x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

San Francisco clinches bid to host 2013 America's Cup

The backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island clinched it over Newport, Rhode Island, for the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.

The next America's Cup will be sailed in 2013 on San Francisco Bay, with a spectacular backdrop of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz island.

San Francisco beat Newport, Rhode Island, in the bidding to stage the race for the oldest trophy in international sports.

Organisers hope the dramatic venue and a new class of fast, wing-sailed 72ft catamarans will revive interest in the competition.

The image of the America's Cup was damaged during a bitter, two-year court fight preceding the last America's Cup in February 2010, when software mogul Larry Ellison led San Francisco-based BMW Oracle Racing to a two-race sweep of Alinghi of Switzerland off Valencia, Spain.

"We really do think the 34th America's Cup will be the best yet," said Stephen Barclay, an official with the Golden Gate Yacht Club and BMW Oracle Racing.

"We sought a venue that fulfils our promise - to showcase the best sailors in the world competing on the fastest boats," Richard Worth, the chairman of the America's Cup Event Authority, said in a statement. "And hosting the America's Cup in San Francisco will realise that promise."

San Francisco had the event all but secured in November. But Barclay, the lead negotiator for the Golden Gate Yacht Club, said the Port Commission changed a complicated financial package which put the bid in jeopardy.

Then Russell Coutts, a four-time America's Cup winner and the BMW Oracle Racing chief executive, had telephone conversations with Mayor Gavin Newsom that helped seal the deal forthe California city, where officials estimate hosting the America's Cup could be worth US$1.4 billion (Dh5.14bn) in economic benefits.