27/05/2017 - Bermuda (BDA) - 35th America's Cup 2017 - Louis Vuitton America's Cup Qualifiers, Day 1,Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget

27/05/2017 – Bermuda (BDA) – 35th America’s Cup 2017 – Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers, Day 1, Photo © Gilles Martin-Raget

 

– ORACLE TEAM USA win two from two

– Land Rover BAR collide with SoftBank Team Japan

– Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan win one and lose one race each

– Groupama Team France only team not to register a day one race win

– ORACLE TEAM USA and Land Rover BAR are joint top of Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers leaderboard after day one

Sir Ben Ainslie was forced to explain a highly dramatic collision in the first day of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers on Bermuda’s Great Sound.

Having already seen some thrilling and action-packed racing in the first five of the six races that were run on day one, particularly from ORACLE TEAM USA who claimed back-to-back wins, the drama really unfolded in the final race of the day between Land Rover BAR and SoftBank Team Japan.

In what proved the biggest flashpoint of the afternoon, both teams were looking for the advantage going into the start box, before the two boats collided at speed, resulting in a penalty being given to Sir Ben Ainslie and the British team. Damage was sustained to both boats, with the Olympic legend’s boat taking on water after the incident.

In scenes similar to the final week of practice racing, in which Land Rover BAR hit Emirates Team New Zealand, Ainslie again found himself having to defend his actions when questioned after racing.

“To be honest, to me it appeared six of one and half a dozen of the other,” said the Land Rover Bar helmsman, whose team suffered defeat in their second race of the day having enjoyed a morale-boosting win over Artemis Racing earlier in the day in race four.

“The collision was obviously unfortunate but these things happen when you are racing these boats.

“You don’t go out there intending to cause damage and so on that front it is was unfortunate to see both boats with damage.

“Unfortunately I’m not a boat builder so I’m not sure about the extent of the damage just yet, but no doubt both shore teams will be working incredibly hard to make sure we are both ready for tomorrow.

“However, for me it was fantastic just to see us competing and up to speed with all of the others. I believe we have silenced a lot of our doubters and I am just incredibly proud of all of our team.”

Meanwhile, SoftBank Team Japan helmsman Dean Barker, whose team suffered defeat to Artemis Racing in their first race of the day, bounced back with victory in race six and was relieved that none of his team had sustained any injuries in the collision with Land Rover BAR.

“We were incredibly lucky that there were no injuries sustained by the guys,” said the New Zealand native. “Maybe they were still in a bit of shock when we started racing but the way they regrouped and got back into things was fantastic.

“Ben has apologised. Clearly it was their mistake because they caused it but it doesn’t stop the guys in the shore team having to have a big workload tonight to put things right.

“You know what is about to happen. You can see it coming in slow motion but there is nothing you can do to stop it.

“What would have been worse is if their boat came a little bit higher over our hull, that would have been really dangerous.

“Fortunately we were able to carry on with the race and limp our way home. The guys did brilliantly to regroup in reply to what happened and get on with the race.

“The first race against Artemis Racing was disappointing. We had good pace and obviously tried hard to keep ahead but ultimately we couldn’t.

“However, what was pleasing was how we bounced back and got that victory in the final race.”

Meanwhile, it proved a highly positive day for the Defenders of the ‘Auld Mug’, ORACLE TEAM USA, who comfortably beat Groupama Team France in the opening race of the afternoon, before coming from behind to overcome Emirates Team New Zealand in what proved the highlight race of the day.

However, despite seeing ORACLE TEAM USA sit joint top of the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup Qualifiers standings with three points, alongside Land Rover BAR, skipper Jimmy Spithill was left far from content as he refused to rest on his laurels ahead of day two tomorrow.

“The lads aren’t happy tonight. We can definitely sharpen up a lot ahead of tomorrow,” said the two-time America’s Cup winner.

“Of course it is good to end the first day with two wins from two races but we have got to sharpen up on what we do out there.

“Consistency is the key in a competition like this and so there is a lot for us to improve on.

“However, as I said, it is pleasing that we managed to finish this first day of competition and come away with two race wins.”

Another helmsman who was left with mixed feelings was Artemis Racing’s Nathan Outteridge, having seen his side claim a victory against SoftBank Team Japan, before somewhat surprisingly losing out to Land Rover BAR in race 4.

“It proved a very tiring first day of racing,” said Outteridge.

