Chicago to host America's Cup qualifying races next summer

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago has been selected to host the qualifying races for the 2017 America's Cup on Lake Michigan next summer.

Some of the world's top sailors will compete in the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago from June 10-12, 2016, officials announced Tuesday.

It is the first time in the 164-year history that America's Cup racing will be on fresh water.

"It's going to be a new experience. I'd say that, I think they're going to be surprised at how good this venue is," said Sir Russell Coutts, who has won the America's Cup five times.

Regardless of the weather and the wind conditions, Sir Coutts said the races should be exciting. The America's Cup boats are 42-foot catamarans and the races are quick - about 22 minutes - and easy to follow.

Navy Pier will serve as the event headquarters, and will include a ticketed viewing area, entertainment and VIP hospitality areas for spectators, officials said.

"The boats are going to be coming right by the sea wall," said sailor Matt Cassidy. "You can't get any closer to the action without being on the boat."

Cassidy lived in Chicago until last year. He already knows what city leaders hope to share with the sailing world: Chicago's lakefront, with the skyline looming over it, is a great location for sailing.

"I don't think there are many other cities that can match just the natural beauty that we have, and then on top of that, to have this incredible race so close is just going to be spectacular," said Desiree Rogers, Choose Chicago.

The 2017 America's World Cup finals will be held in Bermuda. For more information about the event, visit:
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