After a nearly seven-hour slog last night, the all-important America's Cup development deal advanced to the full Board of Supervisors.
The race's backers and organizers wouldn't self-apply comparisons between their hulking, speedy boats and a steamroller -- but it appears the America's Cup itself can be aptly compared to the latter. Some details are in flux -- officials were literally scurrying through the corridors of City Hall last night as one point or another was amended. But, especially after watching the futile efforts of Supervisors John Avalos and David Campos to delay the final decision day or alter terms not to the America's Cup Event Authority's liking, it's increasingly difficult to imagine a majority of the supes voting down the deal on Feb. 28.
So it looks like we're gonna have a race. But how many ships show up to participate is a big question. The Chief Operating Authority of the Event Authority is now saying he would be pleased if as few as six teams take to the water -- just two-fifths the number of racing syndicates anticipated by the number-crunchers who touted the America's Cup as a generator of $1.4 billion and some 8,000 jobs.
That much-quoted report anticipated 15 racing syndicates (see pages 17 and 18
). Yet Stephen Barclay, the Event Authority's COO, told SF Weekly
he'd be happy with "six to eight" teams. A source close to the race, meanwhile, says "The goal is going to be six -- and I think you can safely say four. And that's way off the mark of when that report was prepared."
Meanwhile, an article in Seahorse Magazine
, which covers international sailing, anticipates that no more than four teams will participate in the cup. Per the story, only Oracle, Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Luna Rossa (Prada), have acquired the requisite ship design teams and have the financial wherewithal to compete in this game.
Having so few teams show up wouldn't just tarnish the race's image -- it'd cost the city money. A good chunk of the anticipated revenue and job-creation is based upon teams establishing residences in San Francisco and building their sailing vessels here.
Barclay, as he has all along, quashed notions of a piddling three- or four-team showing as premature. Teams, he noted, have until June 1 to pay up.
The city's deadline is much tighter.
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