America's Cup Struggling Before Start With Racing Days Cut, Many Plans Scrapped
As S.F. prepares to host the America’s Cup this summer, the city’s “two happiest sailing memories might be the day it agreed to host the regatta ... and the day it mercifully is over," according to the SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS' Mark Purdy, who writes under the header, "America's Cup Run-Up Hasn't Been Smooth Sailing." It is "staggering to ponder how much air already has leaked out of the America's Cup hype balloon." The event was "supposed to be the most glorious series of sailboat races ever witnessed on any body of water in any galaxy." But "thanks to grave miscalculations" on the part of Oracle Founder & CEO Larry Ellison and event organizers, spectators "who expected to show up along the San Francisco waterfront in July for 18 days of sailing competition may see as few as five days of actual racing." Purdy: "By the time we slog through August to reach the actual America's Cup finals in September, will there even be two boats left? And will anyone care?" The event is "a bad sailing joke." And "no one is laughing" (SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS, 6/11).
NOT WHAT WAS PROMISED: In S.F., Al Saracevic writes last week's announcement that Artemis Racing, who was involved in the deadly capsize of its first boat last month, "would not be ready to compete" at the start of the Louis Vuitton Cup in July "merely reinforced the notion that this whole endeavor is sailing straight upwind." The boats are "too expensive, too fast and too dangerous." Teams have "dropped out due to the cost and threatened to drop out due to the danger." The "promised economic boon" for S.F. has "yet to materialize." The city will be "lucky to recoup" the estimated $22M owed by event organizers, who are "a bit behind on their payments." The original plans to "refurbish some of the city's decaying docks fell by the wayside long ago, replaced by tents and concerts and lusty neighborhood bickering." America's Cup "needs to right its ship, but quick" (S.F. CHRONICLE, 6/11). Event officials yesterday said that they are "refunding grandstand tickets for races through the Louis Vuitton Cup semifinals due to the uncertainty of when challenger Artemis Racing will be ready to compete." The AP noted the move "leaves only two challengers to race in the early round-robins, Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa of Italy." America's Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay said that it is "the right thing to do to refund the tickets and take down the grandstands until Artemis returns" (AP, 6/10).