Yesterday's opening ceremonies officially kicked off the 2013 America's Cup competition in San Francisco, CA. The yacht race dating back to 1851 is now a triannual battle of incredibly fast and dangerous 72-foot wing-sail catamarans. The finals won't be held until September, but the America's Cup 2013 competition is now underway.
And by "underway", I do not actually mean "underway". Today's qualifiers were canceled because of high winds. "At 9:00am the wind is over 20 knots on the race course area and the forecast is for it to increase as the day goes on,” race officer John Craig told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The right decision is to keep the AC72s out of the parade and time trials today to keep everyone in good shape."
Why should you care about the America's Cup? If you ask me, you should care because it is incredibly gripping to watch the risky, high-speed action taking place on the competing catamarans. If you want to see some of this grippy, risky, high-speed action, check out the video below from yesterday's opening ceremonies.
Sunday's qualifying races will not be on TV, but you can watch the America's Cup qualifiers live on YouTube beginning Sunday at 3:15 EDT/12:15 PDT. The qualifiers continue through the end of August.
The qualifiers will produce a single winner, and that winner is awarded the Louis Vitton Cup. That winner then becomes the challenger -- earning the right to take on the reigning champion, Team USA in Larry Ellison's high-tech $10 million catamaran. Three teams are participating in these qualifiers -- Emirates Team New Zealand, Sweden's Artemis Racing and Italy's Luna Rossa Challenge.
The schedule of these qualifiers is not set in stone, as the Swedes have asked for more time after the sailing death of crew member Andrew "Bart" Simpson in an accident on a May 9 practice race.
Teams will race two at a time in the qualifiers, with races of 6 to 10 nautical miles. This Cup marks the first race where all the teams have boats capable of racing at speeds of more than 50 miles per hour. Check out this map of the America's Cup course to see where these races are held.
The 2013 race also marks the first time since 1995 that the America's Cup competition is actually being held in America.
How does the 2013 America's Cup work?