Be honest, you still have no idea what the America’s Cup really is. Well, the final week is upon us and it’s time to catch up on what’s been a-brewin’ on the high seas. From dangerous speed racing to the world’s largest pop-up bar, it’ll all be gone faster than you can say regatta. But don’t worry, our guide to the finals will ensure you hit all the hot spots and sound like you’ve been paying attention the whole time. Your secret’s safe with us. Ahoy!
Pop-Up Bars: Where To Drink Before It’s Too Late
With only a few days left before closure, grab some mates and head to the Bar of Arrr beer hall. It’s pirate themed, they have beds in case the stress of drinking is just too much, AND they’re debuting killer craft brews from New Zealand’s Moa brewery. Shiver me timbers!
If you’d rather not fraternize with the enemy (New Zealand is racing Team USA in the finals) head to the America’s Cup Sports Bar. The world’s largest pop-up bar has a full bar from an all-star mixology team, and was constructed out of a crashed Oracle boat. Recycling at its finest.
Many Embarcadero mainstays are also offering limited-run libations. Hard Water’s America’s Cup of whiskey, American vermouths, and Amari is a doozy, but the real spectacle is at Coqueta: their gin-based Oracle is topped with “hibiscus sea ‘air’ and a splash of San Francisco fog.”
Keep the Party Going: Where To Go When The Sailors Go Home
You can dine at the beautiful Waiheke Island Yacht Club pop-up until December 31st. Whet your palate with cocktails like the Dark n’ Stormy with Aztec Chocolate bitters before enjoying their artistic intermingling of native Kiwi and local Californian ingredients. Deep breaths. There’s still time.
The America’s Cup Pavilion will also continue to host concerts after the sailing is done, with The Lumineers playing on Sept 25th and the Avett Brothers on October 12th. You can buy tickets here.
If you’re going to walk the walk at the America’s Cup venues, you should know the race basics so you can talk the talk. Quick Cliff’s Notes:
The Build Up: A Quick Timeline
- 2010: Golden Gate Yacht Club (represented by Larry Ellison’s Oracle Team USA) defeats Geneva to win the last America’s Cup. As defending champs, they get to set the protocol for the 2013 race (why this year’s Cup is in SF) and are automatically in the finals.
- 2011-2013: The America’s Cup World Series, a three-year pep-rally for the Cup with races in SF, Naples, and Newport, RI.
- July – August, 2013: The Louis Vuitton Cup, aka the March Madness of sailing. Teams compete in a bracket to determine who will race in the finals. Emirates Team New Zealand is victorious.
- September 7 – 21, 2013: The America’s Cup itself, a best-of-17 battle royale. Note: Team Oracle was docked two points for illegally weighting their boats in the World Series, sending them into the finals with a disadvantage. As of September 16th, New Zealand is up 7-3. No bueno, Larry.
Big Bad Boats: The AC72 Debacle
This year, teams are required to sail on a new class of yachts: the AC72 catamaran. Many things went wrong with the Cup this time around, and the AC72s can be blamed for a proverbial boatload of ’em.
- Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems: Due to the incredibly high price to commission the boats ($8-10M each) and put together a full team of sailors, only three of the fourteen teams expected to race in the Louis Vuitton Cup actually showed.
- Danger, Will Robinson: The AC72 boats can reach about 50 mph (2007’s boats averaged 14 mph). The unprecedented speed and size in the windy bay has been extremely dangerous, leading to capsized boats for Team Oracle and Sweden’s Team Artemis Racing, the latter of which resulted in the tragic death of Olympian Andrew Simpson.
This year’s conditions have turned a 162-year old sailing competition into an extreme sport. With a max of five races left, you can watch history being made at 1:15 and 2:15 on Tuesday, and, if Oracle gets some W’s, into the week. Sails away!