America's Cup race draws small crowd on first day of SF Bay racing 

Although thousands of tourists from around the globe were expected to attend The City’s first America’s Cup World Series regatta, Day 1 of the races didn’t appear to attract as many visitors as anticipated.

Organizers had predicted that the 34th America’s Cup would have a $1 billion economic impact from out-of-town visitors, but few of Wednesday’s audience members seemed to have traveled very far to watch the event.

“I’ve been hearing about America’s Cup for a few months now so I thought I’d take the day to come check it out,” said Huyen Abellon, 24, who lives in The City. “I was a little surprised more people weren’t here, since it’s been advertised all over town.”

But some dedicated fans said the events should draw a larger audience by the weekend.

“I took off work and cleared my entire schedule to be here for this,” said David Hug, 50. “I’ve been into sailing for years. I’m sure the people who aren’t into it as much as I am will come down this weekend and watch.”

Other audience members were not surprised by the early turnout.

“Next year when the finals are in town, I bet there’s going to be a lot more people,” said Darlene Meeres, 64. “Those are the big races, so everyone’s going to want to be here for that.”

Some newer fans were nonetheless happy to learn more about the sport. David Walsh, 77, who lives just down the street from the waterfront, said he “hobbled over” with his walker to watch.

“I’ve never been into sailing, but I thought it might be fun to come see,” Walsh said. “If I like it, I might come back.”

The World Series events are taking place until Sunday. The America’s Cup finals are set to begin in 
September 2013.

ccopeland@sfexaminer.com

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Carolyn Copeland

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Monday, Sep 15, 2014

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