America’s Cup Redefined

For the first time in its long history, since the schooner yacht America won its famous trophy from England’s Royal Yacht Squadron in 1851, the America’s Cup is not “just” the America’s Cup.

San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee at the press conference, backed by the Ferry Building

Ed Lee, Mayor of the City of San Francisco, chose April 1, 2011 to announce that in the dreadful event a foreign challenger should take away the America’s Cup, whether in a match in 2013, or in the years to come, said challenger will win much more than that ancient piece of silver.

“We have decided to throw in the Vaillancourt Fountain,” Mayor Lee said. “This way, a successful challenger will always have a special something on hand, when it is time to remember San Francisco. Imagine the joy of their citizenry, when they have the opportunity to cavort in the hallowed shadows of San Francisco’s most-revered piece of public art.” Or, in this case, San Francisco’s formerly-most-revered piece of public art. Former SF Supervisor Chris Daly denounced this “potential loss to the children of San Francisco.”

Russell Coutts, CEO of the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s defending team, Oracle Racing, declared, “I assure the citizens of the city that we intend a vigorous defense that will keep the Vaillancourt Fountain right where it is for at least the next 132 years.”

The Vaillancourt Fountain with the Ferry Building, an earthquake survivor, in the background

Art lovers naturally found it hard to fathom the possibility of losing a treasure, though having survived the removal of a concrete double-decker freeway that walled off the city from San Francisco Bay—post Loma Prieta quake, 1989—they’ve had practice.

Grant Dalton, linchpin of the formidable Team New Zealand challenge for America’s Cup, noted that, as prizes go, the Vaillancourt Fountain would fit nicely into earthquake-devastated Christ Church, though not until the pain and suffering have eased. “We’re a small country,” he said. “This is a difficult time, but we are excited to see that the Vaillancourt Fountain would match the present landscape of our country’s capital. We are grateful to the citizens of San Francisco for putting it up for grabs when they could so easily hoard it for their own pleasure, or just wait for the next earthquake in San Francisco to see if anybody can tell the difference.”


With the entry period closing at midnight, March 31, the Golden Gate Yacht Club has reported to the Event Authority (note my careful phrasing) a field of 15 competing teams including the defender, Oracle Racing.

Five teams remain “undisclosed,” leaving open the possibility that one is a rival defense candidate.

I repeat from yesterday, one of the undisclosed is not North Korea.

The announcement on “The current list of vetted and accepted competitors is a geographically diverse field: ALEPH EQUIPE DE FRANCE (France), Artemis Racing (Sweden), China Team (China), Emirates Team New Zealand (New Zealand), Energy Team (France), Mascalzone Latino (Italy), ORACLE Racing (USA), Team Australia (Australia), and five undisclosed teams.”

The Event Authority also announced the schedule for World Series racing in 2011, pushed back from the ambitious, original month of June and conspicuously lacking Newport, Rhode Island. But my friends in Southern California will be happy. The RC44 regatta in San Diego in March established the value of the in-bay racing there:

2011 AC World Series Schedule

Event One:
Cascais, Portugal
August 6 -14

Event Two:
Plymouth, England
September 10-18

Event Three:
San Diego, California
Dates TBD, to be set between mid Oct. and early Dec.

Suns New Jerseys