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Catching Up With the Cup

Watch the America’s Cup World Series.


AP Photo/Eric Risberg

You don’t need to wait another year to experience the excitement of America’s Cup. The months-long international competition makes its first splash in the Bay August 21–26 with the America’s Cup World Series, a prerace competition. We talked to sailing experts to give you a jump on the ebb (none) and flow (rip-roaring zoom is more likely) of this massive undertaking. For information, visit americascup.com/en/

Where to Watch

On Your Sofa
With NBC covering the action and live video streaming online, there’s no place like home.

Marina Green or Crissy Field
Close to the race’s shoreline-hugging starting box, get a front-row view of the teams’ five-minute spin and maneuvering to hit the starting line in the best position, depending on currents and tides, at top speed.

Berkeley or El Cerrito Hills
Grab binoculars, pack a radio; you’re far, but the commute is a breeze.

Racing Village at Pier 27/29
The village won’t open until 2013, but large-screen displays will make this a viewing hot spot for the Louis Vuitton Cup in July and the finals in September. Caveat: It will be crowded.

What to Watch For

The Bay is notorious for tricky currents and choppy water. Wind is no big deal, unless it’s above 30 knots (about 35 miles per hour).

As teams head out to the first windward mark, called “gates,” look for a maverick to benefit from a wind shift, split from the pack, and gain the advantage—or capsize and lose it all.

Key Races

America’s Cup World Series
The World Series continues through May 19, 2013, in Naples, Italy, and makes a second stop in San Francisco during Fleet Week October 2–7.

Louis Vuitton Cup
This race, which runs July 4–September 1, 2013, will decide who gets to challenge Oracle Team USA for the 34th America’s Cup.

Final America’s Cup Match
The showdown between the Louis Vuitton Cup winner and Oracle Team USA is September 7–22, 2013.

How to Get Psyched

Join the Walnut Creek Yacht Club Skippers
Receive e-mail updates about the race from chef Kevin Weinberg; join the skipper’s happy hour from 3–6 p.m. daily; and get early notice about race-buff dinners on the WCYC aft deck, racing history speaker events, and oyster specials during race weeks. Sign up online or at the restaurant.

Charter a Boat/Take a Lesson
Set your own ship ahoy! Paul Oliva, San Francisco Chronicle’s waterfront columnist, recommends OCSC in Berkeley, Club Nautique in Alameda, and Tradewinds Sailing in Richmond for lessons or charters. Charters are bareboat (no skipper) or skippered.

Get in on the Conversation
Go to Sailing Anarchy’s message boards (sailinganarchy.com) to read the rants and have your say about changes to America’s Cup that favor viewers but tick off the purists in the sloops.


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