A large contingent of media has assembled in San Francisco to launch the sailing side of the 34th America's Cup in the Californian city.
Sail-World understands that about 40 or more media have attended the first of a series of media conferences and events designed to acquaint local and international media with the event and the new catamarans that will be sailed in the lead-up to the Match.
Normally such events would attract a handful of locally based media.
This morning's event was hosted by Jonny Moseley, the 1998 free-ski Olympic Gold medalist, who introduced several speakers including Oracle Racing's CEO, Russell Coutts and Oracle Racing's skipper, Jimmy Spithill as well as others.
Later in the week the competitors in the 2013 Louis Vuitton and America's Cups are expected to be announced, two and a half months after entries first closed.
If you were San Francisco’s Mayor Lee you were driving - for the very first time - a 140 foot sailboat called America, a true replica of the boat that won the first America’s Cup event back in 1851. In fact, it was the very first time that Mayor Lee had been on a sailboat and he was clearly having a good time, even taking America through a jibe after driving her back under the Golden Gate Bridge in a stiff 20 plus knots. No sweat.
'I’m excited to see it from the racer’s point of view out on the water today and how we can visualize this race for the coming years,' Lee said, talking to a crowd of some 80 media and guests aboard America this afternoon prior to heading out to watch the AC45s fire it up on the Bay.
While there’s still no major sponsorship to speak of with the exception of Louis Vuitton, or at least none that’s been spoken of, Lee is positive it’ll happen.
'I’m very optimistic they (the organizers) will raise all the funds they need to hold the America’s Cup here in San Francisco…they’re even talking about repeating the event here…
All the stuff we want to hear, right?
Especially the bit about the event remaining in San Francisco which seemed a given from where I sat at the press conference held at the Golden Gate Yacht Club prior to this afternoon’s media sail. There’s no two ways about it, ORACLE Racing is one shiny, polished machine and they are on the fast track. It difficult to imagine that the challengers can get up to speed in just a few years with all that ORACLE has into it’s program this early on in the game, particularly coming off an experience like AC33 and the Big Cat.
Media were flown in from overseas as well as from across the US to attend today’s media shindig. Someone asked if it was typical to see this many media at a sailing press conference in San Francisco. Absolutely not.
Bay Area local Johnny Mosely, former Olympic freestyle skier MC’d the event and drew a pretty decent analogy from the skiing world - the transition in that sport which occurred when downhill skiing got intercepted by snowboarding - that helped the mostly non sailing journos in the room better understand what the hype is all about, the transition from monohull to multihull for the 34th America’s Cup.
For sailing media there wasn’t much new to report but it was great to hear it all again - LIVE - in San Francisco. The event was completely transparent, with ORACLE crew on hand to chat, a warm, casual affair. Nice.
For the rest of this story including quotes from the key players click here
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