USA 76 is Retired in Valencia, Spain

USA 76 was retired after competing in the Louis Vuitton Acts of 2006. Her fate was undecided and the yacht was stored in a yard in Valencia.  To replace her, BMW Oracle Racing debuted USA 87 – the IACC yacht that would go on to compete in the remaining Louis Vuitton Cup Acts.

Four years later, in 2010, the America’s Cup returned to the Spanish sea-side city. This time the defender and challenger would race on a catamaran and trimaran. BMW Oracle Racing successfully challenged Alinghi claiming the “Auld Mug” as it’s own. The trophy and the regatta would return to the United States for the 34th America’s Cup. USA 17, the victorious 90ft trimaran, would return to the United States too to be commemorated at Oracle headquarters in Redwood City, California.

ACsailingSF is born in San Francisco

Meanwhile, Brad and Karen Webb, the owners and founders of ACsailingSF, dreamt of sharing an authentic America’s Cup sailing experience with the public. With more than a decade of sailing in America’s Cup campaigns and the former bowman on USA 76, Brad Webb knew exactly what boat would make this dream a reality – it was in a boatyard in Valencia.

USA 76 was sitting unused, a shadow of her former glory, but Webb knew she was the sailboat to introduce the public to high-caliber yacht racing. With modifications, the yacht could hold up to twenty guests with five crew. San Francisco Bay, where the Webbs were based, was the prime location to showcase the yacht’s magnificence. The Webbs bought the yacht and USA 76 joined the caravan back to the United States. She was loaded into a container and shipped back to her home port alongside USA 17.

Before taking to the cool waters of San Francisco with paying passengers on board, the carbon fiber yacht had to undergo rigorous modifications. With passenger safety in mind and the goal of obtaining the USCG Certificate of Inspection (COI), USA 76’s new “shore crew” went straight to work when the yacht arrived in Oakland, California. A crew of professional yacht builders, engineers, and riggers who had experience working on high powered yachts facilitated all of the modifications at KKMI boatyard.

Modifications to USA 76

  • Life rails on cockpit combing – The stainless steel life rails give guests something strong and secure to hold onto when the yacht heels over. During the America’s Cup Races and Louis Vuitton Cup, racers would sit on the cockpit deck. There was no hiking and there were no lifelines.
  • Thru-hulls – In order to meet COI regulations, an engine and bilge pumps would need to be installed. Thus, thru-hulls had to be fitted in the carbon fiber hull.
  • Saildrive – A saildrive was installed along with the thru-hulls and the engine.
  • Engine – IACC yachts didn’t have engines. They were towed to and from the racing areas. To be COI compliant, USA 76 needed an engine. The brand new 75HP beast had to be hoisted into the yacht with a crane.
  • Bulkheads – Originally, there were no bulkheads in the hull of USA 76. Three were installed to divide the hull into four sections. This isolated the engine and created an “engine room”.
  • Keel bulb modifications – With the addition of the bulkheads, life rails, and engine, USA 76 would need modifications in the lead bulb at the bottom of her keel to help unload the rig and redistribute weight. More than 2.5 tons of lead were removed from the bulb with a chainsaw. The crew had to replace the chainsaw blade three times in order to complete the job.
  • Branding – Last but not least, “USA 76” would replace the “ORACLE” branding that had adorned her hull in the past.

USA 76 refit at KKMI

Launching an America’s Cup Experience to the Public

In early 2011, the modified yacht was launched (sans the rig) and the waterline was re-measured. After a brief shakedown to ensure there were no leaks or issues with the engine and other modifications, the mast was stepped, the boat was rigged and the bottom painted.

At long last, 11 months after the inception of ACsailingSF, it was time for the moment of truth. USA76 was inspected by the USCG and deemed seaworthy for up to 20 passengers and 5 crew. The COI was obtained. Success! USA 76 would sail once again – bringing the thrill of America’s Cup sailing to sailing enthusiasts from around the world.

