Monday, August 27, 2012

To the America's Cup!

Our adventure to see the America's Cup started when a friend, in the midst of a yacht club induced alcoholic haze, told us about the free moorings at Aquatic Park in San Francisco.  Essentially, we could sail from Redwood City to Aquatic Park, take up a mooring, and walk the one mile to Marina Green to see the races.  Cheap, effective, thematic.  We were all in and immediately we were determined to make this happen.

Because of work obligations and a few boat chores, we were not able to leave until 9pm on Friday night.  Loaded up with all the necessities of a three day sailing trip (water, beer, wine, gourmet sausages, tequila, hummus, rum, and a watermelon) we were ready to set sail.  On board the older Newport 30' were the five of us, P the librarian boyfriend, Chuck the single, romantic, IT guy, Scott - the owner of the boat, Renae the bubbly veterinary technician, and, uh, me.

In the dead of night, with basically no wind to be found, we slowly but surely made our way north.  With P and I taking charge of the actual sailing, Chuck promptly passed out down below, Renae kept drinking the wine and Scott was messing around with the inboard and outboard motor.  We entertained ourselves with furiously changing the music every 10 minutes, swapping stories, and enjoying the moonlit ocean.  Renae also kept accidentally hitting the inboard gear shifters which kept us busy. It took us seven hours . . . seven.  Are you doing the math?  Thats right, we arrived at 4am.  We were deliriously tired and were minus three bottles of wine, a bottle of rum, and a case of beer.  Also consumed was a bag of gummy worms and all the salt and pepper kettle chips.

Of course, now that the work was done Chuck decides to wake up and entertain us with his Sean Connery impressions and penis jokes.  Thus, preventing us from falling asleep for another half an hour.

The next morning we took the dinghy to the beach and locked it up next to the pier and walked up and over the hill to Marina Green.

Oracle skippers give us the low down after the race.
We were amazed by how close the boats were to land, how great the Green was set up for spectators, the terrific digital boathouse (with couches, wifi and spots to charge your phones), the British-accented commentary was helpful and exciting, the great food options (the fresh mozzarella avocado veggie wrap was totally worth the $6), and lots of relatively clean toilets.

It was great to see those AC45s fly across the water in the match races, and weave in between each other like an orchestrated color guard in the fleet races.  It was great to see sailing take such a big step towards the mainstream.  We saw the races from a variety of vantage points, from the outdoor patio of the Golden Gate Yacht Club, and on the rocks past that and all were terrific to view the boats from.  The Green though, seemed to be specifically set up for groups like ours and I know we'll spend more time there when the races return in October.
Fleet racing excitement!

Most exciting however, came on our incredibly shorter sail back home on Sunday afternoon.  As we flew, wing on wing south, a giant black catamaran with the number 5 on the sail, flew by us and returned our waves and smiles.  "We love you!" Renae and I shouted, and then attempted to finish the tequila.