wave.jpgThe San Francisco Board of Supervisors today unanimously approved the agreement to host the America’s Cup sailing race after plans for the regatta were drastically scaled back last month.

The board voted 11-0 in favor of the event, which includes races starting this August and culminates in the America’s Cup Finals in 2013.

San Francisco was named the host city for the race in December 2010 by Oracle CEO Larry Ellison, whose team won the previous America’s Cup that year, giving him the right to choose the location of the next contest.

The city had signed an initial agreement with race organizers, who agreed to rebuild various pieces of waterfront property in exchange for long-term development rights.

That plan fell through in late February as supervisors were set to vote on it, and a new agreement was developed in recent weeks.

The new agreement outlined today by Mike Martin, the America’s Cup project director for the city’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, focuses solely on the race.

“The long-term development pieces fell away, now we’re focused on the event,” Martin said to the board.

Development rights for Piers 26, 28 and Seawall Lot 330 have been removed from the plan, while the Port of San Francisco has agreed to fund temporary improvements to Piers 30-32 that would allow for team bases there, Martin said.

The port is spending around $22 million on improvements for the event, which includes a racing village at Piers 27-29, according to city officials.

More than two dozen people came to speak during the public comment period of the Board of Supervisors’ hearing on the agreement today, with the overwhelming majority of them expressing support for it.

Board president David Chiu said although “we did have some difficult discussions … this is a solid set of agreements.”

Mayor Ed Lee released a statement commending the board following its approval of the agreement, which he said “will bring new jobs, international visitor spending and long-overdue waterfront improvements to our city.”

Stephen Barclay, interim CEO of the America’s Cup, said in a statement, “We have worked very hard to bring this historic race to San Francisco and we’re very happy to have finally reached an agreement.”

America’s Cup World Series races will begin from Aug. 21-26 in San Francisco and continue from Oct. 4-7. The America’s Cup Finals will take place from Sept. 7-22, 2013.

Dan McMenamin, Bay City News

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