San Francisco journalists today got treated to a first glance of the promise that the America’s Cup 34 will bring as they gathered at Pier 80, south of the City of San Francisco, to view the fastest racing yacht in the world, USA-17.
Having only arrived early this morning and not yet unloaded from the container ship carrying her, there wasn’t much to see except for the ORACLE Racing branding on the exterior of a hull sitting high atop the ship, and due to Port policy, the crowd was kept a good distance away. Nonetheless, it got the attention of a large group of mainstream media who are learning more about the big sailing event that’s about to rock the Bay Area…
Peter Daley with the Port of San Francisco welcomed the crowd, “The Port of San Francisco for the next two years will play home to ORACLE Racing and their vessels and already today we see evidence of the economic benefit that was touted when the City was vying for the America’s Cup. The ship is coming to San Francisco because of the America’s Cup and providing scores of jobs for our longshoremen, for our maritime unions, and our maritime industries here. We are just thrilled that it’s going to be an economic shot in the arm for the Port.”
On hand to talk to media were ORACLE Racing’s Ian “Fresh” Burns and tactician John Kostecki, both Bay Area residents. On seeing USA-17 for the first time in a year Kostecki said, “It’s good to see it, it’s great really.” When asked what the highlight for him was racing the boat, Kostecki grinned and said, “Seeing the finish line on the second race! But, it was pretty cool - it rated up there.”
He added that from his perspective as tactician, USA-17 was so fast that any maneuver you made you paid for. “You really had to pick where you wanted to go and stick with it - not maneuver it too many times. That was tough but that’s how it will be in the future too with the next class. It’s just different yacht racing.”
Seeing the winning boat again was bitter sweet also for Burns. “It’s a sad but kind of glad moment- it’s nice to see it again because it’s a reminder that the whole project was just a struggle all the way through - everything was harder and bigger and more complicated - it was just a series of unknowns all the way. Everyone was going full-speed 24 hours a day for month after month after month. Then it stopped, we went away and now the boat is back. You look at her and think, ‘Yeah, that was pretty amazing. It was actually an incredible project.’ You lose perspective when you’re in the middle of it but it's actually really cool.”
Burns’ take home message from his experience on the world’s fastest racing yacht?
“For me personally, the message from that project was you can really do anything if you get enough dedicated people working together in one place on one project - there’s nothing that’s really impossible if you have people who are really passionate about something.”
The plan for USA-17 is uncertain at the moment according to America’s Cup Event Authority. It’s unlikely she’ll sail again but hopefully she’ll be put back together and showcased sometime soon in the City.
Pic 1: Peter Daley, Port of SF
Pic 2: USA-17 aboard the freighter M.V. Star Isfjord
Pic 3: ORACLE Racing tactician John Kostecki