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San Franciscans eager for next summer’s America’s Cup will get a taste of what’s to come when sailing’s new regatta circuit glides into town this week.

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AC cats practice on San Francisco Bay in preparation for the World Series starting August 22, 2012. © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

Practice rounds took place today for 55 sailors from 12 countries on 11 boats that are contenders for the America’s Cup. The World Series races will give the teams a chance to test the waters, as it were, and find out if their boats and teams are up to the challenge.

“The challenge with the bay is it’s different every day, the tides, the wind, the fog. Not only that, but we’ve got other competitors to deal with,” Jimmy Spithill, captain of the defending champion and Bay Area’s own ORACLE RACING TEAM USA, said.

Conditions were probably good for the skippers but not so much for the hundreds of spectators who turned up at Crissy Field to get the first glimpses of the America’s Cup challengers practicing on the San Francisco Bay.  This is the first time fans can see races like this from the shore rather than miles away. Emirates Team New Zealand and China Team each capsized. Five crews now have capsized since practice began.

“I’m looking forward to showcasing the America’s Cup World Series to people here in the Bay area. I think it’ll be pretty cool going to Marina Green and watching the racing. It’s a unique racecourse because we’ll be racing parallel to the shoreline,” said John Kostecki, ORACLE TEAM USA SPITHILL

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Team China flips over during practice racing on a blustery SF Bay. © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget.

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Spithill vs Coutts on San Francisco Bay practice rounds. © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

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Emirates Team New Zealand also capsized.© ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget.

Artemis Racing hit the water in San Francisco for the first time today with the team’s two AC45s. The boats were launched from the team base in Alameda.

Skipper Terry Hutchinson (USA) was at the helm of ‘Artemis White’ and fellow team member, and Olympic medallist in the Tornado, Santiago Lange (ARG) was helming ‘Artemis Red’.

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Artemis practices on a windy day before racing begins August 21. © ACEA 2012/ Photo Gilles Martin-Raget

“We have the same crew as the previous regatta in Newport. We have a new J3, the heavy-air jib; no surprise there. We’ve been developing some Code 0s and trying to figure out which one to use,”  Hutchinson said.

The Artemis AC45s sailed in the midst of the ORACLE AC45s who were also out training. August and September are important months to be experiencing the conditions on the Bay, as they are the same months in which the America’s Cup Finals will take place next year.

“Sailing on the Bay today was an important milestone for Artemis Racing”, commented CEO Paul Cayard. “The Bay will become our field of play for the next 14 months.  It is good to be here early.”

Wednesday’s match racing schedule features No. 6-seed Team Korea vs. No. 11 J.P. Morgan BAR, No. 7 Luna Rossa – Piranha vs. No. 10 Artemis Racing Red and No. 8 Luna Rossa – Swordfish vs. No. 9 China Team. Each match is a best-of-three.

Racing continues Thursday with two pairs of the match racing quarterfinals and the first two fleet races. View the racing lineup at ACWS San Francisco Regatta Format and additional event information at the ACWS San Francisco event page.

The race

WHEN: Wednesday to Sunday
WHERE: Marina Green
BOATS: 11
PARTICIPANTS: Artemis Racing Red, Artemis Racing White, Ben Ainslie Racing, China Team, Emirates Team New Zealand, Energy Team, Luna Rossa Piranha, Luna Rossa Swordfish, Oracle Team USA Coutts, Oracle Team USA Spithill, Team Korea
EVENTS: Match racing and fleet racing

Weekly schedule

WEDNESDAY: Match-racing qualifier
THURSDAY: Match-racing quarterfinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
FRIDAY: Match-racing quarterfinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
SATURDAY: Match-racing semifinals; two fleet-race qualifiers
SUNDAY: Match-racing finals; Super Sunday fleet race
START TIMES: 2:05 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday; 11:30 a.m. Sunday

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34th AC Cup Logo 24.05.11

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The Fun Begins

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AC Train arrives in San Francisco. Photo: SLewis/ACMedia

29/06/2012, Newport (USA,RI), 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012, Racing Day 2, Luna Rossa Vs Oracle Team USA Coutts.
Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget/ACMedia

The America’s Cup Express, a train stretching 1.5 miles long, rolled into San Francisco Tuesday ahead of the first San Francisco Bay racing less than a month away. The 121 railroad cars are carrying precious cargo required to move the America’s Cup World Series and the teams into the host city of the Cup ahead of racing between Aug. 21 to 26, 2012.

“In less than one month, we’ll be racing for the very first time on San Francisco Bay,” said Stephen Barclay, CEO of the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“This train represents more than just another stop on the AC World Series for us,” Barclay continued. “The arrival of the train today is the first step in our move ‘home’ to San Francisco.”

August’s races are part of a preliminary series designed in part to boost interest in the main event in San Francisco in 2013.