“Our first race we started slowly but you could see how hard we pushed to get back into the race and when the opportunity came, we took full advantage.

“The second race against Land Rover BAR, we just didn’t get any opportunity to pass them. It was disappointing to lose the race but we will look at ourselves and see what we can do to improve.

“However to get that first win on the board is really important. We had some strong performances in practice racing and so it was great to be able to bring that forward to today and get a first point banked.

“It was also pleasing to win in in the manner in which we did. We kept chipping away, put pressure on SoftBank Team Japan, and then, to get something, that feeling was really good.”

Emirates Team New Zealand helmsman Peter Burling was left satisfied with his team’s showing on the first day, having also taken one win from the day, overcoming Groupama Team France, before losing out to ORACLE TEAM USA in their second race of the day.

“It is really great for us to have got a win on the board,” said the youngest helmsman competing.

“Having taken that win, we always knew it was going to be tough taking on ORACLE TEAM USA. We put up a strong challenge and matched them throughout the race but they just edged us in the end.

“Having lost it late on was a little frustrating but I’m really happy with our first day on the water.

“We’re now excited to get back into action tomorrow and no doubt we’ll be racing hard again.”

Meanwhile, it proved a difficult day for Groupama Team France, who suffered defeats in both their encounters, losing to both ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.

However, having faced two of the highly-fancied teams on the first day, helmsman Franck Cammas is remaining hopeful of an improved showing from the French team in the days to come.

“Today to have our first two matches against teams like ORACLE TEAM USA and Emirates Team New Zealand was a hard way to start the America’s Cup,” said Cammas.

“We knew those teams were among the best teams but we wanted to be closer to them than we were in the end.

“We have to work hard and try and understand why we weren’t fast today. We also need some big improvements in the maneuvers and so there is a lot to work on for us.

“We will try for sure to improve as quickly as possible. Every day is different and so we will see what tomorrow brings.”

Race results

Race 1: ORACLE TEAM USA beat Groupama Team France
Race 2: Artemis Racing beat SoftBank Team Japan
Race 3: Emirates Team New Zealand beat Groupama Team France
Race 4: Land Rover BAR beat Artemis Racing
Race 5: ORACLE TEAM USA beat Emirates Team New Zealand
Race 6: SoftBank Team Japan beat Land Rover BAR

 

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo © George Bekris)

 

In a thrilling winner-take-all final race, Emirates Team New Zealand unhooked itself from a starting buoy to win the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York with the high score of 52 points.

Another large crowd, estimated at 100,000, turned out on a sunny day and was treated to some very unpredictable racing. This after over 75,000 came out on Saturday.

Watch a recap here

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

No lead was ever safe on Sunday as the wind shifted through wide arcs from the west to the north and ranged anywhere from 5 to 20 knots.

“It was one of those series where everyone had good luck and bad luck, but we got our good luck at the end of the regatta,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Glenn Ashby. “It was exciting and crazy at the same time. Today it was important to keep your cool and stay focused.”

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

The Kiwi crew, led by Ashby and World Sailor of the year and Red Bull Youth America’s Cup champion helmsman Peter Burling, was literally dead in the water at the start of Race 3. Crewman Blair Tuke had to jump in the water to unhook the starting buoy’s anchor line from the catamaran’s rudder. Making matters worse, the port hull was punctured by the buoy and water was leaking into the hull throughout the race.

“We saw the buoy coming at us with about 20 seconds to go,” said Ashby. “It wasn’t ideal but we were lucky in the end.”

 

The Kiwi crew’s luck came full circle on the next-to-last leg. They rounded the last windward mark in fifth place, about 42 seconds behind leading SoftBank Team Japan. But as all the crews began the downwind leg they sailed into a patch of no wind that engulfed the course.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

As the leg was perpendicular to the southerly flowing current, some of the crews were being swept over the course boundary. Land Rover BAR, Groupama Team France and SoftBank Team Japan all were penalized for crossing the boundary in the current.

The Kiwis, further behind, held in the middle of the course and when the wind filled in the Kiwis took off on their hydrofoils at 16 to 20 knots boatspeed, leaving the rest of the fleet gasping in disbelief.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

At one point during the final race ORACLE TEAM USA looked to be in position to win. Skipper Jimmy Spithill and crew won the start and led around the first two mark roundings. But Dean Barker’s SoftBank Team Japan grabbed the lead by working the right side of the course while ORACLE TEAM USA struggled on the right side. In the end the reigning America’s Cup champion placed second in the race and second for the series.

