Over the course of 24 hours, audiences await as six sailing vessels speed into the Port of Miami, one by one. At the helm stand six crews of 11 men from 15 countries around the world, many of them Olympic gold medalists and America's Cup champions. In the past five months, each one has helped navigate a route from Spain eastward, around Africa, through Indonesian islands, skirting Antarctic waters, and up the eastern coast of South America. The race pauses in Miami’s Bicentennial Park—its only North American stop—on May 6 for a 14-day celebration at the Downtown Miami Race Village, a 27-acre expanse filled with interactive installations and scheduled race-centric events.
Throughout the festivities, visitors can step onto the deck of a simulator that emulates the movements of a Volvo Open 70, the race’s official ship model, or gain access to the harbor to witness a real ship without having to wear a fake captain’s beard. Both festival weekends contain a dense roster of events, including a classic car show, steamboat races, and paddleboard competitions, as well as multicultural food tastings and youth sailing regattas. On the final weekend, in-port races pit the tournament’s crews against each other on a short, close-quarters course within the harbor, giving audiences a chance to see the crews in action. Amateur VIP sailors can also pit their sail-wrangling and tide-control skills against the professional competitors in the harbor pro-am race before the six competing teams leave port again for their next leg to Lisbon.