The world’s premier boat racing tour will splash San Diego’s waters again, this time promising to provide locals a better view of competition.
Eleven 44-foot carbon fiber boats, each weighing less than 8,000 pounds and hauling an eight-person crew, will compete in the Oracle RC44 from Wednesday to Sunday in the San Diego Bay.
This is the first major international regatta San Diego has hosted since the 1995 America’s Cup, an event it also hosted in 1992 and 1988.
“The public is welcome to come down and watch,” said J.J. Fetter, the first woman inducted into the Sailing World Hall of Fame. “Unlike the America's Cup races that were here that were way off shore, the racing is going to take place right off of Broadway Pier, and you can watch from the Maritime Museum to Shelter Island — all along.”
Fetter added the Broadway Pier would be “the best place,” and there is no charge for spectators.
Kevin Burnham, a 2004 United States Olympic Gold Medalist in the 470 Class, is among the who’s who-list of RC44 competitors. Others include four-time America’s Cup winner Russell Coutts and decorated yachtsman and sailor Paul Cayard.
“The boat accelerates with each puff of wind very quickly, and they’re extremely exciting boats to sail and watch,” Burnham said. “It’s a tight course … It’s well synchronized, (but) there are some wipeouts that happen.”