SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – The 2013 America’s Cup has faced controversy and setbacks at nearly every turn since San Francisco won the right to host the World’s premier sailing race in 2010. Now, the death of a Swedish team member during training on Thursday is likely to cast a shadow over the event finals, which officially get underway on San Francisco Bay Sept. 7.
Prior to the tragedy, the race had faced a number of legal challenges as well as questions about funding, participation and the environmental impact. Here is a look at some of the setbacks suffered by race organizers and participants over the past two years:
- April 2013 – Fish and wildlife officials investigate possible federal law violations after the destruction of an osprey nest during construction for the event at Pier 80.
- March 2013 – San Francisco residents voice outrage over plans to hold 40 nights of concerts as part of the events surrounding the upcoming America’s Cup yacht race. The plans were later scaled back.
- March 2013 – A report cuts the Bay Area’s projected economic benefits from hosting the race nearly in half from $1.4 billion down to $780 million.
- February 2013 -After discovering that the America’s Cup Organizing committee is millions short in coming up with private funds to cover the costs of the yachting race, District 11 Supervisor John Avalos said San Francisco officials were “f-ing played” by race organizers and said he’s “f-ing ashamed” of the likelihood that the city will spend millions in public funds on the event.
- October 2012 -America’s Cup champion Oracle Racing saw its 72-foot catamaran’s high-tech sail smashed into several pieces after a wreck during training. The boat was out of commission for months.
- September 2012 -A local sailor seeks up to $200,000 in salvage fees after helping recover a wayward catamaran belonging to France’s team Energy from the water near Treasure Island and using his ship to pull it to shore in the early hours of September 30th.
- August 2012 -A Korean team preparing for a preliminary race capsized as they attempted to pass Team Energy in the water just East of Fort Mason. The crew were safely returned to shore.
- June 2012 - A four-alarm fire caused by welders preparing the building as part of an America’s Cup venue resulted in $2.4 million in damage to San Francisco’s Pier 29.
In addition to the above setbacks, organizers have faced legal challenges on topics ranging from participant exclusion to environmental concerns, and have been forced to scale back and adapt plans for the event on multiple occasions, and have been criticized for the impact on some local businesses. Private funding for the race has fallen short of expectations, as has the number of challengers entering to vie for the cup.
Race organizers remain steadfast in their assertions that the race will be an economic boon for San Francisco and businesses throughout the region.
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