America’s Cup Racing Underway

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Charlie Ogletree’s cat pours on the speed in San Diego.
The Oracle boat speeds past the USS Midway on the America’s Cup World Series course in San Diego.

Overturning the adage that “Watching sailing is like watching grass grow,” the America’s Cup “World Series” has created a spectacular venue for watching sailboat racing in San Diego this week.  Racing runs each day with special match races, fleet races and speed trials all this week, through Sunday.

Full event details including the racing schedule, viewing options, race standings, and related events during the coming week can be found at

On the water, there are nine teams competing head to head.  Besides the defending Oracle Racing Team out of San Francisco, there are teams from Spain, France, New Zealand, China, Korea, and Italy. All of these teams are using the San Diego event as a tune-up for upcoming racing a year from now in 72-foot catamarans during summer 2013.

Overall the AC committee has pulled together an impressive combination of sailing and public exhibits.  The entire event centers around the Navy and Broadway Piers near the USS Midway.  This is probably as close to “must-see” sailing as we’ve had here in recent years, and is well worth the drive to San Diego, even for a day.

We made the 90 minute drive down to San Diego to watch Day 1 of the AC World Series and the state-of-the-art 45-foot carbon racing catamarans.  Unfortunately, by the time we got there we found pouring rain and light air – by the time we got to the racing compound, most of the day’s racing that day had been postponed or cancelled.

We did find one way to make our day more exciting.  For our drive to San Diego, I let our 15-year-old friend and neighbor Charlie Welsh drive us to San Diego.  Charlie is a sophomore in high school, a member of Mater Dei’s sailing team, and he had just gotten his learners permit!  While conditions were dry when we left Newport, as we headed south the sky got steadily darker and more ominous.  The good news is that there were no 720’s here; Charlie did a decent job navigating carpool lanes and puddles, and we arrived in San Diego with no damage or issues to report.  At least my afternoon driving with Charlie to the America’s Cup filled-up my quota of white-knuckle moments for the week.

Fortunately we had also thought ahead and brought our best sailing jackets (which also turned out to be especially useful in a very wet sailing simulator).  Even with our sailing gear, we were thoroughly soaked by the time we got past the exhibits and sailing bases.  In spite of the rain, one of the coolest parts of this event is that the public has direct easy access right up to the sailing compounds, and racing is run literally a few feet off the docks.

Winter Series #1 – NHYC November 13, (Harbor 20s; Lehman 12s; Finn’s)

About 50 boats showed up for the first three races in NHYC’s Winter Series.  After an otherwise dreary weekend, the sun Sunday finally came out and the breeze filled in to give competitors a fun afternoon with three long races.

At the end of the day, Gale and Jon Pinckney topped a 13 boat Harbor 20 ‘A’ fleet; NHYC Commodore Jeff Gordon came out on top in a 16 boat ‘B’ fleet, and Jonathan Cheadle finished ahead in the six boat Harbor 20 ‘C’ fleet.  Scott Mason had the top score in the Finn fleet, while David Camerini was ahead in the Lehman 12 fleet.

The next race in the Winter Series will be Sunday, Dec. 4.

Photos by Jim Collins


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