“The crowd was insane,” said Spithill. “Today was great for the fans. In these conditions you have to roll with the punches and keep fighting. We wanted to win but we’ll take the second place. The Kiwis got a Hail Mary there at the end, but you have to take your hat off to them and congratulate them.”

Third went to Franck Cammas’ Groupama Team France, winner of Race 2. SoftBank Team Japan placed fourth, Land Rover BAR fifth and Artemis Racing sixth.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Illustrating just how challenging the day was on the short, confined racecourse, Nathan Outteridge’s crew won the first race going away but was then sixth in Races 2 and 3.

“We got a little bit of luck in the first race and managed to hold on, but we had some terrible moments in the last two races…” said Outteridge. “You can’t get people to come watch sailing if you don’t bring it to them. That’s what we’ve done here. When the America’s Cup is in Bermuda next year, in super high-tech boats, we’ll get some amazing racing.”

The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series now moves onto Chicago, June 10-12. After that it heads to Europe for events in the U.K. in July and France in September.

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series New York Final Standings

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 52 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 50 points
3. Groupama Team France – 44 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 42 points
5. Land Rover BAR – 42 points
6. Artemis Racing – 40 points

 

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Overall Standings
(After six events)

1. Emirates Team New Zealand – 244 points
2. ORACLE TEAM USA – 236 points
3. Land Rover BAR – 227 points
4. SoftBank Team Japan – 203 points
5. Artemis Racing – 201 points
6. Groupama Team France – 194 points

 

Photo © George Bekris

Photo © George Bekris

 

ORACLE TEAM USA wins 34th America's Cup

ORACLE TEAM USA won the 34th America’s Cup in a winner-take-all 19th race, defeating challenger Emirates Team New Zealand by 44 seconds in today’s clincher. Led by 35-year-old skipper Jimmy Spithill, ORACLE TEAM USA won by the score of 9-8.

This is the second America’s Cup win for ORACLE TEAM USA and Spithill, which won the 162-year-old trophy in Valencia, Spain, in February 2010. Then 30 years of age, Spithill became the youngest to ever skipper a Cup winning team.

In the past week ORACLE TEAM USA has steadily improved its boatspeed to the point where it could hydrofoil upwind at 30-32 knots, incredible performance never seen before in the America’s Cup.

“It was a fantastic race. We wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Spithill, the two-time Cup winner. “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. On your own you’re nothing, but a team like this can make you look great… We were facing the barrel of a gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch.

“Thanks to San Francisco, this is one hell of a day,” Spithill said.

ORACLE TEAM USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. The team won 11 races to score the 9 points required for victory due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Just last Wednesday, Sept. 18, ORACLE TEAM USA trailed the series 8-1. With the challenger on match point, the defender closed out the series with eight consecutive victories.

This was the third time in the history of the America’s Cup with a winner-take-all final race. Previously, the defender won in 1920 and the challenger won in 1983. Both times the winner rallied from a multi-race deficit, but never anything amounting to eight straight wins.

“This was a wonderful match of teams,” said Regatta Director Iain Murray, who’s been involved with the America’s Cup since 1983. “In the case of a boat coming from behind, 3-1 down as was the case with Australia II in 83, the shoe is on a different foot this time around. Then it was the challenger behind and this time it was the defender. But in the end we had great competition between two great teams, evenly matched, battling it out to the end.”

Emirates Team New Zealand (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

One million fans visited the official America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green since they opened on July 4, and hundreds of thousands more lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to catch a glimpse of the flying, foiling AC72.

Dean Barker, ETNZ Skipper (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

34th America’s Cup Standings (first to 9 points wins)

ORACLE TEAM USA – 9 (11 wins; ORACLE TEAM USA was penalized its first two victories by the International Jury)
Emirates Team New Zealand – 8

Race 19 Performance Data
Course: 5 Legs/10.07 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 23:24, ETNZ – 24:08
Delta: OTUSA +:44
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.9 NM, ETNZ – 12.2 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.55 knots (35 mph), ETNZ – 30.55 knots (35 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 44.33 knots (51 mph), ETNZ – 45.72 knots (53 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 18.2 knots, Peak – 21.3 knots
Number of Tacks/Jibes: OTUSA – 9/7, ETNZ – 9/7

