Now there’s a new way to experience the waterfront: aboard the International America’s Cup class yacht USA 76. The 85-footer is one of only four ex-America’s Cup yachts in the U.S. that are available to the general public for sailing. And what a sail!
Last week we had an exhilarating sail across the San Francisco waterfront and under the Golden Gate Bridge, with the wind at our back and sea spray over the bow. USA 76 was previously owned and raced by ORACLE Racing in their challenge for the 2003 America’s Cup in Aukland, New Zealand. (She lost to Alinghi, the America’s Cup winner that year, but won the Moet Cup rematch held on San Francisco Bay later in 2003). Our knowledgeable host Brad Webb participated in six America’s Cup campaigns over the course of 17 years.
Now USA 76 is in San Francisco to celebrate the upcoming America’s Cup races. The owners have added lifelines and decreased the size of the main, but other than that, the experience you get aboard USA 76 provides America’s Cup-sized excitement. (The yacht has 2,000 square feet of sail; by comparison, the average American house is 2,300 square feet.)
USA 76 is currently Coast Guard certified for six passengers at a time and operates out of KKMI in Point Richmond. They expect to receive certification for up to 20 passengers in June, and will be operating from Pier 39 beginning in late July. The price for this America’s Cup thrill is $129 for adults and $69 for children, or $349 for a family of four. America’s Cup winner Brad Webb is often available to join guests.
Photos by Laurie McAndish King and Jim Shubin