The first blush of San Francisco’s excitement for the 2013 America’s Cup was made known today as hundreds of fans and dignitaries joined in celebrating the ceremonial signing of the agreement for the City to host the America’s Cup in 2013, complete with popping champagne corks, the America’s Cup itself and a digital competition between Mayor Ed Lee and four time America’s Cup winner Sir Russell Coutts.
The event celebrated the start of construction on Pier 27, which will serve as the heart of the spectator village for the America’s Cup as well as the start and finish line for the Louis Vuitton Cup race from July 4 to Sept. 1, 2013, and the America’s Cup Match Finals from Sept. 7 to 22, 2013.
'The America’s Cup will bring new life, new amenities and new excitement to San Francisco’s waterfront,' said Mayor Lee. 'This great race, this grand tradition, this remarkable 161-year-old competition is part of the revitalization and refurbishment of this pier and our City’s waterfront.'
Mayor Lee signed the agreement for San Francisco to host the America’s Cup in front of hundreds of people gathered together to celebrate the momentous occasion that makes way for this world-renowned competitive sailing event to be held in the natural sailing amphitheater of the San Francisco Bay and be broadcast worldwide by NBC Sports and a host of international television networks.
'Never in the history of the sport has there been such an extraordinary opportunity to bring competitive sailing to the people,' said Sir Russell, head of Oracle Team USA. 'This venue will be transformed into the starting and finish line, an amphitheater and a racing village highlighting the excitement of the America’s Cup. This is where the action and magic of the America’s Cup will come alive.'
Construction at Pier 27 is now under way and will be completed in February 2013. The Racing Village will feature an amphitheater for 10,000 fans, entertainment including live music and dance, exhibitions of past America’s Cup winners, and other exciting celebrations of the America’s Cup festival.
In addition, Pier 30/32 will provide a real 'pit row' experience for fans to see the sailors, boats and international teams up close and personal.
After signing the agreement, Mayor Lee and Sir Russell competed in a friendly ‘digital sail-off’ on 'The America’s Cup: Speed Trials' app available free on iPhones and iPads via the Apple App Store.
'I might have a hard time keeping up with Russell in a real race, but with this game I feel like I have a chance,' joked Mayor Lee. 'But he’s still pretty good and I think I need some more practice.'
Also featured at the celebration was the America’s Cup itself, which is the oldest trophy in international sport, and is affectionately known as the 'Auld Mug.' It was on display for public viewing after the event, one of a number of stops throughout the world leading up to the America’s Cup in 2013.
San Francisco will begin to experience America’s Cup racing later this year as part of the 2012-2013 America’s Cup World Series. The World Series brings the best sailors in the fastest boats to cities around the world. The next event will take place next month in Venice, Italy, May 15 to 20 before moving to Newport, R.I. in June and then coming to San Francisco in the Fall.
America's Cup website
by Jane Eagleson
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7:08 PM Fri 27 Apr 2012GMT
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