The America’s Cup hasn’t been in New York City since 1920. So its return after 96 years was pretty momentous, especially for sailing aficionados. Between 1870 and 1920, qualifying races for the America’s Cup took place in New York before they were moved to Newport, Rhode Island.
On the two days of races that were held here this past weekend, an estimated 175,000 New Yorkers and visitors showed up to watch the Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series in New York. Most of them watched from both the Manhattan and Jersey City shores of the majestic Hudson River.
When we lived and worked in the Washington DC area, we were Chesapeake Bay sailors. Moving to a land-locked hamlet in New York meant giving up our small sailboat and the sailing life. So we were so excited to be invited aboard the “Calypso” on Mother’s Day to watch the races from the water.
The America’s Cup is considered the world’s greatest yachting race. The Fairmont-managed Hamilton Princess & Beach Club in Bermuda (the official sponsors of the 2017 America’s Cup Finals that will take place in Bermuda in June 2017) chartered the powerboat for its special guests.
We boarded her at the North Cove Marina at Brookfield Place in Battery Park City, which sits in the shadow of the Freedom Tower in New York’s Financial Center.
Onboard, we were treated to a wonderful lunch overseen by celebrity Chef Marcus Samuelson of the Red Rooster in Harlem. Samuelson’s first restaurant in Bermuda, called Marcus,’ is housed in the Fairmont Hamilton Princess on Hamilton Harbour.
By the time the races were about to start, a week of cloudy weather with intermittent rains suddenly transformed into a brilliantly sunny day with winds between 5-20 knots that made for an exciting, but challenging, sailboat race.
Our small group of journalists and other guests held on to the rail on the bow of the boat as we watched the six teams from New Zealand, the USA, France, Japan, the UK and Sweden zigzag their high-tech sailboats across the river. The iconic views of the Manhattan skylines were incredible.
The Emirates team (New Zealand) won the exciting race series with a high score of 52, with the ORACLE (USA) team coming in second. The racers and their sailboats will now move to Chicago on June 10-12, 2016 before heading to Portsmouth, UK in July and Toulon, France in September.
Since this was our first Mother’s Day after our son’s move to California, this exciting once-in-a-lifetime experience (with a phone call from him during the race) made for a memorable day for two sailing-deprived empty nesters.
IF YOU GO