America's Cup Opens

America’s Cup 72s took over San Francisco Bay July 5 for a fleet parade and time trials.

Opening Day America's Cup

Opening Day of the 34th America's Cup, July 4, 2013© ACEA / PHOTO ABNER KINGMAN

Following an action-packed Opening Day program on July 4, fans will have the opportunity to see the America's Cup boats up close along San Francisco's city front during a fleet parade on Friday, July 5, signaling the final count down to the start of competition in the America's Cup Summer of Racing.

The 2013 America’s Cup is the first in the 162-year history of the event that will be sailed in the confines of a bay—San Francisco Bay—rather than miles offshore. It’s also the first time all competitors will race wing sail catamarans, the “50 mph flying boats.”

The astonishing speeds are possible because the 13,000-pound catamarans lift clear out of the water when hydrofoiling on specially designed daggerboards and rudders. The AC72 is capable of sailing its 72-foot length in a single second when the boatspeed reaches 43 knots (50 mph).

“I’ve been running races on San Francisco Bay for a dozen years, but there’s never been anything like the AC72s,” said Principal Race Officer John Craig. “They’re fast machines and they’re going to be thrilling to watch.”

For the parade the AC72 race boats will be under tow alongside their tenders, but with racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, America’s Cup Challenger Series, scheduled to start on Sunday, July 7, Friday’s ceremony along the city front provides a great opportunity to get an up-close look at the AC72s.

San Francisco’s reigning America’s Cup champion, ORACLE TEAM USA, will showcase its AC72 catamaran in the parade. Challenger teams Artemis Racing (Sweden), Emirates Team New Zealand and Luna Rossa Challenge (Italy) are also expected to participate.

Friday’s activities begin off Pier 14, at 11:00 am, with the ceremonial Parade of Boats, led by a fire boat from the San Francisco Fire Department.

The prototype and current America’s Cup designs will be represented in the fleet parade, with a replica of the schooner America, the winning yacht in 1851 for which the America’s Cup is named, alongside the AC72s of today.