America's Cup Brings New Life to Sailing in New York

With a slew of sailing events coming to New York City in the coming months and a brand new sailing center opening, sailing is getting new life in The Big Apple.

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The America's Cup boats speed by under the city's iconic skyline during racing at the World Series event.Sam Greenfield

New York City has 520 miles of shoreline, yet it has traditionally fallen behind the arguably superior U.S. sailing cities on the water, including Boston, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco and San Diego. That may be changing.

New and ongoing waterfront projects, improved water access, better water quality and a sharp increase in high-profile events have sailing poised for a robust return to New York City.

America’s Cup racing returned Saturday and continues Sunday with the America’s Cup World Series, in which teams from six nations compete on foiling catamarans in the biggest sailing event on the Hudson River in nearly a century.

The six teams will race off lower Manhattan for points that go toward the America’s Cup final in Bermuda in 2017. U.S. Team Oracle is defending its 2013 America’s Cup win against challengers from Sweden, New Zealand, France, Japan and a British team led by Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie.

As part of the America’s Cup, the Endeavour Programme will teach area students sailing basics on catamarans, with boats resembling the city’s old yellow checker cabs.

Shortly after the America’s Cup, boats from the Transat, the oldest solo transatlantic race in the world, which began in Plymouth, England, on Monday, will start arriving in Brooklyn.

The finish will coincide with the formal opening of New York Harbor’s first new marina in 20 years, ONE°15 Brooklyn Marina , a sailing-oriented facility that offers a club and school to grow the sport and a community outreach program to make it more accessible to kids and new sailors.

Sailing, it seems, has gripped New York.