From John King with respect to the proposed America’s Cup berthing facilities for mega motor yachts between Piers 14 and 22½:
Known officially as Rincon Point Open Water Basin, the quarter-mile stretch of bay between piers 14 and 22.5 was created in the 1980s by removing decrepit finger piers no longer needed by the port. Rincon Park followed with a grassy hillock crowned by the controversial but eye-catching Cupid’s Span sculpture by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen.
In daytime, the broad views are wondrous. At night, there’s a hypnotic beauty, as anyone can testify who has paused after a Giants game to absorb the illuminated sweep of the Bay Bridge above rippling darkness.
The importance of the space is spelled out in the Bay Plan of the Bay Conservation and Development Commission, which describes basins as essential to “enhance the ecological health of the Bay and … provide new and substantial Bay views.” The importance of the open water along Rincon Park is reaffirmed in the draft environmental impact report for the America’s Cup that was released by the city last month – it is the only one of 18 race-related locations ranked “very high” in terms of visual quality and sensitivity.
The draft report also offers the only details released so far of the changes desired by the America’s Cup Event Authority, the operational and development arm of the regatta.
The proposal would add a 1,300-foot-long, 12-foot-wide floating dock to the “open water basin venue,” reached by gangplanks at either end. A diagram shows 26 vessels moored to the dock, none shorter than 100 feet and 10 with hulls extending 265 feet from stem to stern.
King’s big concern, whether the temporary berths could become permanent view-blocking fixtures as “long-term development rights in the Rincon basin are triggered if the temporary berths require dredging” according to the development agreement.