Friday, June 1, 2012

Venice - Back State Side

ACWS Venice - May 20 & 21, 2012
Written May 22, 2012
San Francisco, CA

Was it all a dream?  That's what it felt like on Tuesday morning when I woke up in my own bed.  I double checked my computer and sure enough, the images were still there so it must have really happened.

Sunday afternoon was my last day on the water.  Sailing fans will know that it was light winds once again, but this didn't stop the excitement of the races.  First up was the speed trials.  With the super light winds, these "speed" trials were painful to watch and even more painful to photograph.  There were some interesting poses and positions in these conditions by the team members as they tried to use their body weight to help in the light winds.  Sometimes the teams even looked bored, but they still tried.  I noticed that many of the photographers were taking pictures of the friends they had made in the media center during the event instead of the boats going by, which I found quite amusing.  The sailing fans stayed, even during these trying conditions and still cheered whenever Luna Rossa was cruising by.
Next up was the match racing finals between Artemis and Luna Rossa Piranha.  Still the winds were light.  Still the photography was challenging.  Still the fans cheered whenever Piranha went by.

Then came the final fleet race.  The fans had stuck it out through the first two events, lining the race course on both sides in full force to cheer on their Luna Rossa boats.  Energy Team seemed to have the fleet race in the bag, until ORACLE Team USA Spithill caught up with them when the new wind, light as it was, started filling in.  This was truly a photo finish between these two teams, and we were right there.  When Loick Peyron of Energy Team popped the bottle of champagne to celebrate his victory, we were just down wind from them, and I could actually taste the bubbly in the air as I snapped away.  At the awards ceremony back at the AC Village, it was Match Racing first then Fleet Racing.  When Luna Rossa Piranha came out the crowd came alive with cheers of MAX! MAX! MAX! from all the Italian fans to the skipper Max Sierena, even though they were in second place.  There were more champagne battles between the skippers during the awards and everyone was enjoying the moment.  This moment also marked the end of the event.

It was back to the media center one last time.  Everyone was packing up, as the show would be loading onto the container ship in the next couple of days.  I too was packing up my things and saying farewell to the new friends I had made over the last week, with hopes of seeing them again at the next event.  As I left the media center for one last walk through the AC Village, a light drizzle started as if Venice was sad that all was coming to an end.   The Arsanale basin was empty of the AC45's as they were being hauled out over at the bases to be packed into containers for their journey to Newport, Rhode Island.  The mooring balls bounced as if waving goodbye from the water.  Bruno Trouble was at the Louis Vuitton AC history display overseeing the dismantling of this wonderful exhibit.  Vendors were gone, and the number of fans at the base had dwindled to only a few.  It's a bitter sweet moment - sad to see it end but happy to know I would soon be heading home.

Overall I am so very happy that I went to this event.  It has been my favorite thus far in the series, of the events that I have attended.  There is another Venice event in April of 2013, and I must encourage you to attend.  I'm happy to give any pointers or advise to help you out.  ACWS Newport is next starting on June 26 and running through July 1. Then the show goes to San Francisco for two events in August and October.  The containers will be the same, but each venue is unique.  I hope these updates have encouraged you to experience as many of them as you can.

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