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Scuttlebutt News:

Something from Nothing
Stories and photos by Scuttlebutt

(September 25, 2006) Building something from nothing was the theme for the 2006 US Team Racing Championship, held in San Diego on September 6-10, and hosted by San Diego YC. When the club found out all the details for the event, they soon realized that the on-the-water portion would not fit into the sailing bay that is adjacent to the club. The Vanguard 15 boats were too fast for the small bay, plus you add in the size of the course needed to hold three races simultaneously plus umpire boats, etc, and it became clear that an alternate site was needed.

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During a break in the racing, Vanguard's Ned Jones (red shirt) checks on their charter boats.
The organizing committee now had to find an alternative sailing site with available dockspace for staging. Think about it: San Diego and its harbor area are among the most visited places in the US, and either the Navy or private enterprise has gobbled up any available waterfront space. Getting dockspace was a dream, which meant that everything – EVERYTHING - would needed to be towed and transported 45 minutes each way to the sailing site each day. Not only were they losing the visibility of hosting the event, but now they were also going to add inconvenience to both competitors and the on-the-water components of hosting the event.

To make a long story short, someone noticed a little used pier along the cityfront that jutted out into an area of the bay that was both big enough to handle the special digital ‘N’ team race course, and was also clear of day sailing traffic. The pier belonged to a company that services the local anchor moorings, and is also leased out to the local fishing fleet during lobster season. Within a week after the event, the pier would be filled with lobster traps getting prepared for the season, but during the nationals it would be wide open.

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A long day finishes up at the pier, and not during a long tow back to the club.
The YC was able to contract for use of the pier, and with the help of key club members with ties to Driscoll Boat Works, they brought to the pier the docks needed for boat storage and sailor transit, and added tents to the pier that would proved shade for the teams waiting to race. It was far from the creature comforts that the club facility could have provided, and it would not attract the crowds that this spectator-friendly sailing event could have enjoyed, but as a sailing venue it was top notch.

Probably the greatest revelation from hosting the event adjacent to downtown San Diego was how great it would be for the sport to always have sailing activity at the city’s doorstep. This was not sailing behind the confines of private yacht club gates, or along affluent bayside neighborhoods. This was brash, colorful action happening along a stretch of the city that never – NEVER – sees the sport like this. Coming down Harbor Drive, and seeing sail boat races held in the shadows of skyscrapers, is how to build an audience. It was so exciting to see the sport shed its “exclusive” image. One could only dream of what it would be like to have a community sailing center on this pier, and how much energy and interest would be generated for sailing in San Diego. I suspect… it would be unbelievable.

Click here for more comments about Team Racing on Scuttleblog.

Mixing America's Cup boats and Vanguard 15s along the cityfront.

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