Let the games begin
2013 America’s Cup technically got underway in San Francisco today with the Opening Ceremony held on the main stage at the America’s Cup Pavilion.
With the sailors of the four teams contesting the 2013 America’s Cup - Oracle Team USA, Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Artemis Racing - standing behind her, Lucy M. Jewett, recently elected to the America’s Cup Hall of Fame, brought the opening ceremony to a close by saying: “Let the racing begin.”
With those words paper streamers were shot from air guns, a flock of doves was released and Beethoven’s Ode to Joy rang out over the full house crowd that took in the Opening Ceremony, a fraction of the 30,000 visitors who toured the Park on a sun-splashed Independence Day holiday in the United States.
For the first time since 1995, the America’s Cup is being hosted in the U.S.
“Welcome to San Francisco,” said Mayor Edwin M. Lee. “It’s an honour and privilege to be the mayor of the host city for the America’s Cup.”
America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay added: “I’d like to extend a big thank you to San Francisco for making all of this possible. This won’t be remembered as the 2013 America’s Cup or the 34th America’s Cup, but the San Francisco America’s Cup.”
The Opening Ceremony featured cultural performances from the four competing nations. The US was represented by the Recycle Percussion troupe, New Zealand by the Maori performing arts group Te Waka Huia, Italy by the tenor Pasquale Esposito and Sweden by the Voices of Sweden Choir.
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, who sang the National Anthem. Representatives from the US 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 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.
When the gates opened a few thousand people flooded into the park. As the crowd increased into the tens of thousands throughout the afternoon, the fans took in many of the exhibits and fan friendly lounge areas and concessions.
One visiting family was the Browns from Destin, FL, who changed their typical summer vacation plans to visit San Francisco for the month of July. “We’re very impressed with the venue,” said Alex Brown. “My husband Jerry is very excited about the America’s Cup.”
Husband Jerry added: “We’re looking forward to getting out on the water and watching the racing.”
Tomorrow the America’s Cup action takes to the water with a fleet parade scheduled to begin at 1100 PT (1700 UTC). The parade of some 45 boats is expected to include the AC72s. The parade will pass along the city front to the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green.
At 1215 pm PT (1815 UTC) Emirates Team New Zealand, Luna Rossa Challenge and Oracle Team USA are scheduled to participate in the AC72 Time Trials, which will be held over the five-leg America’s Cup course. The starts will be staggered by 10 minutes off the America’s Cup Village and finish off the America’s Cup Park with many viewing opportunities along the shoreline.