Summer in the City by the Bay

Summer is here! In San Francisco, that means Karl the Fog is back and with it, steady winds and sailing. Thousands of tourists from all over the world vacation in the “City by the Bay” to enjoy breathtaking sights, incredible food, and learn about our rich history.  San Francisco Bay is a world-renowned sailing destination and you should definitely find time to get out on the water during your stay. Like any metropolis, there are tons of exciting attractions and landmarks to visit but the best views of the city are from a boat. To make your sightseeing decisions easy, here is a list of crew-approved, water-based activities that will delight everyone in the family.

Sail an America’s Cup yacht

1. Go Sailing in San Francisco

Hop aboard USA 76! Of course, we are a bit bias here but don’t miss sailing on USA 76. ACsailingSF offers one of the most unique sailing experiences in the world aboard a retired America’s Cup racing yacht. Step aboard this carbon fiber yacht and take on the same tasks that the professional sailors did when the yacht raced in New Zealand during the 2003 America’s Cup. After hosting the behemoth sails, you’ll have the chance to take the helm and steer the yacht along the city front and under the Golden Gate Bridge. We offer many public trips to suit busy sightseeing schedules including morning, afternoon, and sunset sails. Take a look at our ticketed trips page to reserve your spot.

2. Visit Alcatraz Island

Visit Alcatraz Island. Otherwise known as “The Rock”, this former prison is one of the most popular landmarks in the Bay Area. The island was discovered by Spanish Explorers in 1775, by 1850 the US military used it to house cannons and in 1934, it was turned into a maximum-security prison. Amongst its many infamous prisoners were Al “Scarface” Capone, George “Machine Gun” Kelly, and Public Enemy No 1. Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz. Sure, the only way on and off the island is by ferry-boat, but a tour of the island prison is well worth the trek to get there. Get your Alcatraz Tickets here.  

USA 76 carbon fiber yacht in San Francisco in from of Alcatraz
Visit Alcatraz Island

3. Visit Sausalito, Tiburon, and Oakland by Sailboat

Explore the Bay by luxury sailboat. There are plenty of small and medium-sized sailboats available for charter for intimate groups from 2-20 people. Ask your captain to visit a local dock and dine restaurants like Sam’s Cafe in Tiburon or The Trident in Sausalito. Docking or mooring at Angel Island is also a popular day trip. One of our favorite private charter boats is Fine Day for Sailing. Captain Heather Richard is a former crew member on USA 76 and knows the Bay very well.

4. Take a Scenic Ferry Ride

Take a Ferry Ride. If you plan to visit Sausalito, Tiburon or Angel Island, a ferry ride to or from your destination is the way to go. The SF to Sausalito ferry was voted number 5 in Budget Travel’s Most Scenic Ferry Rides in 2009. With the Golden Gate Bridge stretching out on one side of the boat and the city front sprawling out on the other, you’ll agree. Visit Golden Gate Transit to check the schedule and plan your trip.

Take a ferry to Sausalito and Tiburon.

5. Visit the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39

Visit the Aquarium of the Bay at Pier 39. Did you know that the SF Bay approximately 50% saltwater and 50% freshwater? Did you know that sharks live in its murky waters? While more of an “in the water” attraction, the Aquarium of the Bay is a great activity for all ages. Amongst jellyfish and sea otter exhibits, this aquarium features all the creatures that live in the waters of the Bay Area. Tickets and hours are here.

6. Go Whale Watching in the Pacific Ocean

Go whale watching. During their annual migrations, grey whales, humpbacks and blue whales make a pit stop near the Gulf of the Farallones and the Golden Gate Straits. It’s not uncommon to see humpback whales breaching under the Golden Gate Bridge. San Francisco Whale Tours is our neighbor at the docks and provides daily trips offshore in search of cetacea activity. While offshore you’ll see other sea creatures like jellyfish, mola mola, harbor porpoises, sea lions, and a plethora of sea birds. Book your whale watching trip here and prepare for an oceanic adventure with Whale Girl, a local naturalist (she’s also crew on USA76).

Whale Watching in the Pacific Ocean. Photo by Whale Girl.

