not give San Francisco any bragging rights. It is kind of sad that this is something the city is getting all flabbergasted about. I love this city but find its obsession with petty issues quite pedantic compared to the other international cities in this country, which actually have big important things happening all the time (we don't even have an arena. Nuff said.)
Posted by: sf at February 11, 2011 2:10 PM
What I should have said is that I personally don't have a problem with this taking up some park space instead of using the word NIMBY, which was more inflammatory than intended in this case.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 2:12 PM
At times the word NIMBY is perfectly appropriate to describe some of those who simply cannot deal with change of any kind, even if it is for a great public world class event....that will NOT go on forever...understand??
This is going to be a great event for our city and offers many positive benefits long term for the residents and visitors alike.
Stop drinking Glen Becks koolaid of fear and danger.
Posted by: noearch at February 11, 2011 2:18 PM
"I love this city but find its obsession with petty issues quite pedantic compared to the other international cities in this country"
I don't doubt the ability of people here to have petty issues (Frisco vs. anything that's considered acceptable, for example), but on some level, isn't this just a matter of personal preference? I'm sure some people were just as enthusiastic about World Cup matches being played at Stanford in 1994, but some people probably didn't care because soccer is hardly popular in this country for people above the age of 7 or so.
For one thing, I find your arena comment to be a petty issue.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 2:19 PM
The America's Cup? WTH is that??
my feeling is that this is what most people think, and that this will be nothing like having the olympics or world cup, or even an NCAA tournament.
however, I do think there will be awesome postcards that can be generated with the beautiful ships sailing around with GG bridge in the background. I'm not sure how many people will have any idea that it's a boat race, but they'll certainly see the beauty of it.
and maybe that over time will become synonymous with SF??? "come see the boats racing in SF!!!"
kind of like Fleet week.
Or better yet, you should have seen the response when the Tall Ships came through the midwest. I think a million people went down to Navy Pier just to see those ships.
that said, I think that the Tall Ships are more unique than the America's Cup ships but still it may be a draw, and even if it is only 1/10th the draw as the Tall Ships that's 100k people.
Posted by: ex SF-er at February 11, 2011 3:45 PM
If the course is going to extend beyond the gate, does that mean they are going to use different (and shorter) boats than the last America's Cup? I thought I'd read that the previous Oracle boat's mast wouldn't fit under the GGB.
Posted by: Turin at February 11, 2011 4:51 PM
Here a great web site to monitor what's happening with the America's Cup: http://cupinfo.com/
I'm not a sailor, but I have to admit that the new boat (the AC72) looks pretty cool, and sounds like it's fast as well.
Posted by: Can't think of cool name at February 11, 2011 5:29 PM
I think one reason to get excited about the race (among others) is that if SF and its citizens can pull this off without looking like the gang that couldn't shoot straight, it may lead to bigger things, such as serious consideration for an Olympics. Kind of a walk before you run thing.
Posted by: Can't think of cool name at February 11, 2011 5:40 PM
so losing billions of tax dollars to San Jose and Oakland each time a San Franciscan has to travel there to see a concert is a petty issue to you?
Posted by: sf at February 11, 2011 5:41 PM
The Tall Ships came to San Francisco for the Festival of Sail in 2008. I don't think too many people even noticed, but a buddy of mine who is a sailor got really excited and talked me into sailing on the Bay that day. They are pretty cool.
The World Cup seems like a much bigger deal to me, I will definitely want to watch the finals. I can't imagine that it will be allowed to disrupt shipping.
I don't see the big deal about using public park space for big events, isn't that part of the reason we have parks? Are they supposed to be closed for the duration or something?
Posted by: NoeValleyJim at February 11, 2011 5:51 PM
"so losing billions of tax dollars to San Jose and Oakland each time a San Franciscan has to travel there to see a concert is a petty issue to you?"
Let's tone down the hyperbole. Oakland's total annual revenue is close to $400M this year (it was $476M in 2006). San Jose's is a shade under $800M. We are not talking about billions of tax dollars that are going to these cities due solely to concerts.
