The big problem with the 49er and skiff circuit was the same as when they brought the Red Bull Air Races to the Bay – Most of the action took far away from the viewers and it was cold and miserable to sit four hours in the stands as SF’s notorious fog and wind blew by. Far easier to get a hundred thousand people to swill beer in Talladega. And those folks will be buying STP, SUNCO gas and what not the next week. What will us sailors be buying? New sails? Hardly. Heck, nobody here wants to pay list price for West Marine so how are they going to afford a million bucks to sponsor an event?
Back when Larry and Roberto were still friends they did a series of match races ostensibly to scout out potential AC venues. They got Moet to sponsor and set up bleachers on Marina Green, hospitality tents at StFYC and had luminaries like Paul Cayuard give running commentary over the PA system. Was a lot of fun, but again, most of the action took place far away and they had a constant problem in keeping the race course clear of spectator boats. Needless to say, San Francisco, one of the best sailing venues on the planet, was taken off the AC venue list.
I like sailing as a niche sport. I’d rather share the water with a relatively few, skilled sailors than have to deal with a whole lot of yahoos whose only connection to sailing is watching it on TV and thinking how difficult can that be?