First time for everything
No one can say for sure how many people the America's Cup World Series on Aug. 21-26 will bring to the Bay Area (another regatta is scheduled for Oct. 4-7, the same time as Fleet Week). The regattas, a combination of practice and championship racing in preparation for the actual America's Cup competition in San Francisco in 2013, have never been held here before. But organizers say the fact that this will be the first time America's Cup sailors compete in an open amphitheater, with good viewing vantage points, means the event is bound to draw plenty of spectators.
"It's anyone's best guess how many people the event will attract," said Kyri McClellan, CEO of the America's Cup organizing committee. "But my estimate is tens of thousands, principally from the greater Bay Area."
Last month, 250,000 people attended the racing exhibition held in Naples, Italy, McClellan said. And hotels along the water are filling up.
"There's so much going on that it's difficult to say what people are coming for," said Judy Cronkhite, director of sales and marketing of the Hyatt Regency at San Francisco's Embarcadero, which has a bird's-eye view of the races. "But we're definitely seeing an increase in reservations."