They’re here – SailGP’s F50s have arrived in San Francisco! On May 4th and 5th, sailing teams from the United States, Australia, United Kingdom, France, Japan, and China will compete in a high-stakes, high-speed competition aboard the World’s fastest sailboats.

This will be the first SailGP race to take place in the United States and the second event of the five-part championship. Official races will take place on Saturday and Sunday, May 4th and 5th from 12 – 2 pm. Racing will take place on the water in front of the Yacht Club Peninsula of the San Francisco Bay.

SAILGP Teams Great Britain and Australia on San Francisco Bay Photo Credit: Pressure Drop

The World Fastest Foiling Yachts

The F50s are the World’s fastest foiling catamarans. “F” stands for foiling. “50” indicates the length of the catamaran – 50 feet. But it’s not just the foiling and the size of these boats that is impressive. It’s how fast they will go. The F50 engineers predict the boats will break the”50-knot barrier” – the sailing world’s equivalent to the sound barrier.

The core components of the SailGP F50s were sourced from the catamarans sailed in the 2017 America’s Cup. Post racing in Bermuda, the AC50 hulls and wingsails were stripped. After 100,000 hours of work they were put back together and transformed into completely different boats. The new cats are incredibly light for their size. Each boat has two sets of interchangeable light-air and heavy-air foils, rudders, and wingsails, making them prone to foiling and top speeds in any wind condition.

Team USA Practicing on San Francisco Bay Photo Credit: Pressure Drop

The reorganization of the cockpit on the F50 also makes for a faster sailboat. Originally, the AC50s had two grinding pedestals (typically used for charging hydraulics and trimming sails). One of these pedestals has been replaced. In its place is a lithium-ion battery used to provide a 5-hour charge for the hydraulic systems on the yachts. The use of a computerized system makes frequent tacks and gybes possible, eliminating the time it takes for the crew to manually charge the hydraulics. All controls for the wingsail, foil, and rudder have been made more accessible too. Newly implemented foot pedals, twist grips on the steering wheel and even a joystick replace typical sailboat controls and can be adjusted with the lightest touch. Take a full tour of Team Australia’s cockpit with helmsman Tom Slingsby below.

One Design Yacht Racing Puts Traditional Sailing Skills to the Test

SailGP levels the playing field for each competing nation by computerizing many of the components involved in sailing the yacht. Each boat is identical bringing the skill of the sailors on the boat to the forefront of the sailing arena. Wind and water conditions, boat speed and other data are constantly streamed back to the shore team to analyze and compare during and after races. Each SailGP team is made up of approximately 100 people with 5 core crew – professional sailors. The AC50s were allowed 6 professional sailors onboard during races. More One-Design Rules for SailGP yachts include:

  • Length overall is 15 meters
  • Beam (width): 8.8 meters (including appendages)
  • Wing Height: currently 24 meters, evolving to an 18m heavy air wing and a 28m light air wing
  • Crew: 5, consisting of a helmsman, wing-trimmer, flight controller and two grinders
  • Crew weight limit: 438 kilograms (average of 87.5 kg per sailor)
  • Onboard cameras: 3
  • Onboard microphones: 3
SAILGP Team China on San Francisco Bay. Photo Credit: Pressure Drop

Will you be watching SailGP this weekend? Learn more about the F50 catamaran, competing nations and viewing options at SailGP.com.

That’s right! USA 76 is the sight of one of the best San Francisco team building activities you can experience. This fast and aerodynamic racing yacht is the ultimate form of team building and way better than any offsite on land. When you book a team building experience, your colleagues will get the opportunity to hoist the sails, helm the yacht and hone your communication skills. We can host anywhere from 8 – 20 guests on USA 76 and partner with other large yachts on the bay to accommodate groups of more than 20.

Types of team building activities at ACsailingSF

Bay Challenge – the ultimate team-building exercise. This is a three-hour tour that is a timed race course around SF Bay. After our coaches greet you at the docks, your team will be assigned specific roles that will be integral to getting the boat around the race course. Communication, teamwork, and desision making is all a part of the Bay Challenge.

