Designing an America's Cup racing yacht has always been shrouded in a culture of secrecy — which made it all the more surprising Tuesday when Oracle Racing drew back the curtain on the 72-foot catamaran Larry Ellison is building for the world's most famous boat race.
Reporters and just a handful of photographers were ushered past razor-wire fences, "No Trespassing" signs and "Top Secret" banners to get a glimpse of the carbon-fiber hulls taking shape in a warehouse at the end of Pier 80.
The whole unveiling made lead boat designer Dirk Kramers, who consented to the media event, very uncomfortable. It felt like — well, as Kramers put it — "dropping your pants."
In related news, the race course area for the 34th America's Cup in San Francisco was revealed. Stretching across the city shoreline from Piers 27/29 out to near the Golden Gate Bridge, the course will bring the action closer to shore than ever before in the 160 year history of the Cup.
Tucked between Alcatraz and the city shoreline, the race course offers up-close viewing from any number of locations along the city front, with the Marina Green and Crissy Field among the prime locations. The exact location of the race course area will change slightly on any given day depending on weather conditions.