SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) – The latest in America’s Cup technology was being put on display this week, right on the surface of San Francisco Bay.

The old-style ropes and sails aboard “America” were a far cry from the latest competitive yachting technology. Still, that’s where San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee stepped on board Monday – joined by race promoters and journalists aboard the 139 ft. wooden yacht, a replica of the boat that won the first America’s Cup competition in 1851.

Lee even took a turn at the captain’s wheel, providing him with the perfect view of other, modern catamarans speeding by.

“Somebody said it was like a Porsche gliding over water,” Lee offered. “It’s fantastic and I think even the racers on that boat were having great fun seeing how close they could get.”

KCBS’ Chris Filippi Reports:

“Boats are keeling over, getting wet, there’s some video of one of these boats almost tipping over, it’s incredible,” enthused John Ardnt, associate publisher of the sailing magazine Latitude 38. “That’s what makes it exciting and fun to be a part of it.”

Indeed, one of the catamarans did capsize during a practice run Monday.

It drives the point home that the Bay can be a challenging course, with winds picking up at times. But that, reasoned some, is why the Bay would be a perfect fit for racers in 2013.

“With the direction that sailing is going, into ‘stadium sailing,’ this has always been known to be a natural amphitheater for that, so that’s not even debatable anymore,” America captain Troy Sears said in support of the race coming to San Francisco in 2013. “It will be a fantastic venue.”

Indeed, according to organizers, the San Francisco race will be the first time spectators on land will have a clear view of the competition.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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