After months of waiting, wondering and lots of speculation, the 2013 America’s Cup finally opened yesterday on July 4th with the grand Opening Ceremony on the main stage at the America’s Cup Pavilion.
Sailors of the four teams contesting the 2013 America’s Cup—ORACLE TEAM USA, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing were introduced to cheering crowds from their home nations and just about everywhere else.
The 34th America’s Cup is being hosted in the U.S. for the first time since 1995 and will most likely be known from now on as the “San Francisco America’s Cup.” At least according to S.F. Mayor, Ed M. Lee.
The Opening Ceremony featured cultural performances from the four competing nations, including the native New Zealand Maori performing arts group Te Waka Huia, by the tenor Pasquale Esposito from Italy, and Sweden’s Voices of Sweden Choir. The Recycle Percussion troupe performed a rousing rendition of The National Anthem on behalf of the U.S..
Additional performances were from Misa Malone, from the cast of Beach Blanket Babylon, who sang “San Francisco,” and Nayah Damasen, an 8-year-old from San Jose, Calif., who sang the National Anthem. Representatives from the U.S. Coast Guard Color Guard and the United States Naval Sea Cadet Corps ushered in the American flag and the flags of Italy, New Zealand and Sweden.
The ceremony included a poignant tribute to Artemis racing team member Andrew “Bart” Simpson, who was killed in an accident when their AC72 flipped over during practice.
The park officially opened shortly after noon time with San Francisco Board of Supervisors President David Chiu, Monique Moyer, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, Valérie Chapoulaud, the CEO of Louis Vuitton Americas, Charlotte Schultz, the Chief of Protocol for the city and county of San Francisco, and the ACEA’s Barclay, participating in a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the entrance to the America’s Cup Park.
The AC72 Time Trials that were scheduled for today have been canceled due to strong winds this morning.
“At 9:00am the wind is over 20 knots on the race course area and the forecast is for it to increase as the day goes on,” said Principal Race Officer John Craig. “The right decision is to keep the AC72s out of the parade and time trials today to keep everyone in good shape for the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America’s Cup Challenger Series, on Sunday.”
The boat parade will continue as scheduled, including the replica of the yacht America, but there will no AC72s participating.
On race day afternoons throughout the Summer of Racing, the America’s Cup Pavilion stage will showcase local performing artists free to the public. The Opening Weekend features five local bands with the first of these performances on Friday, July 5, from 3:00 pm to 5:30 pm PT.
The headliner act is New Diplomat, an American Alternative – Electronic Rock band. Featuring members from around the world, the band formed in 2010 and has since gathered a significant following, blending a combination of alt rock, indie pop and electronic music.
The opening act is The Five Hundreds, a San Francisco-based classic rock band that plays a mix of well-crafted original songs and high-energy rock and roll covers.
For the complete program and race schedule, visit americascup.com.