If you think America's Cup enthusiasm is petty, but talking about the lack of arenas here is not, then you clearly have a double standard.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 11, 2011 6:09 PM
What are the combined revenues that Oracle Arena and HP Pavilion have brought in since they were built? I bet it is close to $1 billion including jobs, taxes, and boosts to the local economy via restaurants, hotels, etc.
Posted by: sf at February 11, 2011 6:33 PM
The issue with using parks for this event is one of duration. For perspective consider:
March Madness host city: 2 long weekends, 7 days
Outside Lands festival in GG park, inc. setup: 5 days
Summer Olympics: 15 days
Oracle World (inc. closing Folsom St): 8 days
America's Cup 34: 150 days
Posted by: Delancey at February 11, 2011 6:43 PM
Delancey, where are you coming up with your day counts? From the report, I count 48 days for the LV Cup, and about 10 for the finals, the following year.
It's interesting how a number of people just assume these parks will be inaccessible to the general public. I think that's highly unlikely -- the AC is not generally an event that charges admission. I fully expect to be able to walk down to Fort Mason to grab a seat in the bleachers and enjoy the action for free, if I so choose.
I also find it extraordinarily odd that there are no plans for TI in all of this. Wouldn't that be the ultimate place to watch?
Posted by: Scooter at February 11, 2011 8:21 PM
Thanks for that link, name-issue guy! :)
Scooter - perhaps bridge traffic concerns?
Posted by: Turin at February 11, 2011 9:25 PM
Scooter, I'm basing my estimates on another doc that mentioned AC34 being granted "exclusive use of the racing area" from mid July to mid Sep 2012 and 2013 (exact start/stop dates escape me). Determining the actual schedule is very difficult because different organizations manage the defender and challenger parts and AC34 does not yet know how many challengers will enter, and cannot know until end of March 2011, and even then some may drop out before graduating to the 72-foot cats. So I simply assume that the temporary structures to be built supporting the event will go up the week before the start and come down the week after in both years. And yes, I'm sure we'll be permitted to enjoy those parts of Marina Green not covered with VIP tents, and can continue to walk along the Crissy promenade to admire the back of the bleachers.
This is the best update I can find on the schedule:
"America's Cup Final Match in 2013. Regatta Director Iain Murray has confirmed the dates of September 7-22, 2013, for the Match, which is a best of nine-series. Racing will begin with alt least three regattas in 2011, possibly up to six. Six to seven regattas will be sailed in 2012. At least three will be sailed in 2013, with Challenger and Defender Selection Series to take place in July and August, followed by the America's Cup Match, the actual 34th Defense, in September."
Posted by: Delancey at February 11, 2011 10:13 PM
I used to sail on Narragansett Bay when the Cup races were being hosted in Newport.
The spectator numbers given above seem high.
Sailboat races are not terribly exciting to watch if you are not a sailor. Particularly if you are not out on the water yourself, crewing a racing yacht. Really.
Posted by: Doubtful Sound at February 12, 2011 11:01 PM
Is American Cup really so popular that it is just behind World Cup and Olympic games? I am too wonder at the claim. It is not like normal people have a lot of opportunity to be on a yacht. I doubt many people is even a spectator.
But what the heck, someone is paying to fix up the waterfront. Perhaps boosting tourism as it is claimed. I'm all for it. Better yet, repeat the race here. We have so many projects they will take more than a few years to complete.
Posted by: Wai Yip Tung at February 14, 2011 9:34 AM
"What are the combined revenues that Oracle Arena and HP Pavilion have brought in since they were built? I bet it is close to $1 billion including jobs, taxes, and boosts to the local economy via restaurants, hotels, etc."
You still haven't explained why it's not petty to care about an arena in SF and petty to care about other things, other than personal preference. In addition, you said specifically concerts. There aren't that many concerts at Oracle or HP, and what few there are probably don't bring in huge amounts of revenue. If you are basing it solely on economic impact, the America's Cup is supposed to bring in $1B to the local economy on its own.
