Race Day!

We caught the 10:30 ferry to America’s Cup Village to take in the opening day races. Bermuda has gone “all out” and spent 2 years building this venue. It is spectacular. Turquoise waters, great facilities, giant screens to view the television coverage, food stands, plenty of drink stands, VIP lounges, sponsor tents (BMW, Oracle, Louis Vuitton, etc), even a grandstand to watch the racers cross the finish line right in front of the spectators. Opening statements by Bermuda’s Premier and an appearance by actor Michael Douglas round out the formalities and the races are on. We watch the first race, the USA’s Oracle team vs. the French competitor, Groupama. Oracle walked away with a lengthy 30+ second lead and crossed the finish line alone but spectacular in any event. I stand at the rail shooting a zillion photos taking in the spectacle.

The America’s Cup boats (AC45’s) are incredible feats of engineering. They are lightweight 3000 pound carbon-fiber, 44-foot long, 23 ft wide foiling catamarans with 5-person crews. Their 900 sq. ft. wing with a small jib or gennaker power them to nearly 50 knots. The boats hulls are in the water generally only at the start and finish of the races, they ride on sleek hydrofoils to achieve such speeds. Racing these boats is really much about managing the the foils; moving them forward and reverse, lowering and retracting as required in turns, etc. These high-tech beauties are wired; 40,000 data points per second are collected throughout the race. The camera footage and race coverage are phenomenal, providing spectators at the Village views from each boat and helicopter views from overhead. If you enjoy sailing put an AC event on your bucket list.

Many spectator boats are moored stern-to Med-style along the quay. They include vessels like the Maltese Falcon, a massive 289-foot self-standing three-masted computer controlled square rigged sailing vessel, and many more. There are supposed to be 90+ megayachts in Bermuda for this event and I believe it. There are some remarkable vessels here. After 3 races and a Dark & Stormy or two we decide we’ve had enough sun and fun for one day and make our way to the Dockyard just down the road and board a fast 30-knot ferry back to Hamilton. A short dinghy ride and we are back aboard Tivoli. Large day!


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