Tuesday, September 17, 2013

No One Stopped Believing

Sunday & Monday
September 15-16, 2013
ETNZ - 7

Sunday morning I was up and out in 30 minutes.  I hadn’t even unpacked my bags from the night before so I was able to just grab and go that morning.  Here I was abandoning my house guest once again.  

I had received the bad news that I didn’t make the cut for a photo boat, but there was a possibility that I might get a spot on the #2 TV boat.  I had heard from other photographers that this boat was particularly wet and would only be at the windward mark and then behind the primary TV boat for the finish.  None of this sounded very appealing.  I also had a reservation at the Golden Gate Yacht Club (GGYC) with my houseguest and one of her friends for the day.  I would happily forfeit my non-refundable deposit at the club to be out on a regular photo boat and I realized that heading to the club was a good backup plan.  Besides, going to the club would allow me to spend some much needed time with my very patient house guest.

The winds were still fairly strong and we were dealing with an ebb tide during racing.  For Race 1 we were looking at a 2.2 knot ebb so a 20.8 knot wind limit and Race 2 was a 1.6 knot ebb for a 21.4 knot wind limit.  (See previous post for calculation explanation.)  The forecast was for at least this much wind.  Monday was a scheduled day off, and the forecast for Tuesday was VERY windy.  The weather was just not looking good for getting two races in today or for the near future.

The weather conditions had not dampened the mood of America’s Cup CEO Stephen Barclay at the morning media briefing.  He appeared to be in a very good spirits because 50,000 people had been counted at the America’s Cup Park, which was what the Event Authority had hoped for and there were 52,000 people at the America’s Cup Village.  The public was showing up and gaining interest in the event.  Personally I think that the entire north island of New Zealand had arrived in San Francisco at that point.  Those Kiwi’s were just everywhere.  And all of those fans had held their breath yesterday when Emirates Team New Zealand (ETNZ) almost flipped over.  Reports were that the boat landed rather hard on its starboard hull, but there was no significant damage.  This was good.

Then the media briefing moved on to current events.  On this Sunday morning members of the international press were all a-buzz about a tweet that had been sent out by ORACLE Team USA (OTUSA) skipper Jimmy Spithill.  Stephen Barclay was noticeably surprised by the questions regarding the tweet and it was obvious that he had neither seen it nor been briefed on it.  I immediately looked it up on my phone and took a quick screen shot because somehow I knew it wouldn’t be out there for long.  This hot topic for the day brought the morning media briefing to a quick end as everyone headed to their computers and got on the phone for more on the story.

The day was pressing on and I had not received any update regarding a spot on a photo boat.  The staff at the media center were some of the nicest, most helpful and accommodating people with whom I have worked.  They arranged for one of the Lexus sponsored cars to drive a carload of photographers down to the Marina Green and back again, which included me.  This was great because carrying large lenses while weaving through traffic on my vespa was challenging and risky.   With the sponsored car and driver we didn’t have to worry about parking either.

After arriving at the Marina Green the group of us I headed to GGYC.  I was just planning on meeting up with my friends, but then I noticed that my whole car load was being welcomed into the club.  Apparently media got a free pass to get in.  Wish I had known that money saving fact earlier!  We enjoyed the bleachers in front of the club but I wasn’t very happy with my shots from that angle, even with the 600mm lens I had that day.  So after the start of the first race I headed to the restricted media area between the GGYC and St. Francis Yacht Club (St.FYC) for the next mark rounding.  I didn’t like that spot either and there were already 8-10 photographers corralled in there so we would all be getting the same shots anyway.  The first race was ending so I moved again.  I climbed up on a stone wall on the west side of the St.FYC.  I found myself staring directly at the first reaching mark with the starring line behind it.  This I liked. 

OTUSA had won the first race and there was no chance of an overall winner being declared that day.  The wind had picked up as predicted and there was a bit of a delay before the second race started.  Our car was picking us up at 2:30 pm and the clock was ticking.  I caught the start and headed to the car, hoping we could make it back to the America’s Cup Park for the finish of the second race.  But the other photographers were late and we missed seeing ETNZ take the second race of the day, inching them that much closer to an overall win.

The America’s Cup Park was the most lively I had seen it thus far during the event.  Both teams scored with a win, there was a scheduled day off the next day and it was an absolutely gorgeous Sunday afternoon - all the makings for a very festive atmosphere.

After getting my work done that afternoon, I headed through the crowds to the Waiheke Island Yacht Club at Pier 29.  There was a line to get in and the place was packed.  Since I had an accreditation badge I was allowed to bypass the line (press passes do have their advantages) and headed directly into the masses for a fun filled evening with fans of both teams celebrating together well into the night.

Monday morning I said goodbye to my house guest who unfortunately could not extend her stay to see the end result of the America’s Cup.  This may have been a day off from racing but not from America’s Cup activities.  There were still quite a few people around the media center and the America’s Cup Park that afternoon.  I had been invited to the concert that night at the America’s Cup Pavilion.  This wasn’t my first concert there so I knew the drill.  We would start off at the Waiheke Island Yacht Club as our pre-concert meeting point, which was only slightly less crowded than the evening before.  We got our tickets and we also had VIP wristbands that night.  We headed into the show for the opening act, and then we were off to the VIP bar at the America’s Cup Sports Bar during intermission.  Back to the show for the night’s headliner, which was Journey.  They put on an incredible show and their new lead singer - the one who was rumored to have been found on You Tube - sounded just like Steve Perry - maybe even a little better.   When the band, and the entire audience, started singing “Don’t Stop Believing” it seemed to have a different meaning that night - but a meaning shared by fans of both ORACLE Team USA and Emirates Team New Zealand.

No comments:

Post a Comment