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America's Cup Victory 2013

by Kristin Parella

I write this just minutes after USA Team Oracle crossed the finish line of the 34th America' Cup Race in San Franscisco Bay, almost exactly 30 years after we lost the cup to Australia in Newport.  This race was especially dear to our hearts, with Newport's native son, Rome Kirby, the lone American on board, just 23 years old, and son of another America's Cup sailor, Jerome Kirby. 

The America's Cup has come a long way since Alan Bond's secret winged keel; the style of the race has changed.  Living in Newport that summer as a college student in 1983, the town was filled with French, Kiwi, Aussie, Brit, Italian young athletes who's 12's were docked at a series of wharfs along Thames Street. After racing, crews would simply walk off the boats and engage in the daily life of a Newporter.  No helmets, no wetsuits, but simply sunned and tanned from the day out on the water.  Accents in Italian, French, British, enriched our daily lives, and each team brought a unique touch to the town.  As a Francophile, I knew the guys on the French team well  and loved riding through town in their white Citroen Deux Chevaux ( with the 12 meter drawn on the back). Sunset drinks at the Cooke House or Black Pearl, then later on we would dance the night away  at Pelham or ar The Club ( now closed, but some of you remember!) or under the tent of the Azurra parties.  The America's Cup brought, and continues to bring, a special spirit to our town and our country.  Losing it to the Australian Team that September 30 years ago was a great shock to us all, but our spirit never flinched.

Such as the case with Oracle.  Critial team members on and off the water hail from Newport and Jamestown.  These are people that devote their lives..and families to the sport of sailing and particularly to the design and technological advances required to be the best of the best.  They never give up. Despite tremendous and dangerous challenges these sailors can encounter, like  Rambler losing its keel in the middle of an Ocean race, or a mast breaking in the middle of the Indian Ocean during the Volvo Ocean race, these dedicated people continue to renew our spirit of resolve and thirst for excellence.  They never give up.  There is always the next race, the next boat design the next challenge to overcome.  It is this spirit that makes Newport so unique. 

Oracle's spirit, tenacity, and determination never flinched, and acheived a victory that will go down in history. 

So, to the USA Team Oracle, we thank you, from the bottom of our heart, for never giving up, rising to excellence, and reviving the spirit of our town here in Newport and our country, and maybe, just maybe, bringing the cup home here to Newport once again.

Photo: DanielForster.com