The Windy City apparently isn't windy enough.
That's what the America's Cup Event Authority told Chicago officials Tuesday as its bid to host the world-class sailing race in 2017 was rejected.
Instead, San Diego and Bermuda are on the short list to have the race, organizers announced.
Cup officials met with the Chicago Match Race Center - which backed the bid - twice to scout Lake Michigan for a potential course. The city was named one of three finalists for the event in early June. The prospect of bringing America's Cup to Chicago intrigued organizers, but one concern was whether the wind would hold up over the three weeks of the race.
"When we started this process it was my first concern," Tod Reynolds, director of Chicago Match Race Center said. "We thought we could schedule around it, or be a little more creative around it. They didn't feel confident they could get the races started every day. It's tough."
One proposed course in Chicago would have seen racers sail between Navy Pier and the Adler Planetarium, providing optimal exposure for fans along the shoreline, which, along with a time difference that favored prime-time viewing in Europe, attracted race organizers to the location.
Now it appears likely that Chicago will host an America's Cup World Series race in 2015 and 2016, giving the city a chance to prove it's capable of conducting a major sailing event.
"That's originally what we thought would be best for Chicago," Reynolds said. "Our downtown waterfront is perfectly suited for it."
The World Series races take place over three days, use smaller boats and provide more room to alter the course to fit wind conditions, making Chicago a useful proving ground for larger events.
Unfortunately, any chance of hosting the America's Cup after 2017 depends on who wins the event. If a European challenger emerges victorious, it would be responsible for organizing the next race. Oracle Team USA and Golden Gate Yacht Club are two-time defending champions, and bear responsibility for arranging the current event.
The America's Cup never has been on a lake, but according to the organizing rules of the event, the race can be on any arm of the sea, including Lake Michigan.
First the city will have to prove it's windy enough at the World Series.
"You hopefully exceed expectations of the whole sailing community," Reynolds said.