What a weekend! Brett and I had been looking forward to America's Cup since before we moved to Bermuda. In all honesty, I didn't really know much about America's Cup, and therefor had no clue what to expect. However, I did know it was potentially a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and that the entire country of Bermuda has been enthusiastically preparing and building excitement for the event for quite some time - there was no way I was going to miss out on that action! So the other week we secured the opening ceremony tickets for Friday, and Grandstand tickets for Saturday.
On Wednesday, Brett's pilot-friend, Kieran, and his girlfriend Samantha, booked last minute tickets to join us from Philly! We were both stoked they could come! They got here early afternoon on Friday. Shortly after they arrived, there was an announcement that the opening ceremony was canceled and rescheduled for Saturday due to weather. So the four of us spent that windy day exploring the nearby beaches at Cooper's Island. It was crazy - one of the beaches that Brett and I go to all the time was filled with man-o-war jellyfish washed up on shore, likely due to the weather. Then we trekked through the rain into Hamilton where we got dinner and went out for drinks (Devil's Isle, Pickled Onion, Hog and Penny). We hit the jackpot with live music at the last two places. The band at The Pickled Onion was particularly fantastic - I was loving their Pit Bull covers (mad me think of Soflo). We all knew we had a full day ahead so we were fairly tame, and got back at a reasonable hour.
The weather on Saturday was (thankfully) Bermudaful and sunny! We got up early, took a taxi, and then a ferry to get to Dockyard, where AC is being held. We weren't sure how organized America's Cup was going to be, given that such a teeny island was hosting this month-long competition. But we were all incredibly impressed. The whole thing went off without a hitch with the exception that the ferry back which was delayed with no announcement by an easy 15 minutes - but that was not a big deal at all.
The event itself was a blast. The main area dubbed "the village" boasted a variety of vendors and tents: food, drinks, swag/apparel, a really solid kids play area (smart thinking on their part!), and tents where you could learn more about sailing. There were also different tents you could pay more for (VIP) that offered different things. Getting the Grandstand tickets essentially meant that we had seats with a great view. I'm glad we got those tickets since we were there for the whole day. It was nice to sporadically sit in the shade and catch the breeze that came with those seats. But if I were only going there for a few hours, I probably would just get the general village pass.
The racing itself was what blew my mind the most. Watching these boats maneuver in the water was 1000x more fun than I ever could have imagined. The first race was USA vs. France, and we smoked them, but it was still fun to watch (I mean, who doesn't love watching the French lose?). The race between the US and New Zealand was TIGHT and extremely intense - Brett and I were losing our minds with excitement. The US prevailed, and ended up winning, and we whooped and hollered with American pride. Brett and I apparently ended up catching the attention of the cameraman...
After the last race Wyclef Jean performed. He did a fantastic job, and somehow connected with an extremely broad audience. He was appropriate enough for the kids, edgy enough for the teens, and nostalgic enough for anyone who grew up listening to him or the songs he covered.
Once the concert was over, we made our way back to St. George's via ferry and grabbed a late dinner at The Wharf. We were all pretty beat from a long day filled with racing, cheering, and drinking in the hot sun. We pretty much collapsed into bed the moment we got back home.
Kieran and Samantha had a great time with us, and we loved having them! I loved having a gal pal to hang with, and it was nice to talk to another chick who dates a pilot. We're already talking about what we want to do the next time they come to visit, especially since we didn't have enough time to show them the beaches on South Shore. I've already begun to campaign for them to bring their pug, Chief, next time too. ;)
Saturday was definitely one of the best days we've had since moving here. Start to finish, it was an incredible experience and everyone was set to have an amazing time. I am so grateful to have gotten to experience such an exciting event, in this beautiful country. Between the intense outdoor sport + fun nautical-inspired apparel + champagne tents + live music... I'm pretty sure sailing gained its newest and most enthusiastic fan this weekend.