But the races between those 72-foot-long catamarans are at least giving the San Francisco Embarcadero another shot in the arm, increasing activity along the waterfront that is in the process of transforming itself into the premier attraction of the city by the bay.
The opening of AT&T Park, home of the Giants, was a major breakthrough a few years ago, and the food booths and restaurants at the Ferry Building have created a mix of attractions that anchors the waterfront for many visitors.
Saturday, we emerged at midday from the Embarcadero BART station at the foot of Market Street. We walked along the Embarcadero — north from the Ferry Building — and while it wasn’t jammed with people, there were plenty of folks about. Some were there to see the racing yachts, and many others just to get close to the busy bay filled with sailboats and trans-bay ferries.
Our destination was the America’s Cup Park at piers 27 and 29. Along the way, we stopped for lunch at the Waterfront Restaurant, one of the increasing number of food venues, so we arrived at the park when a practice session by the Italian boat, Luna Rosa, was ending.
The practice session didn’t do the boat crew much good. The next day, Luna Rosa lost to Emirates Team New Zealand by some 7 minutes, a skunking in yacht racing.
If you want to get a good look at the races without going out to the Marina Green, you can watch the televised event on a giant screen in the America’s Cup Park, which has exhibits, food, beer and wine venues and a view of the giant non-racing yachts docked there.
There is also an America’s Cup Pavilion, where Saturday night the San Francisco Symphony was performing.
The park will no doubt attract more people in September, when the two finalists — probably New Zealand vs. the U.S. (Larry Ellison et al.) — duke it out in the bay.
The switch from graceful single-hull racing yachts to the gawky twin-hull catamaran-style racers has diminished the appeal of the America’s Cup, at least for me, and I don’t think I’m alone in that view.
But after it’s all over in September, the new America’s Cup Park will serve as a strategically located place for all kinds of activities, adding to the Embarcadero’s growing appeal for tourists from all over the world — even one-day visitors from that ol’ tank town in the valley.
• Sam Matthews, Tracy Press publisher emeritus, can be reached at 830-4234 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.