Posted by: sfrenegade at February 14, 2011 11:51 AM
I've seen San Francisco described as a "productive resort" which is entirely consistent with the America's Cup. As someone with a view of Alcatraz out my window, I prefer watching the ships come in (loaded with trinkets from China) and then go out again (riding much higher...maybe because promissory notes don't weigh as much?). Watching plutocrats' playthings sail around in circles? Sounds really boring to me. Then again, I confess, that I have never been to a yacht race.
While we're at it, can't we turn the polo fields in GG Park into actual polo fields? Isn't there some sort of global polo championship?
Posted by: wonkster at February 14, 2011 2:47 PM
I've seen San Francisco described as a "productive resort" which is entirely consistent with the America's Cup.A slightly different description would be Adult Disneyland for the rich, which while not encompassing the "productive" adjective, gives a stronger implication that a yacht race would be entirely consistent with the recreational preferences of the overclass here.
A hat tip for the catch phrase to blogger Pankaj Kaushal, which is where I first read about this notion, but which probably originated elsewhere.
Posted by: Brahma (incensed renter) at February 14, 2011 5:23 PM
wow, what a bunch of whiners. Sydney and Aukland fall all over themselves for this kind of event and shrine winning boats in museums.
What's in it for Oracle - are you kidding me? Haven't you heard of Larry's ego. Nuff said. But like anything else, Oracle on an arena or Oracle on a sail boat winning AMERICA's Cup is pretty damn good PR with big wig execs. And I'm sure Oracle marketing dollars are funding Larry's obsession.
and why hasn't the "land grab" comment been explained? do i have to read a hundred pages of linked to sites and documents for someone to explain WTF you're talking about?
so you've never heard of America's cup? Really? Ever hear of Dennis Connor and "Stars and Stripes"?
Don't "get sailing". Try reading Fatal Storm or any of the books about the '98 Sydney to Hobart face. Larry's boat Sayonara won it and he almost gave up sailing for good due to the horrific experience. What a tale - a must read on your next vacation even if you've never sailed before.
this sport is MADE for SF and any gorgeous City with a stunning harbour. And that race course is sheer genius. spectators can see it from multiple viewing points INCLUDING while walking across the GG Bridge. In NZ I heard complaints that the race wasn't possible to take in unless you were on a spectator boat.
As for bleachers - are you guys telling me rich people are going to be sitting in bleachers? This is for the common folk.
I live in the marina and if we can deal with fleet week, Union St fair, the Ft Mason drunk fests, etc, we sure as hell can deal with America's Cup. me? i'll be on the water like i was for the 2003 Moet Cup which i'm sure you never heard of either
Posted by: hangemhi at February 14, 2011 11:19 PM
hangemhi - I'm with you. Great post.
By the way, check out "The Proving Ground" for an account of that '98 Sydney to Hobart race. Unbelievable read. Then, three weeks after finishing it, I mentioned it to an Aussie buddy who told me he was in the race. He lifted his shirt to show me the scars across his stomach as he and his crew had lash themselves to the hull after their boat de-masted.
Posted by: Fishchum at February 15, 2011 8:44 AM
I'm still appalled there will (apparently) be no tacking duels in Raccoon Strait. What a missed opportunity!
The word "yacht" seems to be working folks into a lather, so just say "sailboat", okay? Most of the racers I know are not billionaires :-)
Posted by: dub dub at February 15, 2011 9:47 AM
Reminder: The first America's Cup public scoping meeting is tonight from 6:30 to 8:30 pm at City Hall.
Posted by: SocketSite at February 23, 2011 4:04 PM
Before reading "The Proving Ground" (great choice!) start with "Fastnet Force 10" by John Rousmaniere, which chronicled the '79 Fastnet race which had a similar weather incident (and its own celebrity in Ted Turner). Everything learned from that event went into the Offshore Racing Council safety regulations which is why so many boats actually made it to safety in the '98 Hobart.
Posted by: ellbee at February 24, 2011 9:08 AM