The 34th America’s Cup

I am such a lucky girl to have been part of the media for the America’s Cup finals in San Francisco! I had planned on staying for two weeks to see the finals of the AC, but Oracle kept winning so I extended my trip. The tough decision was to stay one, two, five more days? But, after I was asked to race in the Rolex Big Boat Regatta, I decided to stay another week and make sure to see the entire race (without extending again) and get to race in an amazing regatta.
I stayed with my friend Kim who drove me to the city for the event each day. We would start our morning with the morning media press conference where the Regatta Director would tell us what we could expect for that day. Then we would claim stake in the Napa Lounge in front of the big TV with comfy couches. Kim would go to work on her computer as I would head out on a press boat or to the finish line to take photos. Friends would come spend the day in out “Switzerland” lounge and a good time was had by all. I would join them after taking photos and before the afternoon press conference. We named our area Switzerland because we became friend with fans on both sides. We even had our own groupies who would come hang out with us.
The afternoon press conferences each day were very interesting. The skippers and tacticians from both team would come talk about their day on the water and answer questions from the media. I was impressed with Jimmy Spithill and his never give up attitude. Every day he would say that the team really believed they could win this thing. In the beginning it was hard to believe, but as the weeks went on they did. It was also interesting to watch (and photograph) the changes in the skippers body language and faces as the races continued. (see the photos below and you will see) There were quite a few tributes to Bart (the sailor who died) by many teams and the event people.
It rained so hard one day and the wind was from the complete wrong direction that the racing was finally cancelled for the day. That didn’t stop the party on the pier! Someone brought an inflatable chicken and had a little regatta in our area. Everyone had wet feet! Someone put a white flag in a tree (in our area) that was supposed to be an Oracle white flag. I assumed it was a NZ fan, but it was up too early because we showed them!
The last two days of the regatta were so exciting! I was so lucky to have a press boat driver who knew San Francisco Bay and match racing. He got us in the right spot for some amazing photos. Thank you Taylor! After the last race and after the Mumm moments on Oracle most of the press boats went in but Taylor asked if we wanted to follow Oracle… Um, yes! Larry Ellison got on board and the team took what looked like a joy ride under the Bay Bridge and they just kept going. We followed them and watched them stop, take their head sail down and return to their base camp where a happy horde was waiting for them. They were greeted by the shore crew, TV cameras and family. Jimmy and Ben were thrown overboard and a few others followed. It was amazing watching the celebration. We returned to the pier for the trophy presentation and more celebrating. There was no celebrating for Team New Zealand who, understandably, looked so sad and beaten. They should consider how far they came in the entire process and celebrate winning the Louis Vuitton to qualify for the finals, but as the old saying in the America’s Cup goes… There is no second place.
On a lay day, Mumm took the press to their Nappa winery for a tasting and lunch. We drank their sparkling wine on the trip up to Nappa, at the winery and on the way back… A fun day was had by all! Some days after racing, Mumm served their sparkling wine to the media after the afternoon press conference. The last day of racing Mumm was in the media center serving and the atmosphere was great. USA had won and we could all finally go home and get on with our lives.
One evening Kim and I had Jim and Sallie DeWitt over for dinner. I had been told that neither Jim or Sally were vegetarians so we cooked a huge tri tip with bacon, blue cheese, chipotle scalloped potatoes and a salad only to find out that Jim is actually vegan! Fortunately, Kim had some lentil soup in the freezer and we heated it up and everyone enjoyed their dinner. Jim and Sally are such delightful people with interesting stories. Jim is working on another book of dog paintings with good stories. I told him one of PeeWee’s stories and he asked me to send a photo and the story to him and he would include it in his book… and a painting! I also got to spend some fun times with Pam DeWitt and her extended family. We had some good times and more are to come I am sure.
Another evening we met Bruce and Lina Nesbitt at Richmond Yacht Club for dinner. It was so nice to see them again and catch up. I hadn’t seen them since the Bandaras Bay Regatta. Lina brought a bag for me from Molly Stone’s Market. I miss that store!
Kim had been very involved helping with the Red Bull Youth America’s Cup team The Force and I got to know some of the boys and some moms as well. What great kids and stories. Kim also has lots of friends that I am happy to now have in my circle of friends. It is interesting how our circle of friends meld together so well as one big happy family.
A friend and fellow racer from PV planned on coming to watch a day of AC racing on his way to visit his mother in San Diego. His passport had expired so the airline would not let him fly but extended his itinerary by one week giving him time to replace the passport. I told Andres that the racing would be over because New Zealand was so far ahead but we would show him San Francisco. He ended up arriving the last weekend of the sailing and was treated to some amazing racing. I was surprised to find out that Andres was rooting for Oracle but he explained to me that he is also an American… Latin American. Of course, it made perfect sense and I felt pretty dumb. I told his story to Richard Spindler who interviewed, photographed Andres and put him in Latitude 38. Andres did miss the last couple of races but I think he had the time of his life at the regatta!
After the America’s Cup ended I jumped right on to an Express 37, Expeditious as crew. What a delightful boat, skipper and crew. This crew has raced together for a lot of years and it shows. I love to race on a boat with no yelling! Everyone did their job (and a very good job of it I must say) and we all had a good time. The winds were very fluky and we ended up in 2nd place overall at the end of the regatta. It was close and we almost pulled off 1st. The racing was fun and it made extending my trip worth the while.
The day after the regatta, Kim took me to the airport very early in the morning. As I flew home I kept thinking of all the amazing things I had seen and the wonderful friends I spent time with. This trip was truly a once in a lifetime event for me… Or maybe the next America’s Cup?

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