San Diego poised to pip Bermuda as 2017 America’s Cup Venue

San Diego is one giant step closer to hosting the 2017 America’s Cup on San Diego Bay after they and Bermuda were short listed to host the 35th America’s Cup in 2017 while Chicago has been eliminated from consideration.

The America’s Cup Event Authority said in a news release it would work with the California city and the British Overseas Territory on logistics and commercial opportunities and announce its decision before year-end. Chicago had been in the running for the Cup, where races would have been held on Lake Michigan. However, the Windy City is a likely venue for racing events set for 2015 and 2016 leading up to the main regatta, the authority said.

Last year’s competition in San Francisco overcame a host of troubles and ended with an epic comeback win for billionaire Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA and widespread praise for the spectacular racing venue on San Francisco Bay.

The Port of San Diego has been at the forefront of the effort to bring the America’s Cup back to its waters, and Bob Nelson chairman of the port commissioners there said; “We are energised and honoured to have reached this point, now the game begins, we are in the Super Bowl.” Russell Coutts, the CEO of reigning America’s Cup champion Oracle USA, said he hopes a host city for the 2017 defence can be named by the end of September, although the decision doesn’t have to be made until the end of December.

Of course, as the event’s victor, Oracle has the right to choose the venue for the next competition and in June it ruled out San Francisco. While San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee wanted to host the regatta again, other local politicians have long opposed to providing any public subsidies for what they deride as a rich man’s yacht race.

The 2017 Cup will be held with a smaller version of the catamarans used in last year’s competition and include new crew nationality minimums. Oracle has negotiated the rules for the next Cup with Team Australia’s Hamilton Island Yacht Club, the Challenger of Record. It’s worth noting, that America’s Cup races in Bermuda would have to be sailed offshore.

And an American holder of the America’s Cup has never defended outside of the United States. Also, the wind conditions in Bermuda are also much more variable during the summer than they are in San Diego. Variable winds conditions were one of the reasons cited for Chicago being eliminated from consideration.

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