34th America’s Cup Race by Race
Race 1 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :36
Race 2 (Sep. 7): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :52
Race 3 (Sep. 8): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :28
Race 4 (Sep. 8): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :08*
Race 5 (Sep. 10): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:05
Race 6 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :46
Race 7 (Sep. 12): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by 1:06
Race 8 (Sep. 14): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :52*
Race 9 (Sep. 15): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :47
Race 10 (Sep. 15): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :16
Race 11 (Sep. 18): Emirates Team New Zealand d. ORACLE TEAM USA by :15
Race 12 (Sep. 19): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :31
Race 13 (Sep. 20): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by 1:24
Race 14 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :23
Race 15 (Sep. 22): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :37
Race 16 (Sep. 23): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :33
Race 17 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :27
Race 18 (Sep. 24): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :54
Race 19 (Sep. 25): ORACLE TEAM USA d. Emirates Team New Zealand by :44
(* ORACLE TEAM USA’s first two victories don’t count towards is scoreline as part of a penalty issued by the International Jury.)

ORACLE TEAM USA (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

As the sun sets on San Francisco and another America’s Cup the defenders keep the cup and look forward to the 35th America’s Cup and the new generation of sailing.

Sunset in San Francisco (Photo by Miranda Hoang)

Final Match - Race Day 2 ( Photo © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET)

ORACLE TEAM USA notched their first win of the 34th America’s Cup in the fourth race of the regatta today in San Francisco. The crew crossed the line 8 seconds ahead of Emirates Team New Zealand in the second of two races on Sunday. New Zealand won Race 3 earlier in the day and hold the advantage in the series.

“It’s a real confidence boost for the boys,” said skipper Jimmy Spithill. “The boys really kept their composure. They bounced back after losing that first one – we should have won it – and it says a lot for the team.”

In Race 3, ORACLE TEAM USA took control and led around the first mark after Emirates Team New Zealand faced a penalty. The team carried the advantage on the downwind leg and around the second gate. In the midst of a tacking duel on the upwind leg, New Zealand claimed the lead and held on to finish 29 seconds ahead.

For Race 4, Spithill was in command at the start – both at the first mark and heading into the second gate when the bows dug into the water. ORACLE TEAM USA recovered and did not relinquish the lead, crossing the line 8 seconds in front.

“Honestly, I’m disappointed in the first race – we had a really good shot at winning that one. But, I’m happy with winning the second race today. I think it takes a little bit of the pressure off and it’s a big momentum boost for our team,” said tactician John Kostecki.

“We focused yesterday really on the tacking because our tacking was clearly not as good as theirs,” Kostecki continued. “It looks like we made some gains on that today. The gybes seem to be always getting better as well. So, we’re in pretty good shape to go out and attack on Tuesday.”

08/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA CA) - 34th America's Cup - (Photo © ACEA / PHOTO ABNER KINGMAN)

ORACLE TEAM USA reached a top speed today of 45.97 knots (53 mph) in Race 4 and averaged 30.99 knots (36 mph), both ahead of New Zealand.

Although ORACLE TEAM USA collected a win, Emirates Team New Zealand leads the series 3-0 in points due to a penalty imposed by the Jury. ORACLE TEAM USA will score its first point in its third victory.

“This team is very good under pressure and they will fight the whole way to the end,” Spithill said. “They will run themselves into the ground if that’s what it takes. It feels good to shift the momentum over to us. We’re going to work hard tonight and tomorrow and come out with the same attitude on Tuesday.”

Racing will resume on Tuesday, with the team using Monday as a training day on the water. Tuesday’s races begin at 1:15 pm PT and 2:15 pm PT – races No. 5 and 6 of the match.

In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC Sports Network. Internationally, the match can be viewed in more than 170 territories. Live racing and replays can also be viewed on the America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).