Corporate Team Building – A corporate team building event is the best way to gather your team for a thrilling sail around the Bay. This is not a timed course so it’s a bit more relaxing though no less exciting. Your group will have the opportunity to steer the yacht, use our “coffee grinders” and hoist the sails. You can book a corporate team building event any day of the week. Sunset sails and Friday Night Races during the summer are popula.

Private Yacht Charters –  Do you want to impress your clients? Nothing wows visitors to the Bay Area than a jaunt around Central San Francisco Bay aboard the “Formula One race car” of the water. For every sail, we follow the wind and can sail anywhere. This includes the San Franciso or Sausalito City fronts, past Alcatraz and under the Golden Gate or Bay Bridge. USA76 is a multi-million dollar yacht and her racing pedigree makes her an incredible piece of history. You can “own” her for the afternoon when you charter her for an event.

What past clients say about this San Francisco teambuilding event

“Our entire Management team loved LOVED this team building. Our guys who flew in from Israel for this event will be the biggest fans and promoters of ACSailing in Israel going forward. Seriously.
BTW, The entire team is ex-military, so this was very special for them.”

Ophir A. @ Perimeterx
Picture of the Bay Challenge - a times race course on San Francisco Bay.

“We had an amazing event. The crew was consummate professionals, entertaining, knowledgeable and incredibly enthusiastic. Every single guest from Insitu loved their experience, from the non-sailor to the seasoned sailor! It was also agreed that everyone preferred the experience of sailing in the stormy weather as it added to the intensity and adrenalin of the experience. We look forward to bringing groups to you and working with you and the team again and again!”

Matt S. @ Global Sessions

Book your team building event in San Francisco for the 2019 season now. Warren Allen at 619-630-6383 or warren@acsailingsf.com to book your team building event today.

Fleet Race in Valencia. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images.

As we established in the previous post, the Louis Vuitton Cup was established as the “playoffs” for America’s Cup to determine what nation would challenge the 2003 defender. Of the nine events that Louis Vuitton sponsored, five of the prevailing challengers went on to win the America’s Cup that followed.

From 2004 to 2007, the Louis Vuitton Cup was diced into “Acts” to narrow down the competition and talent that followed the “Auld Mug” around the world. These Acts consisted of thirteen fleet and match races that were held in multiple countries. A total of twelve teams, 200+ elite sailors, representing nine nations competed. Each Act would reveal a winning team that would accrue points ultimately earning the title of Challenger of the 32nd America’s Cup. The reigning defender and winner of the 31st America’s Cup was the Swiss Team Alinghi of the Société Nautique de Genève (Switzerland). Alighini brought the Cup to Valencia Spain for the 32nd America’s Cup and would compete in all 13 Louis Vitton Acts alongside the challengers.

Alinghi Holds the Lead

Over the course of the Acts, Alinghi held a strong lead, including winning the ACC Championship in Act 5. By the end of the second year of the Acts, Alinghi was at the top closely followed by “The Big Three”, Oracle BMW Racing, Luna Rossa, and Emirates Team New Zealand. During Act 8, in Sicily, the French Team K-Challenge knocked Alinghi out of it’s 31-race winning streak.

Swiss Alinghi races on the fourth day of match racing of the Louis Vuitton Cup Act 12 regatta off the coast of Valencia, 25 June 2006. Photo credit should read JAIME REINA/AFP/Getty Images.

Carnage in Valencia

Acts 9 – 13 brought festivities back to Valencia where the 2007 America’s Cup would take place. The final, 13th Act (originally dubbed the 14th Act so as to avoid an unlucky 13th race but called the 13th act at the end to avoid confusion) was riddled with carnage. Italy’s +39 was dismasted and Oracle BMW Racing’s spinnaker pole was snapped in half. At the end of 5 days of racing, Emirates Team New Zealand was victorious and moved on to challenge Alinghi during the 32nd America’s Cup.

Italy’s +39 Challenge is dismasted during the final Acts of the Louis Vuitton Cup in Valencia.

