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Commentary: America's Cup faces big task

“This week's America's Cup World Series on the San Francisco Bay — followed by next summer's actual America's Cup — is the most extreme and precarious sports experiment on water. Ever,” writes Mark Purdy, a columnist for the Mercury News.

"I really believe this is a turning point," said Bruno Troublé, a former America's Cup skipper and now an impresario/spokesman for Louis Vuitton, a major sailing sponsor. "There are a lot of big changes."

The biggest change: For once, sailing is trying to expand its narrow bandwidth of followers into more of a broadband audience.

Or to put the mission more simply: By bringing the world's fastest boats to San Francisco Bay and promoting the America's Cup as a great spectator and television viewing experience, the sport's establishment aims to convince football and baseball fans to also go spinnaker crazy.

Click here for Purdy’s full opinion column.

Click here for evidence of the pitfalls of racing the fragile racehorse sailboats in windy San Francisco Bay with a slideshow of mishaps from the San Francisco Chronicle.