Gorgeous Action Shots Of The America's Cup Races In San Francisco

America's Cup World Series 2012

Photo: Owen Thomas, Business Insider

This week in San Francisco, the waterfront’s been transformed into a race course for the sailing world’s elite athletes.The America’s Cup, a sailing competition where teams compete for the sporting world’s oldest trophy, takes place here next year. But the first of two preliminary contests, the America’s Cup World Series, has come to San Francisco. It’s the first America’s Cup-related event to take place in the contest’s host city.

This is a big deal for the tech world, too, since events are taking place along the waterfront near the city’s startup-packed warehouse districts. And Oracle, the software giant, has a big role in the event. Its CEO, Larry Ellison, spends his own money on Team USA, but his company gets to plaster its name everywhere.

We got an invitation from Oracle to watch the second day of races aboard the America, a replica of the craft which won the original trophy at a yacht race which coincided with the 1851 World Fair in London.

The sport is hard to follow for sailing novices like us. But it was still an incredible experience.

The day started at Pier 80, the base of operations for Team USA.

Here's the vessel that won the 33rd America's Cup in 2010.

This part of San Francisco's waterfront is a rough industrial neighbourhood.

The team's base is top secret, so we didn't get to take photos. But we saw a new trimaran that's due to set sail in two weeks.

Here's the America. It's a replica of the original yacht that won the first America's Cup. The trophy is named after the vessel.

The crew of the America.

Some of the piers between the ballpark and downtown have been turned into hospitality tents for the America's Cup.

America's Cup vehicles all had special flags indicating their function.

We passed under the Bay Bridge on our way to the racing course.

Here's Oracle spokesperson Deborah Heilinger. This is a nice change from her usual corporate duties, like explaining big lawsuits.

There's a lot of work left to be done, but these piers will be a big base for the America's Cup next year.

Oracle chief marketing officer Judy Sim takes in a briefing on the race.

Tom Ehman, vice commodore of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, the local host club, interviews Oracle Team USA's design team coordinator, Ian Burns.

Oracle's Letty Ledbetter poses with Team Usa's Shannon Falcone and Murray Jones.

Louis Vuitton sponsors the timing, as well as another run-up series to the actual America's Cup contest.

Our first sighting of a racing yacht! That's Emirates Team New Zealand.

The yachts are stationed off Marina Green, a waterfront park which serves as the main public viewing area.

Two crafts belonging to Artemis, the Swedish team.Both raced.

Luna Rossa—the one with the huge Prada logo—beat Artemis, a Swedish team.

Team Korea and J.P. Morgan.

Ben Ainslie, an Olympic sailor, ran the J.P. Morgan crew.

The course runs in front of Telegraph Hill. That's a local landmark, Coit Tower, on top of the hill.

Luna Rossa and Artemis.

An America's Cup patrol vessel.

Team China and Artemis.

J.P. Morgan picks up some speed.

Team Korea cruised by our yacht for a closeup.

Off they go for their race.

Team China.

Luna Rossa and Team China race.

The yachts race two at a time. But sometimes two races get in phase ...

... leading to an incredible shot ...

... where four vessels line up.

Despite the cold, blustery August weather—typical for San Francisco—the Golden Gate was filled with onlookers.

Sun peeked through the fog and lit up the Bay.

Here's an unexpected visitor: One of San Francisco's famous sea lions. Their home at Pier 39 is just a mile away.

The finish line was near this spit of land, home of the Wave Organ, a monument which produces sound as waves wash in through tubes.

The America's Cup is a part of modern San Francisco ...

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