Hey Chicago, you’ve done it again. The historic America’s Cup is here in the Windy City. Yachting’s biggest prize, first contested in 1851, the America’s Cup, is the oldest trophy in international sport, pre-dating even the modern Olympics by 45 years.
The Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series Chicago, a qualifying event for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda, is often called NASCAR on water in reference to its speed–reaching up to 50 MPH and its athletes–the best and fastest sailors on the planet.
Chicago is honored to be host to the first-ever race on freshwater in the 165-year history of the cup. The Chicago competition is one of five preliminary races. Each Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series event consists of four fleet races.
Six teams will be competing, including ORACLE TEAM USA, Emirates Team New Zealand, SoftBank Team Japan, Groupama Team France, Land Rover BAR (for Great Britain), and Artemis Racing (for Sweden).
The ORACLE TEAM USA, currently in 2nd place, is the defending champion. The Emirates Team New Zealand is leading this year’s competition as the Chicago leg steps off Saturday. Here are the current standings:
Navy Pier is the epicenter of the event which hits the water today, Friday, June 10, for practice races with the competition races taking place Saturday, June 11 and Sunday, June 12.
The start and finish line is right off of the Grand Ballroom at the East End Plaza. The racecourse will follow a southerly path toward Northerly Island and the Shedd Aquarium before heading back north to the finish line.
Over 100,000 spectators are expected for the Chicago race. Although the best seats in the house, the grandstand seats at the end of the pier, are already sold out—those who want to see the races still have many viewing opportunities including Walking Passes available for $59 adults and $29 kids and on-water viewing from private boats or cruise lines including Shoreline and others.
For those without tickets, please note that many of the areas of the pier will be closed off–but not all. You can watch from the front end (the west end) of the pier either by standing or taking a seat at one of the many watering holes.
Even though you will probably not be able to see much, with the exception of Saturday’s Sean Tucker & the Bremont Horseman Air Display at 12:30 pm., you’ll be able to hear the roar of the crowd and feel the action.
A better viewing option might be to head to the Museum Campus or Northerly Island and watch from there. Wherever you are–expect crowds.
The smart choice for getting to your destination is public transportation. Don’t even think about trying to drive and park at Navy Pier.
Several CTA buses including 29, 66 and 124 go directly to the pier as does the Navy Pier free trolley. The 130 CTA bus will take you to the Museum Campus.
Here’s the schedule of events:
Friday, June 10, “Conquer Cancer Day” Practice races
1:30 – 3 pm. All Teams Practice Racing
Location: Navy Pier
Saturday, June 11 (Day One of Competition)
Location: Navy Pier
Scoring: For the races on Saturday, the winner earns 10 points, second place collects 9 points, third place 8 points, and so on.
12:30 pm. ORACLE Sean Tucker & the Bremont Horseman Air Display with viewing opportunities from Navy Pier.
1:30-3 pm. Races 1, 2 and 3 (Two or three races to occur, with final number determined day of event)
Sunday, June 12 (Day Two of Competition)
Location: Navy Pier
Scoring: Points are scored double on Sunday, when the winner of each race collects 20 points, second place 18 points, third place 16 points, and so on. The team with the most points at the conclusion of racing is the winner. (Ties are broken in favor of the team with the best result in the last race).
1:30-3 pm. Races 4, 5, and 6 (Two or three races to occur, with final number determined day of event)
4 pm. Awards Ceremony
You can learn more about the Chicago race from ChicagoNow’s sailing guru, Glenn McCarthy, here.
To see how things look from above, check out ChicagoNow’s Candid Candace.
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