Opening Day


There has been a whirlwind of activity since our arrival to Bermuda.  After checking into St. George’s, we spent a pleasant day walking around that colorful town and acquiring our first Dark-n-Stormy’s and Rum Swizzles upon landfall.  









The next morning, we took Roam around the north of the island to enter the Great Sound and anchor near the city of Hamilton.  It happened to be a national holiday, Bermuda Day, and the streets were lined with family tents full of friendly Bermy’s making a day of it in anticipation of a parade.  








We spent over four hours on the streets (& in a pub) and saw about five groups progress by in the parade… it was full of local pride, but very spread out and apparently on island-time.  

It was great introduction to Bermuda.  The former British colony has a formal British exterior with a distinct Caribbean vibe.  










Opening Day of the America’s Cup races was scheduled for a Friday and was sold out when we looked into getting tickets.  Turns out that the weather forecast was for high winds and Opening Day was postponed until Saturday.  We got tickets online and went to the Royal Naval Dockyard with about 11,000 other people to watch the first day of Louis Vuitton races.






The venue was nicely done, if smaller than the AC Village in San Francisco.  We learned from the Prime Minister that it was formerly ocean “where the turtles swam" before a landfill project brought it into existence not too long ago.  They were rightfully proud of the venue (and we were optimistic that there was still plenty of room left for the turtles in the surrounding ocean).  




It was another great people watching event.  The majority of the attendees were local Bermudians out for the weekend, along with fans from the countries represented in the fleet, USA, Britain, New Zealand, Sweden, France and Japan.



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We greatly appreciated their purified water stations all around the park for refillable bottles - finally, no plastic water bottles!  There was a lack of shade unless you paid for a Grandstand or other VIP seating.  Hats were a must.  





The Village venue was also cool to be able to see the boats at their bases get ready for racing.  The ground crew could be seen doing last-minute touch-ups on the boats just before the teams were heading out on the water.









Watching the races along the wall you could follow the action on the big screen and had a great view of the start and finish line.  

  


All of the starts were exciting…  some more than others like when Landrover BAR crashed into Softbank Team Japan!






The finishes between Artemis Racing with Landrover Bar and Oracle Team USA with Team New Zealand were particularly close!  I was surprised at how little room the boats had to stop after the finish before heading right into the Grandstand.









They are often coming into the finish at least 30 knots and have to slam on the breaks (i.e., splash-down) to stop quickly.  


It must be hard on the boats and crew to some extent.







Since the previous day’s races were canceled there were a few extra races added to this Opening Day.  We watched all six teams race in some good contests and were thrilled to see the live action begin.  Oracle Team USA was the only team that went without a loss that first day.


Oracle Team USA


Groupama France


Artemis Racing Sweden


Landrover BAR Britain



Softbank Team Japan


Emirates Team New Zealand






Russell Coutts is CEO of the America’s Cup and done a great job modernizing the event with technology and access to the public.  


Michael Douglas has been a part of this event with long standing family ties to Bermuda, where his mother was born. 








Mark and I stayed on for the concert and opening ceremony.  Wyclef put on more of a show than concert ~ audience inclusive.  I enjoyed a good 90’s flashback (Fugees!).  All of the locals were excited for the Opening Ceremony acts and by the time the fireworks went off we were heading back to catch the last ferry back to Hamilton. 






© M&M 2016