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Posted: 10:21 p.m. Friday, Sept. 13, 2013
SAN FRANCISCO —
The America's Cup races on San Francisco Bay could be over as soon as this weekend if Oracle Team USA doesn't find a way to cross the finish line ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand several times.
All the Kiwis need to take home the cup is three more wins.
But after three years of anticipation and a host of problems, some Bay Area people are asking: were the races were boon or bust?
Even harsher, some insist San Francisco was the real loser.
The city put up about $20 million to host the race.
An America's Cup coordinator for San Francisco said a non-profit has raised about $16 million. She's hoping they'll be able to close the gap.
The racing action is drawing some locals and tourists to the San Francisco shoreline.
"We came down to see the America's Cup races. The technology fantastic; very intriguing," said Patrick Marraro, who was visiting from Seattle.
At the Village on Marina Green, you can get close enough to touch the technology.
"We timed it because it was the weekend that worked out for our schedules. Coincidentally, it might be over soon," said Marraro.
"I think if they would have had more challengers in 72 this thing would have really taken off," said Steve Duncan, another Seattle visitor.
The race has been marred by one death. Then Team Oracle was penalized for cheating. Plus few teams are competing in the new AC 72 class because it's so expensive.
At times, it's been more of an exhibition than a race.
"I think it's a total bust for the city," said San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos. He said this America's Cup is not living up to what the city was promised.
"Instead of having a regatta of 15 sailboats we expected to have, we have 3 billionaires in a tub," commented Avalos.
Avalos noted the race has helped fast track improvements like the new cruise terminal. However, some businesses haven't seen a wake of tourists behind those high-tech boats.
"Certainly a small bump, not to the level anticipated years ago," said Tom Stinson, owner of Sinbad's Restaurant.
Stinson said he's enjoyed seeing the boats go by his bay front restaurant windows. Business bump or not, he still thinks this is a once in a lifetime experience for San Francisco.
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