List of Competitors in Louis Vuitton Acts

  1. The United States – BMW Oracle Racing – USA 76
  2. New Zealand – Emirates Team New Zealand – NZL 82
  3. Spain – Desafío Español 2007 – ESP 67
  4. South Africa – Team Shosholoza – RSA 83
  5. Italy – Luna Rossa – ITA 74
  6. Italy – +39 Challenge – ITA 85
  7. Sweden – Victory Challenge – SWE 63
  8. Germany – United Internet Team Germany – GER 72
  9. Italy – Mascalzone Latino – Capitalia Team – ITA 77
  10. China  – China Team – CHN 69
  11. France – K Challenge – FRA 60
Malmo, SWEDEN: BMW Oracle Racing (USA 76) (L) sails to victory over China Team (CHN 69) in their match-race in the Louis Vuitton Act 6 of the 32nd America’s Cup, 28 August 2005 outside Malmo. The Malmo-Sk?ne Louis Vuitton sixth and seventh acts are sailed ahead of the 32nd America Cup set in Valencia, Eastern Spain in 2007. AFP PHOTO – SVEN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read SVEN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Locations & Winners for the Louis Vuitton Acts 2004 – 2007

ActDateLocationWinner
Act 1Sept. 2004Marseille, FranceOracle BMW Racing
USA 76
Act 2Oct. 2004Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 3Oct. 2004Valencia, SpainAlinghi wins ACC
Leads in points
Act 4June 2005Valencia, SpainAlinghi
Act 5June 2005Valencia, SpainLuna Rossa
Act 6Aug. 2005Malmö, Skåne, SwedenAlinghi
BMW Leads in Points
Act 7Sept. 2005Malmö, Skåne, SwedenAlinghi
Act 8Oct. 2005Trapani, ItalyAlinghi
Act 9Mar. 2006Trapani, ItalyAlinghi
Act 10May 2006Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 11May 2006Valencia, SpainAlinghi
Act 12June 2006Valencia, SpainEmirates Team
New Zealand
Act 13April 2007Valencia, SpainAlinghi Wins
Emirates leads points
Team Emirates New Zealand wins the Louis Vuitton Cup and moves on to challenge Alinghi for the 32nd America’s Cup.

High Fashion, Even Higher Sails

As we delve further into the history of America’s Cup we come across numerous Challengers, sponsors, and athletes that have sought to leave their legacy alongside America’s Cup. One such sponsor is Louis Vuitton. Of course, the only thing sexier than high fashion is multi-million dollar yachting. It only made sense for luxury’s finest to enter the scene in 1983.

Advertisement for the Louis Vuitton Trophy and the 35th America’s Cup held in Bermuda.

Louis Vuitton and the “Auld Mug”

Since it’s inception, there was an onslaught of international challengers vying for a chance to claim the “Auld Mug”. This popularity spurred the launch of the “Challenger’s Cup” which became the “playoffs” of America’s Cup. The Louis Vuitton Cup sought to narrow the competition in nine round-robin points accruing phases. The team that won the Louis Vuitton Cup would go on to challenge the current holder of America’s Cup. The first Louis Vuitton Cup was held in Newport Rhode Island. Australia II won and went on to challenge America’s Liberty for the 25th America’s Cup. Louis Vuitton sponsored a total of eight America’s Cup Events. This included one Louis Vuitton Trophy in 2017 that determined the 35th America’s Cup Challenger. Of the nine events sponsored by Louis Vuitton, five of the victorious teams have gone on to win America’s Cup!

In 2003, Auckland New Zealand set the stage for the 6th Louis Vuitton Cup and the 31st America’s Cup. Team New Zealand of the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron was the defending champion. Skipper, Dean Barker, was at the helm. There were nine competitors from six nations with their most talented and elite sailors on board.

Team New Zealand’s crew positions for the 2003 America’s Cup held in New Zealand.

2003 Louis Vuitton Cup

Enter Oracle BMW Racing and USA 76! The team was founded by Larry Ellison and skippered by Peter Holmberg. The team included elite sailors like our very own Brad Webb, Paul Cayard, John Cutler, Phil Jameson, Brian MacInnes, Cameron Dunn, and Chris Dickson. In accordance to class rules, the yacht boasted 40,000lbs of lead ballast, 10,000 lbs of carbon fiber, and 2,8000 sq ft. of sail area.

