America's Cup Trophy Takes Center Stage in Newport.
NEWPORT, R.I. -- New England's sailing community, Rhode Island officials and throngs of summer visitors rallied today in Newport to celebrate the return of the America's Cup trophy to its traditional home and to congratulate the first U.S. team to win the world's premiere sailing competition since 1992.
Governor Donald L. Carcieri welcomed team BMW ORACLE Racing, winner in February of the 33rd America's Cup, at Bannister's Wharf in the morning where the public got its first glimpse of the world's oldest trophy in international sport.
"Rhode Island is extremely proud to welcome the America's Cup trophy back to Newport and to congratulate team BMW ORACLE Racing on their historic victory. Today's event shows that Rhode Island is the perfect location for the next America's Cup race," said Governor Donald L. Carcieri.
The return of the America's Cup trophy to Rhode Island was a true homecoming. The Ocean State was host to 12 of the 33 America's Cup regattas, from 1930 to 1983, and is the home of the America's Cup Hall of Fame.
"Rhode Island's rich sailing heritage and deep tradition of America's Cup racing were on full display today. What made the day a success were the people who turned out from all over New England to see the America's Cup trophy, congratulate team BWM ORACLE Racing and show their support for the sport of sailing," said Keith Stokes, Executive Director of the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation.
The day was marked by several unforgettable highlights.
Rhode Island dignitaries, members of team BMW ORACLE Racing, legendary sailing greats and the public attended a "Cup Victory Tour Luncheon" on the North Lawn of Fort Adams. The luncheon featured a grand unveiling of the Cup trophy and a multimedia show by BMW ORACLE Racing. Tickets to the luncheon were available to the public. Proceeds will benefit Sail Newport, Rhode Island's non-profit, public sailing center.
Toby Pell, son of former U.S. Senator Claiborne Pell, presented the Herbert C. Pell Cup trophy to BMW ORACLE Racing at the luncheon. The Pell Cup, established in 1958 and named after Senator Pell's father, is traditionally awarded by the Ida Lewis Yacht Club of Newport to the challenging team in the America's Cup race finals.
BMW ORACLE Racing also entertained hundreds of wide-eyed junior sailors and parents with a special Cup unveiling and presentation at Fort Adams in the afternoon. Kids received a keepsake team poster with the opportunity to have it autographed.
"Newport was home to the America's Cup trophy for over 50 years. Our city is very honored to have the Cup here again and to have an opportunity to celebrate BMW ORACLE Racing's achievement in such a unique setting," said Newport Mayor Jeanne-Marie Napolitano.
In addition to getting an up-close look at the Cup, spectators witnessed a majestic parade of sails, featuring classic America's Cup yachts and other prominent vessels as they made their way through Newport Harbor before heading to Fort Adams.
Some of the top names in sailing joined Rhode Island officials on-board the lead boat, Rum Runner. Former America's Cup winning yachts Columbia, Weatherly, Intrepid and Courageous were accompanied by fellow competitors Nefertiti, American Eagle, Heritage, Easterner and other notable twelve-meter yachts, including Gleam, Northern Light and Onawa. Boats from various Narragansett Bay yacht clubs carried area children as they rounded out the parade fleet.
"Thousands of New Englanders were re-introduced to the America's Cup today. More importantly, a new generation of sailors, the youth sailing community of Narragansett Bay and beyond, saw the best of sailing's past, present and future. Hopefully, some of them were inspired to one day skipper their own America's Cup yacht," said Brad Read, Executive
Director of Sail Newport.
Parade participants arrived at Fort Adams to fife and drum by the Pawtuxet Rangers, a Colonial-era militia group, who led them in a ceremonial procession through the fort on their way to the luncheon.
Cup gazers at Fort Adams also enjoyed a festival that included food, live music, pirates by Free Men of the Sea, kite flyers and exhibits by the Herreshoff Marine Museum, America's Cup Hall of Fame, Roger Williams Park Zoo, Audubon Society, Save The Bay Exploration Center and Aquarium, Coggeshell Farm Museum, Sail Newport, US SAILING, America's Cup Charters, Newport Yacht Club and Harken, Inc., a leading manufacturer and marketer of quality sailboat hardware and accessories.
The Cup visit underscored Newport's tagline as the "Sailing Capital of the World." It also showcased the level of support and enthusiasm in New England for the sport of sailing and for the America's Cup event, the largest international sporting spectacle after the Olympics and the
World Cup of soccer.
In April, Governor Carcieri, House Speaker Gordon Fox, and Senate President M. Teresa Paiva Weed announced the creation of the America's Cup Rhode Island Planning Committee. The Committee, chaired by RIEDC Executive Director Keith Stokes, is responsible for developing a proposal for Rhode Island to host the next America's Cup.
The Committee serves as the principal entity for the state's coordinated effort to bring the America's Cup races back to Rhode Island. The Committee will develop an infrastructure and capacity assessment that will further enhance Narragansett Bay's world-renowned marine industry and serve as the basis for a proposal to BMW ORACLE Racing.
The America's Cup, first contested in 1851, currently resides at the Golden Gate Yacht Club in San Francisco, the home club of BMW ORACLE Racing. Only two other American yacht clubs have held the trophy - New York Yacht Club and San Diego Yacht Club. SDYC lost the Cup to Team New Zealand in 1995, the last time the America's Cup was held in the United States. In 2003, the Swiss-based Team Alinghi won the Cup from New Zealand. On February 14, 2010, off Valencia, Spain, BMW ORACLE Racing defeated the Team Alinghi 2-0.
Planning for the next edition of the America's Cup is underway, with the finals expected in 2013 or 2014 at a venue to be determined by the American team.
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|Date:||Jul 1, 2010|
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