Photo Courtesy of AmericasCup.com

San Francisco gets its first taste of America’s Cup racing action today.

Fifty-five sailors from 12 countries will compete in this week’s series of preliminary races. Today, they’re practicing.

KQED’s Charla Bear caught up with some spectators watching from the Marina Green.

“We’re having a family vacation in honor of the America’s Cup,” said Cynthia Hoff, of Visalia. “It’s such an amazing, amazing sporting event.”

“Most people I know don’t know about this and I’m trying to personally build enthusiasm for it,” said Alex Stahl, who lives in Nob Hill. “Personally, I think it’s a validation for us that we really are a world-class city, that we can host an event like this.”

Inez Blumenthal of Clear Lake said, “It’s just incredible to see such monsters out there.”

The races, which run through Sunday, will involve 45-foot vessels,  while the America’s Cup Finals in September 2013 will feature larger 72-foot  boats.

Bleacher seating at the Marina Green will be free during today’s  practice, but will require tickets during the races. Bleacher tickets have  sold out for the races on Friday through Sunday but are still available for  Wednesday’s and Thursday’s events at $25 per seat.

The race village at Marina Green will feature a large screen  broadcasting the action, as well as a public stage for pre and post-race  presentations involving the sailors.

It will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily except on Saturday,  when it will stay open until 8 p.m. A free concert by the band Dr. Dog is  planned for 5 p.m. Saturday at the race village.

Races will start each day at 2:05 p.m. except for Sunday, when  they will begin at 11:45 a.m.

The America’s Cup World Series will return to San Francisco again  from Oct. 2-7 before heading to Italy in April and May 2013.

The regatta will then return to San Francisco for the Louis  Vuitton Cup between July 4 and Sept. 1, 2013, followed by the America’s Cup  Finals from Sept. 7-22, 2013.

More information about the races is available at  www.americascup.com.

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