BMW ORACLE Racing 's Cup Tour/ Enjoying Newport Hospitality

Author: Jane Eagleson

BMW ORACLE Racing officially wrapped up its America's Cup Victory Tour this week with a swing along the East Coast.

On Tuesday, June 29th, the team visited with President Barack Obama in the White House. The visit to the White House was just the second ever for the America's Cup trophy in its 159 year existence.

The 45 team members on hand, including team founder Larry Ellison and CEO Russell Coutts, presented the President with the port steering wheel from USA-17, which skipper Jimmy Spithill of Australia used to guide the trimaran across the finish line to clinch the 33rd America's Cup.

Wednesday, June 30th, saw the team in New York City. Spithill, the Cup and team members were featured on the CBS Early Show, and about one hour later Spithill rang the bell to commence the day's trading on the NASDAQ stock exchange.

Today saw the team enjoy a sun-splashed visit to Newport, RI, home of the Cup from 1930 to 1983.

With a brisk nor'wester blowing in the City by the Sea, members of the team and the Cup were feted at Bannister's Wharf, paraded around Newport Harbor and enjoyed a gala luncheon at Fort Adams State Park hosted by Sail Newport for 450 people.

"The week has kept getting better and better," said Tom Ehman, Director of External Affairs for BMW ORACLE Racing. "The White House was special and the visit to NASDAQ and Times Square was exciting. But the visit to Newport shows that there's something magical about the Cup."

In the afternoon, the team entertained upwards of 400 youth sailors from the Narragansett Bay sailing community. The boys and girls, ranging in age from 8 to 16, were welcomed by Coutts, a past youth world champion.

"You don't have to be a good Optimist sailor to be a good sailor," Coutts told the assembled sailors. "When I was growing up in New Zealand I used to read about the races in Newport, but never thought I'd get the chance to compete. I also never dreamed of visiting the White House and meeting the President of the United States. It just shows what you can accomplish with hard work and dedication, and how broad our sport is."

With the celebration of the victory complete, the team turns its full attention towards the 34th America's Cup. By the end of the year the team plans to announce the venue and new class of yacht that will be raced.

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