Hoping to attract more sailing teams to San Francisco in 2013, America’s Cup competitors voted unanimously last week to extend the deadline for teams to build the 72-foot catamarans necessary to compete in the finals.
The deadline to pay the $200,000 entry fee was moved from June 1 to Aug. 1. But more importantly, it provides more time for potential competitors to construct the so-called AC72 boats, which can cost up to $10 million in research, development, materials and construction.
The event currently has nine teams participating in races across the globe for the regatta’s World Series events, but the finals in San Francisco have only four of those squads signed up so far. That’s seven fewer than were expected in initial economic impact studies conducted to determine the benefits of The City hosting the event.
Other than more teams presumably attracting more spectators, the squads themselves have been known to boost the local economies of host cities because as many as 100 people could live in the area for months before the race events.
On its Twitter feed, Team Korea hinted last week that it might join the finals.
“They made some public announcements that are really encouraging,” said Stephen Barclay, the America’s Cup Event Authority chief operating officer. “Let’s hope that they get across the line.”
World Series events are coming to The City starting in late August, and the finals are slated to begin in late-summer 2013.