America’s Cup Returns to Europe

After a series of nine round-robin races, Team Alinghi went head to head with Oracle BMW Racing. It was a ferocious fight, however, Alighi won and went on to challenge Team New Zealand in the 31st America’s Cup. The team prevailed and brought the “Auld Mug” back to Europe. The 2007 America’s Cup would take place in Valencia Spain. Take a look at the clip below to see some of the action between Alinghi and Team New Zealand.

The Launch of SailGP

Larry Ellison is at it again with SailGP – a fleet of cutting-edge 15-meter catamarans that are predicted to exceed the 50-knot barrier while foiling. With its 24-meter wingsail, foils made of high modulus carbon fiber, and rudders made of high strength stainless steel – these boats will fly. Foil rake, cant, wing twist and jib sheets are all battery powered and there will be a flight control system that will be operated by a joystick. Onboard cameras and microphones will give the audience the feeling as though they were in the cockpit calling tactics. A series of five match races across four countries will end in a winner takes all 1-million dollar race.

SailGP will launch in February of 2019 in Sydney Australia and will race in the San Francisco Bay in May 2019 (hint: tickets are already available if you want to see the race aboard USA 76). Visit their site for details – if you love sailing as much as we do, we know you’ll want the details now.

SailGP's F50 catamaran's in action.
SailGP’s F50 catamaran’s in action.

The 31st Trans Atlantic Race

The 31st Trans Atlantic Race from Newport, Rhode Island to Cowes, England. This 2,960 nautical mile race is one of the longest yacht races open to both professional and amateur racers worldwide and is organized by Royal Yacht Squadron, New York Yacht Club, Royal Ocean Racing Club, and the Storm Trysail Club. The last Trans Atlantic race took place in 2015 with 38 competing yachts including the renowned Comanche that set a set a new record by sailing 618.01 miles in 24 hours, and became the first monohull to break the 600-mile barrier. The 2019 Trans Atlantic Race kicks off on June 25, 2019 so stay tuned for details.

Another Season of Sailing on San Francisco Bay!

With the arrival of a new year and the promise of steady winds on the horizon, we can’t help but look forward to the 2019 sailing season (we know it’s not an event so don’t @ us, please). This year we will witness the Annual Three Bridge Fiasco in January, the 55th Edition of the Rolex Big Boat Series in September, and our beloved Fleet Week in October. Combine that with weekend regattas in the spring and daily beercan races in the summer and you have the perfect combination of fun!

Three Bridge Fiasco 2019 is something to look forward to on San Francisco Bay
San Francisco Bay, SF skyline and the 2016 Three Bridge Fiasco racers.

Additionally, ACsailingSF will be participating in the Golden Gate Yacht Club’s Seaweed Soup Regatta (mid-winters). We will also participate in the South Beach Yacht Club’s Friday Night Series in the summer. During the height of our sailing season, you can book a public sail almost every day of the week. If you want to schedule a private or corporate event to enjoy the bay let us know. We love to share our favorite season with you!

So, keep your eyes and ears peeled for some exciting events on the Bay this year. We’ll see you out there!

The next time you are on the water, keep an eye out for the US Olympic Sailing Team! That’s right, the Facility for Advanced Sailing and Technology (FAST USA) has set up shop on Treasure Island. FAST USA is a partnership between US Sailing (the sport’s governing body), the St. Francis Sailing Foundation, and the Treasure Island Sailing Center (TISC). The program’s facilities were donated by our very own ORACLE TEAM USA. Olympians past, present, and future have flooded the Bay since May 2018.  

