Being a native San Franciscan, I have been fortunate to view many amazing sporting events up close. The San Francisco Giants, just last October provided a miracle finish, culminating in a World Series victory and parade, on of all days, Halloween, practically San Francisco’s city holiday. The San Francisco 49ers football team narrowly missed winning their 6th Super Bowl last year. During the month of September, “The City by the Bay” played host to the world’s most prestigious sailing regatta, the America’s Cup. Team Oracle USA defending their title vs. Emirates Team New Zealand. Oracle Team USA looked to be dead in the water, down 8-1. The first team to win 9 races would hoist the cup and be crowned the winners of the 34th America’s Cup. Emirates team New Zealand seemed poised to bring the cup to Auckland, when suddenly, the feisty, Australian skipper Jimmy Spithill and Russell Coutes, the teams chief executive of Team Oracle along with team owner Larry Ellison made tactical changes and came roaring back. In the final race, tied 8-8, simply stated, Team Oracle’s catamaran had too much speed for the Kiwi’s and won by 44 seconds. And so it went, the cup stayed in America and in the hands of Ellison and Team Oracle. In all probability, San Francisco will host yet another America’s Cup in 3 to 4 years.

The city of San Francisco and San Francisco bay provided a scenic wonderland for the world’s most famous sailing regatta. San Francisco’s iconic monuments, the Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Fisherman’s Wharf and more were prominently featured in full view of the races. Backdrops of Sausalito and Marin County, Berkeley and the East Bay provided a contrasting landscapes. Sprinkle in a dash of San Francisco’s mystical weather patterns, where fog turned to sun in matter of minutes, and you had a sailing race that would change the face of the sport.

Perhaps only in San Francisco could the races be seen so close up and personal to the boats themselves. San Francisco’s waterfront provided an intimate seeking and gave onlookers a chance to view this amazing regatta up close and personal. There simply is no other venue like San Francisco bay in the world. This was the first intimate America’s Cup ever, where fans did not have to be on boats, far out at sea, miles offshore to view the races. Had the Kiwi’s won the cup, New Zealand would not provide such cozy vantage point with close up views from land. Spectators felt as if they were on these super boats themselves.

On many occasions the boats were side by side giving fans the rare glimpse of what the competitive sailing world is all about.

The ultra-fast Team Oracle boat in the end ruled the San Francisco Bay.
Twice down by seven wins in the finals, Team Oracle – USA, staged an unprecedented rally, as Spithill and his crew, won the final eight races, in picture perfect weather, on San Francisco Bay. Team Oracle’s 9-8 victory in 19 glorious, September days was the longest America’s Cup, and absolutely it’s most thrilling.

There were no losers in this race – just two agile, nimble, quick, super boats who put on a spectacle for lucky sailing fans who were able to view the races up close.

Almost every day was picture perfect in San Francisco this September, but even when the sun did not grace the races, San Francisco did not disappoint and provided spectacular views.

Late summer is the perfect time to visit to San Francisco – Warm, sunny, days greet the traveler, the light winds provided excellent sailing weather on San Francisco Bay.

Team Oracle USA with Belvedere, Tiburon – Marin Country in the background.

Alcatraz Island was just one of many iconic San Francisco back drops that was on full display and dazzled sailing fans on the city by the bay.

Team Oracle with Sausalito, Marin County in the background.
When the Kiwi’s lead reached to 8-1, a mere week before Team Oracle’s comeback victory – The brash and bold Aussie, Jimmy Spithill told Ellison his boss, “you know what 8-1 is? Eight-and-1 is motivating.”

The races were especially impressive when the boats were gliding above the water.

Two lightning fast boats reaching speeds up to 50 miles per hour perhaps put sailing on the map forever. These boats were built to be extreme and they are works of art. One can only wonder how these massive catamarans can go any faster. What type of technology will prevail for the 2017 – America’s Cup?

Emirates Team New Zealand airborne with the U.C. Berkeley Campus in the background.

Team Oracle – proved the adage “it ain’t over, until it’s over to be true”

If you were fortunate enough to be on a boat in the San Francisco Bay during the races – you had the best seat in the house.

Team Oracle – In front of Alcatraz Island

The Kiwis seemed primed to bring the cup home to New Zealand. For more than a week the Kiwi’s stood on the brink of victory…only to witness perhaps the greatest comeback in sports history.

As Team USA forged its comeback – more and more fans flocked to San Francisco’s Marina District, and other venues to view the world cup of the sailing world

Yes, I was a happy man in the end. I s0 dearly wanted the America’s cup to stay in San Francisco three blocks from my home. Or as I would tell friends. “The America’s Cup is live – right in my backyard.”

Team Oracle – USA – With sounds of Queen’s – “We are the champions”
A roaring, flag-waving crowd greeted Team Oracle – USA – If there was any doubt if American’s even cared about this event. In the end, many new sailing aficionados were created. Team USA were the victors, assuring that the most prestigious sailing race in the world will be back in California waters in three to four years, and most likely to remain in San Francisco waters. Oracles comeback will go down as one of the greatest comebacks by any team, in any team sport – in any major sport. As Ellison said, “the regatta has changed sailing forever”

About the Author: Nick Kontis
Travel Expert and Founder of World Travel List Born on the one of the most beautiful Islands in the world, Santorini, Greece and raised in America’s culture capital of San Francisco. Nick Kontis started out as a world traveler at an early age traveling back and forth between California and Greece every summer. But it was a backpacking trip around the world at age 24 that proved to be a life changing experience. After traveling by car, train, plane, bike and, boat around the world, it would be this trip of a lifetime that would lead to a life as a travel entrepreneur and world traveler. Nick has been on both radio and television. Featured on Arthur Frommer’s television show, and referred by Lonely Planet writers as a leader in discount airfares. Frequently mentioned as the “father of around the world airfares.” Arthur Frommer once said, “If Jules Verne were alive today he would use Nick to go around the world in 80 days.” Nick and his various travel companies and agents have sent over 10,000 people around the world. Now, Nick promotes travel through his World Travel List and ‘Trip Rambler’ by World Travel List. Having traveled to over 80 countries Nick hopes to inspire others to travel the world.
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