International sailing competition comes to San Francisco this weekend

An exciting weekend is expected in San Francisco. There is an international sailing competition that is bringing visitors from many countries.

People started arriving two weeks ago. Organizers said they expect 12,000 people over the weekend.

Travel industry experts said every dollar spent will help with the economic recovery from COVID.

There were practice runs Friday for the Mubadala United States Sail GP.

This was the second time the event is being held in the city.

"San Francisco is simply the best place on earth for this type of racing because it's so scenic. There's a lot of space on the bay, very good wind, very good currents," sai[ Julien di Biase, Sail GP Chief Operations Officer.

The races are described as short, fast and exciting.

"It looks like they're having a lot of fun out there.  I'm impressed with some speed and maneuvers they're pulling out," said Terry Armdinger, a spectator.

The catamarans can go up to 60 miles per hour.

There are eight teams including the United States, Australia and Japan.

Organizers said the three are the likely finalists to compete Sunday for the $1 million grand prize

The prediction is based on their record after a series of races in different countries during the past year.

"It's really a unique thing to have happen right here," said Karen Lattanzi who has family members competing.

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"We have a race village for the public where families and fans can have a great day out.

We have a stage with entertainment all day long," said di Biase.

There is free access to the race village located next to the St. Francis Yacht Club along with freestanding room viewing near Crissy Field. 

Grand stand seats along the waterfront are sold out.  

Organizers estimate that the event brings up to $15 million to the San Francisco Bay Area.

14-year-old Myima Canty will be racing and performing with a vessel during what she describes as the half-time show Saturday.

She and her sailing partner Brock Pola, also 14, are members of the Sailing GP Inspire Program which educates young people about the sport.

"I hope it's going to be windy. I guess I'm excited. I'm nervous," said Myima.

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Brock said what he loves about sailing is "Being on the water. Feeling one with nature.

The race village opens at Noon and the races are scheduled for 2 p.m.

The championship race will be held Sunday at 3 p.m.

The event is set to return next spring.

Amber Lee is a reporter with KTVU. Email Amber at or text/leave message at 510-599-3922. Follow her on Facebook @AmberKTVU or Twitter @AmberKTVU