2017 image shows the containers donated to FAST USA from Oracle's America's Cup Team. (Leandro Spina)

2017 image shows the containers donated to FAST USA from Oracle’s America’s Cup Team. (Leandro Spina)

San Francisco is a historical home for sailors

San Francisco Bay has been a world-renowned sailing destination, helping to write the history of the sport for decades. Many professional sailors have found their beginnings in our cool waters. SF Bay’s consistent winds and constant tides provide a year-round challenge making it an obvious location for Olympic training. This facility is the first West Coast training facility for the US Olympic Sailing team.

“Having a home is so important,” says Malcolm Page, two-time Olympic gold medalist and Chief of US Olympic Sailing. “I think it’s a huge step forward for this country and for sailors who want to reach the top of the podium. I think it’s really going to set ourselves up. To think the L.A. Olympics are only 10 years away, it’s a great opportunity,” says Page who moved to the Bay Area to manage the facility.

The completed facility will be located on the shoreline of Clipper Cove nextdoor to the Treasure Island Sailing Center. The Cove provides a sheltered area for dingy and keelboat sailors alike. Already, TISC works hard to bring sailing to the Bay Area community all year long, successfully running their Set Sail Learn program that offers thousands of fourth-grade kids an opportunity to get out on the water.

New opportunities for Bay Area youth

“With the creation of FAST USA at TISC, we can offer high-level training opportunities for both Bay Area sailors and Olympic hopefuls that currently do not exist,” said Bill Kreysler, President of the St. Francis Sailing Foundation. “This facility will bridge existing gaps between youth, high school, collegiate, and high-performance sailing. FAST USA will be the first facility of its kind in the nation and we are thrilled to have US Sailing putting the wind at our back here in San Francisco. The seamless pathway we envision is a perfect fit for US Sailing’s joint goals of expanding sailing access on the west coast and winning Olympic medals.”

With the 2028 LA Olympics just 10 years away, this cutting-edge training facility will help increase the headcount and performance of the US Olympic Sailing team. We’ll hope for more medals as well!

Like any story, we have to start at the beginning. Before foiling monohulls, multihulls, spinnakers and carbon fiber. This story begins even before J-Class yachts made their debut in the yachting world and in a time where the crew positions included physically move ballast below-decks from one side of the hull to the other during tacks.  

"America" the schooner that won the very first America's Cup

1851 America’s Cup: The schooner ‘America’ as she appeared for the Royal Yacht Squadron regatta August 22nd, 1851. painting by W. G. Wood after a photograph by N. L. Stebbins

The inception of America’s Cup all started in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1851 with John Cox Stevens, the first-ever commodore of the New York Yacht Club. He didn’t know it at the time, but the 101ft schooner, America, he’d commissioned by Geroge Steers would lead to what has been called the world’s oldest sporting championship and a 167 year-long legacy of innovation, competition, and skill.

Stevens grew up the eldest son of a Revolutionary War veteran and steamboat pioneer in Jersey. After building a series of his own yachts, founding the New York Yacht Club, and introducing Cricket to America, Stephens had a thirst for something more. He gathered a 6-person syndicate to commission the building of a magnificent schooner to be a competitive Yankee thoroughbred in British waters.

The race around the Isle of Wight

1851 America's Cup: The lines plan of the American schooner 'America' drawn by George Steers. PICTURES OF YESTERYEAR - Managed by PPL PHOTO AGENCY - Copyright Reserved 1851 America's Cup: The lines plan of the American schooner 'America' drawn by George Steers. CREDIT: Bob Fisher Archive/PPL

1851 America’s Cup: The lines plan of the American schooner ‘America’ drawn by George Steers. CREDIT: Bob Fisher Archive/PPL

On August 22, 1851, a mere 4 months after her launch, America was set to race in Cowes against 15 of the finest yachts and skilled crews that the Royal Yacht Squadron could muster. She was a gamble and ahead of her time. She was built for speed and featured innovative, machine-woven, flat cut sails. Contrary to the rounded bows of the era, America’s bow was concave. The design offered the least resistance to the flow of the water over her bow. And they knew she was fast. On her journey across the Atlantic Ocean to Cowes, the crew recorded impressive 200+nautical mile days.