RACE 3 DATA
Course: 5 Legs/9.94 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 25:00, OTUSA – 25:28
Delta: ETNZ +:28
Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.8 NM, OTUSA – 12.1 NM
Average Speed: ETNZ – 28.57 knots (33 mph), OTUSA – 28.62 knots (33 mph)
Top Speed: ETNZ – 42.25 knots (49 mph), OTUSA – 41.37 knots (48 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 16.8 knots, Peak – 19.3 knots

RACE 4 DATA
Course: 5 Legs/9.94 nautical miles
Elapsed Time: OTUSA – 22:42, ETNZ – 22:50
Delta: OTUSA +:08
Total distance sailed: OTUSA – 11.7 NM, ETNZ – 11.7 NM
Average Speed: OTUSA – 30.99 knots (36 mph), ETNZ – 30.92 knots (36 mph)
Top Speed: OTUSA – 45.97 knots (53 mph), ETNZ – 44.98 knots (52 mph)
Windspeed: Average – 19.5 knots, Peak – 23.3 knots

STANDINGS
Emirates Team New Zealand – 3
ORACLE TEAM USA – 0

08/09/2013 - San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Final Match - Race Day 2 (Photo © ACEA / PHOTO GILLES MARTIN-RAGET)

 

San Francisco, Calif., 09/07/2013

San Francisco (USA,CA) - 34th America's Cup - Oracle vs ETNZ; Day 1 Racing

Emirates Team New Zealand has won the first race of the 2013 America’s Cup. But it wasn’t easy. The Kiwis led off the line and into the first mark. But ORACLE TEAM USA made a pass on the upwind leg, before the Emirates crew regained the lead for good on the second half of the beat.

Emirates Team New Zealand extended on the final run to win by 36-seconds.

“What we saw there was one hell of a yacht race,” said Emirates Team New Zealand skipper Dean Barker. “It’s nice to sneak away with a win.”

Race 1 Performance Data

  • Course: 5 Legs/9.71 nautical miles
  • Elapsed Time: ETNZ – 23:30, OTUSA – 24:06
  • Delta: ETNZ +:36
  • Total distance sailed: ETNZ – 11.7 NM, OTUSA – 11.4 NM
  • Average Speed: ETNZ – 30.07 knots (35 mph), OTUSA – 28.58 knots (33 mph)
  • Top Speed: ETNZ – 43.54 knots (50 mph), OTUSA – 42.51 knots (49 mph)
  • Windspeed: Average – 16 knots, Peak – 21 knots

The winner of the 34th America’s Cup will be the first to win 9 points. For the Kiwis that means nine race wins and for ORACLE TEAM USA it means 11, due to a penalty imposed by the International Jury. Racing is scheduled for Saturdays, Sundays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, with two races per day scheduled to start at 1:15 and 2:15 pm PT.

In the U.S., the America’s Cup Finals will be broadcast live on NBC and NBC Sports Network. Replays will be available on the America’s Cup YouTube channel. Racing on Saturday and Sunday will be broadcast live nationally on NBC, from 1:00 to 3:00 pm PT.

Internationally, the America’s Cup Final can be viewed in more than 170 territories. All racing is also live on America’s Cup YouTube channel (subject to territorial restrictions).

You can also follow racing with the America’s Cup App for android and iOS devices.

34th America's Cup - Oracle vs ETNZ; Day 1 Racing

ORACLE TEAM USA 2013

 

ORACLE TEAM USA unveiled its crew to race in the 34th America’s Cup today. With Jimmy Spithill at the helm, the 11-member crew will comprise the starting lineup when the team’s quest to defend the America’s Cup begins on San Francisco Bay this Saturday.

Spithill, the youngest winning skipper in America’s Cup history, takes the helm again, this time on the team’s AC72 catamaran. The crew also features grinder Shannon Falcone, grinder Rome Kirby, grinder/tactician John Kostecki, wing trimmer Kyle Langford, grinder Jonathan Macbeth, jib trimmer Joe Newton, grinder Gilberto Nobili, grinder/strategist Tom Slingsby, grinder Joe Spooner and grinder Simeon Tienpont.

“We’ve got a great mix across the board – from Rome and Kyle, the youngest on the team, to JK [Kostecki], who is one of the most experienced. It’s a great group, and these guys are all incredibly hard workers,” Spithill said. “We have our boats, we have our race crew, now we’re all really ready to race.”

The 34th America’s Cup commences on Saturday, Sept. 7, on the San Francisco Bay. Two races are scheduled with the first starting at 1:10 pm local, followed by race two at 2:10 pm local. Races will be broadcast in the U.S. on NBC for the first two days before reverting to the NBC Sports Network, with live coverage of all races.

“We’ve got a fantastic team all around – our shore crew, our support team – and everyone is working hard to get us ready every day,” Spithill said. “We’re all here to go racing, and come Saturday, that’s what we’ll do.”

