San Diego on short list to host America’s Cup in 2017

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America's Cup 2013

Final race of America’s Cup in 2013 (Photo: Getty Images)

SAN DIEGO — San Diego was one of two remaining potential host cities for the 35th America’s Cup sailing competition in 2017, it was announced Wednesday.

San Diego, one of only seven locations to host the prestigious event (1988, 1992 and 1995) is competing against the island country Bermuda, Port of San Diego Chairman Bob Nelson said.

If the Port of San Diego were to win its bid, it would be the first time the city has ever hosted the event when the San Diego Yacht Club is not competing. The Oracle Team USA racing group representing the Golden Gate Yacht Club won the America’s Cup in 2013 and will defend its title against Emirates Team New Zealand representing the Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron.

If San Diego were selected as the venue for 2017, the event would be held in San Diego Bay, Nelson said. The three previous times the city hosted the America’s Cup, racing was held in offshore waters beyond Point Loma.

“San Diego Bay is a highly competitive and desirable venue for the most prestigious sailing event in the world,” Nelson said. “We’re enthusiastic about this opportunity, while mindful of both the potential benefits and costs of hosting the `Super Bowl of sailing.’ ”

Nelson also announced the formation of an America’s Cup 35 Ad Hoc committee for the Port of San Diego to work on the region’s bid for the event. Port of San Diego Vice Chairman Dan Malcolm will chair the committee while Nelson and port commissioner Gary Bonelli will be members of the committee.

The America’s Cup Event Authority will work with both potential host cities over the next few months to determine the feasibility of hosting the event in each city and a decision will be announced by the end of this year, according to Russell Coutts, the director of the America’s Cup Event Authority.

“Both Bermuda and San Diego have made very compelling cases to be the host for the next America’s Cup,” Coutts said. “We will  be in good hands with either venue.”