America's Cup Park Pier 27/29, San Francisco
The 2013 America’s Cup opened amid great fanfare and celebration on Independence Day, with an Opening Ceremony produced by e2k 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 4th of July holiday weekend.
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 honor and privilege to be the mayor of the host city for the America’s Cup.”
“I’d like to extend a big thank you to San Francisco for making all of this possible,” said America’s Cup Event Authority CEO Stephen Barclay. “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 U.S. 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 choir Voices of Sweden.
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 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 park officially opened shortly after noon with a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at the entrance to the America’s Cup Park. The dignitaries who spoke at the ribbon-cutting were David Chiu, San Francisco Board of Supervisors President, Monique Moyer, Executive Director of the Port of San Francisco, Valérie Chapoulaud, the CEO of Louis Vuitton Americas, and Stephen Barclay
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 of the most fiercely competitive and sought after trophies in all of sport, the America’s Cup was first raced in 1851, 45 years before the modern Olympics. The U.S. yacht America won, giving the international sailing competition its name.
The Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series (July-August 2013), leading to the America’s Cup Finals (September 2013), will be held for the first time in San Francisco Bay, a natural sailing arena, in AC72 wing sail catamarans. The America’s Cup Finals will match the winner of the Louis Vuitton Cup against the defender, ORACLE TEAM USA, beginning September 7.