According to the Chronicle, yesterday's kickoff to the America's Cup drew "throngs to the waterfront." The controversial race, dating back to the Victorian era, will pit four countries against each other: Oracle Team USA, Segelsällskapet Artemis Racing, Emirates Team New Zealand, and Luna Rossa Challenge. Tourists visiting San Francisco really seemed to enjoy the nautical merriment happening right before their very eyes.

The Chronicle has more:

"Yeah, I don't see a whole lot of sailing in Kentucky, so it is really nice to come out here and check this out," [Melanie Leach, visiting San Francisco from Kentucky] said. "My brother lives in the Marina, so he invited us out to watch the race and the fireworks.

"Golly, this is nice," she added after a pause.

Tens of thousands of Independence Day revelers braved the fourth day of the BART strike and flocked to the waterfront to soak up the afternoon sun, celebrate the official opening of the America's Cup race season and, after all that, ogle the fireworks show.

But all isn't well for the nascent 2013 race. Max Sirena, skipper of the Italy’s Luna Rossa Classic, said today that his team might sit out Sunday's race in protest over new rules about rudder elevators. An American's Cup director, you see, wants wider rudder wings "to help control the 72-foot catamarans and to help prevent pitch-poles." When asked for his thoughts on the Italian team's plan to protest, Oracle Team USA Russell Coutts said, “I think they’re behaving like a bunch of spoiled babies.”

Also, today's time trials were canceled due to strong winds. "At 9 a.m. the wind is over 20 knots on the race course area and the forecast is for it to increase as the day goes on," Principal Race Officer John Craig explained to the Mercury News. "The right decision is to keep the AC72s out of the parade and time trials today to keep everyone in good shape for the first day of racing in the Louis Vuitton Cup, the America's Cup challenger series, on Sunday."

Also, at an event earlier this week, boozy media hounds threw temper tantrums online after it was announced that the bar at the official media event was cash-only. Shudder.

All of SFist's America's Cup coverage.

[Mercury News]