Friday, August 24, 2012

Practice Day-Tuesday August 21, 2012

International Sailing has arrived on the San Francisco Bay. With gorgeous world famous landmarks and ever changing winds and currents, the stage is set for some world class competition. 

America's Cup World Series
August 21-26, 2012
October 2-7, 2012
Louis Vuitton Cup and Oracle Defender Series
July 4- September 1,  2013
America's Cup
September 7-22, 2013

This is all pretty exciting to me! I think being British, you are born with the sea in your blood. I used to sail in England, though I don't remember it. I do have vivid childhood and teenage memories of sailing on the Chesapeake Bay and Seneca Lake on a 22ft boat named Lady Anne II. Lady Anne was my dad's first boat. She was a little mirror dinghy he and his brother built in my late grandmother's dining room. 

Tuesday August 21 was a free day. All of the boats would be out on the water putting in practice runs! Dad and I decided to put some of our own practice in taking public transit all the way to the venue. These pictures are not the best, but they capture the spirit!  I have promised myself a new fancy shmancy camera in the near future. I need to capture this event through my own eyes! 

The team base for the boat we are cheering on....from the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club J.P. Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing and her Skipper Ben Ainslie

I did hit up the store for all my JP Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing gear. I got myself a hat, hooded sweatshirt and t-shirt! People thought I was with the team...HA....I could dream!

Dad in front of the Red Bull AC45 set up on the America's Cup Marina Green

Jon Nash - Videographer for JP Morgan BAR, really nice and funny guy! We met his cinematographer assistant too, but I can not recall his name. But also very friendly and we all nodded heads in long lost recognition each time we past! 

America's Cup Circa 1976 

For those Finding Nemo fans out there (mine  mine   mine   mine   mine  mine)

Dad at the Official America's Cup Store, major sponsor is Puma! What a fabulous statue!

The America's Cup World Series Sailing in San Francisco is amazing because the race course is in the Bay and very close to shore. 

If we didn't have British Boat out there, I'd be cheering on the Kiwis! 
This series of pictures shows how easy it is for these dual hull speed demons to capsize.

In the drink

Close up

BAR in front of Alcatraz

This is a map of the venue. There are two bleacher areas for seating #s 6 and 21 on the picture below. Obviously, you can still see the sailing without having to sit down. Dad and I spent the morning on/by the green area. I joined the America's Cup fan club a few days back. I ended up getting invited to a special fan club event located in #20 on the map below. We started the trek around towards the 2 yacht clubs. I saw some guy sitting in a golf cart, I asked if he could drive us around because of dad's hip. Apparently, this is an unadvertised service for transporting the walking impaired! Very nice surprise for dad! We made our way to the special event. We got to see the America's cup up close and enjoy cupcakes that are going to be featured on an American Cooking Show "Cupcake Wars". An added bonus was receiving free race course seat tickets for Thursday! We were planning on purchasing tickets for Thursday, but getting free ones was icing on the cupcake!  

 The yellow dotted line is the shore boundary line for the racing. So you can see just how close you are to the sailing. After the practice racing finished, we made our way back to the Marina Green section of the map courtesy of another golf cart.

The main bases for all of the boats are a few miles away. If a boat needs some work it heads to that base, otherwise, all of the boats are moored just off of Marina Green. They use RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) to get from the boats to the shoreline dock. It was entertaining to watch the comings and goings of all the sailors and associated crew.

As I watched the Kiwis get off the RIB and walk up the dock....I quietly screamed to myself....OMG that's Dean Barker! The young-teenage-screaming-like-a-Beatles-fanatic in me went weak in the knees!

Jimmy Spithill from Australia, Helmsman for Oracle USA

Dad with Chris Draper from Great Britain (Bronze Medalist 49er in Athens 2004), Helmsman Luna Rossa Piranha. He was standing alone looking like he was waiting for something exciting to happen to him, so my dad and I went up to him and started a conversation about the days sailing. What a nice fellow! He waved at us like we were old friends for the rest of the day (and when we saw him two days later)

The most exciting part of the day for me..... Ben Ainslie, as in the 4 time Gold + 1 silver...most decorated Olympic sailor and Union Jack flag bearer during the closing ceremonies Ben Ainslie! I set out with several missions for the day, get a picture with Ben and get him to sign a Team GB tea towel and my mini Olympic Union Jack flag. I think I wanted to make up for NBC (US Network Coverage for the Olympics) not showing any sailing (Sorry Ben for being a persistent annoying greedy stalker) Hopefully funding the college education of your first born with my purchase/future purchases of JPM BAR swag makes up for it!

Missions complete: Got the tea towel signed and got a picture and have a new crush :-)

After all the practicing was complete, all of the skippers assembled on stage for questions.

I wouldn't look happy either if I had taken an unplanned swim in the San Francisco Bay. Helmsman Dean Barker Emirates Team New Zealand.

Someone did ask him a question about capsizing last year in Newport and then again today. Ugh, I felt awful for him. I wanted to jump on stage and protect him from the disrespect I felt. Suddenly I decided I needed to get a picture with him and his autograph to make him feel appreciated! 

Chris Draper

Australia Olympic Gold Medalist and Helmsman for Team Korea Nathan Outteridge

Arriving late to the party from New Zealand, Phil Robertson 25 year old Helmsman for Team China. He also capsized, but looks like he had fun swimming!

From Great Britain, Helmsman for J.P. Morgan Ben Ainslie Racing, the man himself! In my head he is saying, "One day I will bring this Cup back to Great Britain", though it won't be during next years America's Cup.

At least I think he is thinking it here!

You can't see them in the pictures, but just off stage there were beefed up security guards watching the oldest trophy in International Sport! 

After the show wrapped up, I wanted to seek out Dean Barker and make him feel appreciated. But, dad was pretty exhausted. So we headed back into our public transportation experiment. All I can say, it needs work! That is the engineer in me speaking! I will be putting in my suggestions to the appropriate parties! 

I'll end my post on my opinions on these boats. I am/was a person who preferred a mono hull boats to these non-traditional catamarans. But, I am very impressed with the speed and technology of the cats. The boats were are seeing are 45ft. Next years cats in the Louis Vuitton and America's Cup will be 72ft and the fixed wing will quadruple in size. This is going to make for some incredible sailing! If you are local to San Francisco, you should really take advantage of coming to see these boats and sailors in action. Even if you are not local, you should plan a visit! 

All the best, thanks for visiting!

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