America's Cup officially kicks off with welcome event for public

July 4, 2013 8:03:47 PM PDT
Thursday was the official kick-off for the America's Cup in San Francisco. The event has always suffered from the perception of being an elitist event for the super-rich, but San Francisco's organizers are working hard to make it an event for everyone.

At the ribbon cutting Thursday afternoon, the message from the America's Cup CEO was "everyone is welcome."

"This America's Cup is really the most open accessible and inclusive America's Cup ever and so welcome to the America's Cup park and enjoy the racing this summer," Stephen Barclay said.

The park has games for kids; there are sailing simulators and a feel for what it's like to bounced on the catamaran trampoline.

There are plenty of restaurants and lounges right across from the mega-yachts tied up to the pier.

Inside Club 72, sponsors and VIPs can hang out with the team members and see the cup.

"I think that's what makes the whole America's Cup new venue so fantastic is that the public does have the chance to see most of the race," Alameda resident Hendrik Bruhns said.

"They're welcoming everybody into sailing; they have a lot of people standing around answering questions, they have boats on display, I think they're doing a great job," Santa Rosa resident Laurie Hastings said.

This Sunday, the match racing that is the run up to the America's Cup will begin. The racing will go on all summer, with the finals set for the first two weeks in September.