At the blast of the starting gun, 15 yachts took to the course, racing to defend Britain’s honor. It was a quick 54-nautical-mile race circumnavigating the Isle of Wight. The prize was the “Auld Mug” or the “£100 Cup”, a 27-inch cup made of 134 ounces of silver and worth £100. There were no handicaps and sources say a south-westerly wind prevailed, aided by a strengthening east-going tide. Bets were heavily in favor of Stevens’ Yankee schooner.

There is No Second Place

The "Auld Mug" or "£100 Cup" was renamed "America's Cup" in 1851.

The “Auld Mug” or “£100 Cup” was renamed “America’s Cup” in 1851.

Needless to say, America won the race coming in 8 minutes ahead of her closest competition, a 57 ft. cutter christened Aurora. Of the 15 yachts that started the race, only 5 crossed the finish line. Queen Victora who had come to watch the finish reportedly asked which boat was in second place. The famous reply was “Ah, Your Majesty, there is no second.”

The “Auld Mug” was claimed by the Yanks and renamed the “America’s Cup”. Shortly after her victory, Stevens sold America. However, the legacy of the yacht remained intact. In 1857, the challenge for America’s Cup was declared with the deed of gift. In 1970 the very first America’s Cup Challenge on American waters took place in Newport, Rhode Island.

What would follow is a 167-year-old championship that would birth some of the most innovative yachts and technologies in history. USA 76 would enter the scene in September 2004 as a Challenger in the 32nd America’s Cup the Malmö-Skåne Louis Vitton Cup.

Our Sources and more info about America’s Cup:

Wikipedia

Yachting World

Alcatraz “The Rock” Island in San Francisco Bay

Among the many famous sites that make San Francisco Bay a popular tourist destination, you will find Alcatraz Island. Otherwise known as “The Rock”,  the island juts out of the blue waters of the Bay, barren and sharp against the rolling California hills in the distance. As the turbulent and cold waters of the SF Bay splash on the rocky shore, it’s not hard to understand the appeal of secluding the nations most dangerous criminals on the small island. 

Alcatraz tours and Cruises on yacht USA 76

From Military Base to Island Prison

Juan Manuel de Ayala, a Spanish explorer was the first person to map the rugged Island in 1775, naming it La Isla de los Alcatraces or The Islands of the Pelicans due to the large population of birds that inhabited the land. 75 years later, the US military built a fortress that housed 100 cannons and the West Coast’s first operational lighthouse. After almost a century, the US Justice Department opened a maximum-security federal prison on July 1, 1934.

The prison housed the most disruptive inmates in very harsh conditions. At any given time, Alcatraz would host 260 to 275 prisoners with approximately 1 guard to every three prisoners.

Famous Inmates at Alcatraz Island

During its 29 year reign, Alcatraz Federal Prison housed many infamous criminals.  Al “Scarface” Capone, murderer Robert “Birdman of Alcatraz” Stroud, and George “Machine Gun” Kelly all spent time at Alcatraz. Gangster Alvin “Creepy Karpis” Karpowicz, who was Public Enemy No 1 in the 1930s, also spent time in Alcatraz. 36 inmates attempted 14 escapes.  Twenty-nine of these escapee wannabes were killed or captured while attempting their getaway.  Of the prisoners that tried to swim to shore, two drowned and five went missing. Their bodies were never found. Officials presume they drowned fighting San Francisco Bay’s violent currents. The prison shut its doors in 1963 and became a part of the Golden Gate National Recreation Area in 1972. The prison opened to the public in 1973.

Alcatraz Island Tours and Cruises

Today, Alcatraz remains a popular tourist attraction. Every year, millions of tourists visit San Francisco hoping to get an in-person view of “The Rock”. Annually, hundreds of people willingly participate in the “Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon” every June. This race includes a chilly swim from Alcatraz to Crissy Feild with chase boats for safety.

There are several ways to get a good view of this historical site. Book a Day or Express Sail past the island on USA 76 for a quick cruise if you are short on time. If you would like to tour Alcatraz by foot, book a day or a nighttime tour of the prison with Alcatraz Cruises. 

USA 76 sails past Alcatraz Island

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