 

THE CREW

Jimmy Spithill, Helmsman
Birthdate: June 28, 1979
Jimmy boxes with fast hands, serves a fast ball in tennis, needs horsepower under his right foot and, on a race boat, likes to “send it.” He is the America’s Cup’s youngest-ever winning skipper, and twice he’s been named the Australian Male Yachtsman of the Year. Going fast is what he does.

Shannon Falcone, Grinder
Birthdate: June 28, 1981
Shannon’s first footsteps as a child were on his father’s 44-footer Caccia alla Volpe. He went on to win several championships around the world including a 33rd America’s Cup.

Rome Kirby, Grinder
Birthdate: June 6, 1989
Rome is among the youngest members of ORACLE TEAM USA. He recently completed the around the world Volvo Ocean Race onboard with PUMA Ocean Racing, sailing more than 39,000 nautical miles.

John Kostecki, Grinder/Tactician
Birthdate: June 7, 1964
San Francisco native John Kostecki was the first sailor in the world to collect the sport’s “Grand Slam,” after winning the 33rd America’s Cup, adding to his round-the-world 2001-02 Volvo Ocean Race victory as skipper and Olympic silver medal at the 1988 Games.

Kyle Langford, Wing Trimmer
Birthdate: July 30, 1989
As the youngest sailor on ORACLE TEAM USA, Kyle is accepting the challenge full-on. He is no stranger to skipper Jimmy Spithill. The Aussie compatriots teamed together in 2010 aboard yacht 17 to win the RC 44 World Championship and RC 44 World Match Race Championship.

Jonathan Macbeth, Grinder
Birthdate: March 26, 1973
Seasoned sailor Jonathan “Jono” Macbeth has garnered his fair share of championships, including a Louis Vuitton Cup win and two America’s Cup titles.

Joe Newton, Jib Trimmer
Birthdate: December 16, 1977
Australian mates skipper Jimmy Spithill and Joe Newton formed a tight bond in their early days competing with Young Australia, and the duo went on to win the 33rd America’s Cup in 2010.

Gilberto Nobili, Grinder
Birthdate: April 29, 1974
Gilberto Nobili, “Gillo,” is not only an America’s Cup champion but also a double-agent for the team – sailor by day and Java developer by night, building customized displays for each crew member onboard the AC72.

Tom Slingsby, Grinder/Strategist
Birthdate: September 5, 1984
Tom Slingsby is an all-around athlete, with a promising tennis career and a gold medal in sailing from the 2012 Olympic Games in his past and the 34th America’s Cup Finals in his future.

Joe Spooner, Grinder
Birthdate: October 31, 1973
Entering into this 34th America’s Cup, skilled sailor Joe Spooner already has two America’s Cup titles, three Fastnet Race wins and a Rolex Maxi Worlds championship in his trophy case.

Simeon Tienpont, Grinder
Birthdate: January 20, 1982
Simeon is no stranger to speed, sailing with the record-setting 24-hour monohull run in the Volvo Ocean Race in 2005-06 and a 33rd America’s Cup title. He is a jack of all trades from a shipbuilding family and studied design and construction of yachts at university.

Opening Ceremony emcee Ted Robinson (left) and ORACLE TEAM USA skipper Jimmy Spithill talk about the America's Cup (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

The 2013 America’s Cup opened amid great fanfare and celebration today with the grand Opening Ceremony 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.”

Streamers help close the Opening Ceremony of the 2013 America's Cup with the sailors from the four teams on stage. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

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 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 Voices of Sweden Choir.

Charlotte Schultz, David Chiu, Monique Moyer, Stephen Barclay and Valérie Chapoulaud (left to right) at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the America's Cup Park, at Piers 27/29. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)

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 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, Fla., 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.”

“We’re looking forward to getting out on the water and watching the racing,” said Jerry Brown.

Tomorrow the America’s Cup action takes to the water with a fleet parade scheduled to begin at 11:00 am PT. The parade of some 45 boats is expected to include the AC72s, the foiling, flying catamarans developed specifically for the 2013 America’s Cup. The parade will pass along the city front to the America’s Cup Village, at Marina Green.

At 12:15 pm PT 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.

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.

San Francisco Mayor Edwin M. Lee, Lucy M. Jewett and Regatta Director Iain Murray (left to right) at the Opening Ceremony for the 2013 America's Cup. (Photo by Gilles Martin-Raget)