SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS)—San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee is optimistic about the shortened schedule for this summer’s America’s Cup races, but many small businesses feel as if they have been left to take on water in choppy seas.
Since the races were cut back last week, corporate clients and even groups tied to the sailing teams have cut back. Stephan Sowash, owner of Sausalito charter and rental company Fearless Sailing, said it’s a “disappointment.”
“We we’re hoping for a sell-out,” he said.
Sowash borrowed money to lease a yacht, figuring on 72 days of bookings for the same amount of days scheduled for racing; but with the scaled-back scheduling in July, he said he’ll loose $500,000.
Sowash estimates there are about 200 charters in the area and that many are probably in the same boat that he’s in.
Mayor Ed Lee said that, despite the setback, he’s still feels positive about races and their financial impact for the city and the Bay Area.
“I think the costs associated with the race being a little smaller has reduced our city costs,” he said. “We think that the economic benefit will still be in the $800 million to $900 million to the Bay Area because there is still a lot of enthusiasm.”
But Sowash, along with other businesses and corporate sponsors, is not quite as enthusiastic about Mayor Lee’s forecast for a summer of smooth sailing.
“I think a lot people were counting on this being a bigger deal,” he said. “It’s kind of sad for the city.”
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