San Diego explores possible role in America's Cup - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

San Diego explores possible role in America's Cup

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SAN DIEGO (AP) — City and port officials think San Diego and San Francisco could collaborate to ensure that the next America's Cup is held in California.

A San Diego host committee was formed this week to consider opportunities to host America's Cup teams for training, holding a Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta or even the 34th America's Cup if it isn't held in San Francisco.

BMW Oracle Racing's space-age trimaran beat Alinghi of Switzerland last month in Valencia, Spain, to win the America's Cup for San Francisco's Golden Gate Yacht Club.

The American syndicate, owned by software tycoon Larry Ellison, tested its trimaran for 16 months in San Diego before relocating to Valencia late last year.

San Diego hosted the America's Cup in 1988, 1992 and 1995.

Golden Gate Yacht Club officials said this week they'll explore every option in San Francisco before considering other cities to host the racing.

Troy Sears, a member of San Diego's host committee, is in Auckland, New Zealand, during the current Louis Vuitton Trophy regatta to meet with Louis Vuitton officials and representatives of various sailing teams about the possibility of hosting a similar regatta.

San Diego officials have also said their city would be an attractive alternative if San Francisco can't host the America's Cup.

"We feel very strongly that San Francisco earned the right to have the first shot at it, just like we would have been offended, probably, if somebody tried to work against us when we had it when Dennis Conner won back the Cup in 1987," Sears said in a phone interview Friday.

"I think as long as government officials up in San Francisco understand the type of infrastructure improvements that need to be made to be a competitive venue, then I think they'll have a legitimate chance of hosting it," Sears said.

San Francisco officials are narrowing the list of waterfront sites that could host the America's Cup, and hope to have a short list by the end of the month.

BMW Oracle Racing hopes to have a timetable by the end of the month detailing how and when it will make the decision about the venue and other issues, such as which class of boat to use in the next America's Cup. The syndicate plans to consult with other teams and stakeholders during the next few months.

"Having had the pleasure of hosting the America's Cup race three times, San Diego knows what it takes to accommodate this prestigious sporting event," Mayor Jerry Sanders said in a statement released by the San Diego Port Commission. "The Cup should be defended in California, and San Diego should be given strong consideration to host at least a portion of the event."

Even if San Diego didn't get the America's Cup itself, Sears said the city would be ideal as a training base for teams.

One week after BMW Oracle Racing won the America's Cup, Ellison and his crew were honored in San Diego by Sanders and port officials.

"If San Francisco can get it done in time, that would be great. If not, San Diego is a fantastic alternative," Ellison said that day. "They've hosted three Cups here in San Diego and they did a terrific job."

Officials in Newport, R.I., also have lobbied Ellison to host the Cup. Newport hosted the racing from 1930 until 1983, when the New York Yacht Club's 132-year winning streak ended.

Copyright 2010 The Associated Press.

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