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Crowds enjoy racing in Newport (USA,RI) at the 34th America’s Cup, America’s Cup World Series Newport 2012. Photo: Gilles Martin-Raget

Cup organizers held an event on Pier 80, the home base of the Oracle Racing team, to celebrate the arrival of the America’s Cup Express, that came from Newport, R.I., where an earlier round of races ended July 1.

In coming weeks the Cup organizers will begin assembling an America’s Cup Village on the Marina Green, a collection of shops, educational booths and other entertainment where race fans can watch the competitions.

Riding the Green Train

“By our calculations we saved 30 percent in our carbon emissions coming across,” said Barclay.

San Francisco officials said it was the first time in a decade the city’s historic rail lines in the southeastern section had been used for such a massive load of cargo. The rails were heavily used decades ago when the Mission Bay area was a hub of industry.

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Monique Moyer,
Photo: SLewis/ACMedia

“In those days the city had cattle farms on the west side and the slaughter yards were on the east side,” said San Francisco Port Director Monique Moyer.

Longshoremen will begin unloading the containers this week and hauling the yachts and racing gear to Piers 30, 32. The piers will serve as the home base for a fleet of 13 international teams competing in the America’s Cup World Series from August 21 to 26 on the San Francisco Bay. The race is a tune-up to the America’s Cup event in 2013.

In the meantime, Barclay said spectators will be able to view the teams practicing on the bay for weeks leading up to the event.

“I think for the first time ever they’ll be able to almost touch the boats,” said Barclay. “They’ll see the boats moored down at the Marina Green.”

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Healing Benefits and Free Sailing Excursions Bring Vets To The Water

SAUSALITO (2012) – Aboard the Amakua there is camaraderie where once there was stress. Veterans of many conflicts are finding peace and tranquility on the healing waters of the San Francisco Bay. On all the other boats out there, folks already know about the feeling of freedom on the water, and how being active in nature can help us relax. It’s no surprise then that our wounded warriors are turning to sailing as a way to reclaim their peace of mind.

A new non-profit group is doing just that. Transformational Sailing was created to help Veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a variety of other issues, become more effective in group settings that far too often, make them feel vulnerable.

“This was my first time out in public in two years and you know, I really didn’t think I needed something like this,” said Navy Vet Rob Geidl, “but it was a crystal of thought that I can hold onto. It soothed me as I am going through treatment. It gave me hope that I can be involved in something as peaceful as sailing.”

Veterans of all ages and tours of duty know how it feels to flirt with danger in a war zone. Most need to relearn how to just relax and enjoy.

“We’ve met Vets who have gone from feeling withdrawn to feeling calm and enjoying themselves in a relaxed group setting aboard our boats,” said Tim Blair, founder and director of Transformational Sailing. A lifetime sailor, Blair grew up with the Sea Scouts and knows about sharing the experience. He’s sailed on the Bay for the past 30 years and you can usually find him out there on any given Sunday with eight or ten guests – mostly Vets and their families.

“We’re all in the same boat – literally! These guys have to learn how to work together to keep us moving,” Blair adds.

The healing comes from succeeding in the often-stressful circumstances when the combination of wind and sea conditions can test ones capacity. Otherwise, it’s quite relaxing.

The program is currently raising funds to help maintain their primary boat, a classic 42-foot Sparkmann and Stephens designed fiberglass sloop. The boat is on loan to the program by Blair and he has plans to get at least two boats out there every weekend as soon as funds are raised. Working together with Sonoma-based Vet Connect in Santa Rosa (Chapter 78), Transformational Sailing offers sailing excursions to anyone who may be suffering, either physically or emotionally or who might benefit from time spent on the water.

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About Transformational Sailing:

The Transformational Sailing Program serves people who are recovering their health and well being by providing supportive and life-affirming sailing experiences on San Francisco Bay. People challenged with PTSD, cancer or other health crises often lose out on the simple pleasures of life, such as a day of sailing on the Bay. Their mission is to offer these individuals a regenerative experience of joy and camaraderie in this natural healing environment of wind, sea and sky.

Guest sailors gain knowledge and acquire skills while taking in the splendor of the Bay and making new friends and developing confidence and self-esteem through sailing team-building and hands-on instruction. More information is available on the programs’ website: http://www.transformationalsailing.org.

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Thursday, June 21, 2012 – San Francisco: A four-alarm fire caused significant damage to the historic Pier 29 on the Embarcadero, San Francisco’s waterfront yesterday.

Bad news for the City, and although not good news for the America’s Cup organizers, it won’t put a significant damper on plans to construct the long-awaited 10,000-seat stadium and starting line for the final race of the America’s Cup.The plan is still to have the construction completed by March 2013, according to the Contra Costa Times.

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San Francisco’s waterfront and pier 27-29. Photo:© GILLES MARTIN-RAGET / ACEA

The fire began in the vacant 97-year old building and around 1:50 p.m. No one was injured and investigators are still working to determine the cause. Welders were working on site however and one could have started the blaze that caused the roof of the building to collapse.

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Pier 29 fire causes roof to collapse. Photo: Cole Rise


In a statement on their website, America’s Cup Organizers said, “We applaud the immediate and courageous response from the San Francisco fire department this afternoon at Pier 29.Pier 29 is not currently under the control of, or under development by, the America’s Cup. Pier 29 is still under the control of the city and Port of San Francisco and their contractor Turner Construction Company.According to the reports we’ve heard, there are no injuries reported at pier and that is very good news.

Based on information available at this time, we do not anticipate that this will have any impact on our plans for the site and we look forward to moving ahead with the future construction of the America’s Cup Village at Pier 27/29.”

That is certainly some good news.

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12th Annual Summer Sailstice arrives June 23rd, 2012 – Celebrate Sailing Wherever You Sail!

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You can be a part of the biggest sailing event on the planet!

From Shanghai to San Francisco sailors around the world will celebrate the 12th annual Summer Sailstice on the weekend of June 23rd, 2012. Traditionally held the weekend closest to the summer solstice, this global celebration of sailing invites all sailors to sail ‘together’ regardless of where or what they sail.  To participate is easy, sailors sign up at www.summersailstice.com and go sailing!

Summer Sailstice is the global sailing holiday celebrated on the weekend closest to the summer solstice. This international event was founded in 2001 to connect the global sailing community in a fun, creative, multifaceted, multi-location sailing holiday. Every year, Summer Sailstice connects over 17,000 sailors all over the world—cruisers, racers and recreational—to celebrate and showcase life under sail. It has expanded to include participants from Asia, across the Americas and Europe.

In 2012, for the third consecutive year, Summer Sailstice will again commit to Sailors for the Sea in support of healthy oceans. Summer Sailstice sailors help by pledging funds like 2004 Olympian Carol Cronin who, in 2011, pledged $10/mile sailed on the Sailstice. As Carol described her sail, “According to our MotionX track, we sailed a total of 5.37 miles—without straying much more than a mile from the mooring. So in order to keep another promise I donated $53.70 to Sailors for the Sea.”

Dan Pingaro, Executive Director of Sailors for the Sea added, “Summer Sailstice is a wonderful event to broaden support for sailing and help raise awareness of the environment. Sailors for the Sea is pleased to join Summer Sailstice in supporting ocean health and we truly appreciate the support of the sailing community. Our Clean Regattas program allows us to connect with sailors throughout the world all year long. We’re looking forward to connecting with more sailors in 2012!”

By signing up for free, sailors become eligible to win fabulous prizes. The 2011 grand prize, a BVI charter contributed by Footloose Sailing Charters, was won by Carleen Southard of  ‘Moana’, a Catalina 28 sailing out of Oceanside, CA. She and her husband, Darwin, are headed out for their Footloose BVI vacation in April! Other prize winners have won Hobie kayaks, winch handles, sailing gear from West Marine and numerous other prizes available to all sailors signed up and sailing on Summer Sailstice.

“I want to give all sailors, from the America’s Cup to bluewater cruisers to daysailors on the local lake the opportunity to celebrate together and showcase everything sailing has to offer,” says founder John Arndt.

At www.summersailstice.com sailors can sign up for free then create Sailstice events, recruit crew, post stories, win prizes and learn about other sailing events being organized in their area. For more information, please visit their website or contact john@summersailstice.com.

Go sailing and give back to the community by getting involved with organizations such as Spirit of the Sea

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64' Ocean Watch. Courtesy of spiritofthesea.org.

Oakland-based Spirit of the Sea founder and Executive Director, Captain Richard Gillette, has been selected as a winner of this year’s Jefferson Award for his work with children in the SF Bay area. Here’s a great opportunity to get involved, go sailing and help disadvantaged youth in the Bay Area.

“Our mission,” says Gillette, “is to bring the spirit of the sea to youth with hands-on experiences aboard a sailing vessel in order to educate and inspire new awareness, perspectives, and initiative regarding the oceans, the environment, their communities, and themselves.

To achieve their goal of providing a meaningful marine experience to every middle- and high-school-aged youth in the San Francisco Bay area, Gillette has enlisted the 64-foot sailing vessel Ocean Watch so that they can provide services at no cost to those who are at risk, disadvantaged, suffering illness, or who would uniquely benefit from or otherwise not have an opportunity to sail. The vessel was just splashed in the Alameda Estuary at Jack London Square in Oakland, California.

“We will also be working with the scientific community to design and implement experiences that will teach and inspire our participants. We will do things like- plankton pulls and then view the life in the water through microscopes, do saline tests where we look at the saline content of different parts of the Bay and during tidal shifts. We will do turbidity testing to show how different organisms and tides affect the clarity of the water,” Gillette says.

For more information, visit spiritofthesea.org,or Email: CaptainRichard@spiritofthesea.org
Tel: 510-478-4600

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