Obviously the racing is over for Areva Challenge at this point. We were definitely not happy with our 8th place position. We are now in the process of doing significant debriefs but the short summary is – we had too little money but the biggest factor was that the funding that came was in spurts so we lost some really good people and we also ended up wasting time and sometimes money on projects or plans that were made in anticipation of funds that never arrived.
Actually Areva has announced that they do intend to continue but we do not know exactly what that means as we are still in the planning AND no one knows who is going to win and where the next cup will be.
The last week:
The night of the last race we had the Louis Vuitton Ball. It was a very glamorous affair but unfortunately I didn’t have anyone take a picture of me. I am trying to see if I can find one from some of the photographers who were there. In the meantime I did take a picture of Katie and David.
The next day we had a short work day to get everything organized for our next phase of debrief, testing, debriefing and packing…. And of course debriefing ? And then three whole days off. I can tell you that three days is not enough to recover from 5 years of intense working but we made the best of it.
Steve and I decided to go to Barcelona to meet up with his Aunt Pat and Uncle Joe and with my Mom and Charlie and Aunt Pris and Uncle Ron who were there for the end of their tour. When we tried to book a hotel we discovered that the Formula 1 was also in town so NO hotels! Instead we discovered a little town just South of Barcelona, Sitges and the 5-star Dolce Sitges Hotel and Spa and it was WONDERFUL!
On Friday I slept for about an hour on the train, for an hour by the pool, for some of my hour-long massage and then after a bottle of wine on our terrace overlooking the pool and a wonderful dinner I slept for 10 hours through the night. AMAZING! And wonderful.
The dinner was at a restaurant next to this beautiful church
The next day we took the short 20-minute train into Barcelona and had lunch with Steve’s family.
They were there with BMW for the Formula 1 and staying on a very nice cross between a small 260’ cruise ship and a yacht – only 27 cabins.
That night we explored Sitges more and the romantic hotels and restaurants and cool bars are EVERYWHERE.
On Sunday we had a long relaxed brunch at the hotel with a great view over the town, and mountains and sea. They also set up for a small wedding that was really pretty. All of the guest wore white. They were all given white and royal blue parasols and the day couldn’t have been more beautiful. There was no bride as there were two grooms. Spain is difficult in some areas but refreshingly forward thinking and same sex marriages which are legal nationwide.
We reluctantly checked out but were able to meet up with Mom etc. for a very nice Mother’s Day lunch back in Barcleona. They told us about their touring. Seems Mom discovered Sangria 😉 – seriously we had a great time. Then a train home and were in bed by 11. What an amazing three days!
If you have been monitoring our results and especially if you have been watching our racing you will have noticed that we have had some ups as well as some “holy crap!” moments when we lost races. There is no question about it an America’s Cup team is an extremely complex entity. I know I know how to manage from a perspective of being on the boat and a part of the sailing team and pushing for wins by grinding and sweating…. but it is completely different and it is more difficult to know how to coach, cajole, demand or plead with a team so that they believe in themselves. It is a day-to-day learning process for all of us.
I look for the little things and this picture shows me what I am looking for – satisfaction at a tough job very well done – ahead, behind, penalties, no penalties, and ahead again – and done well AS A TEAM. Yes! We believe!
Now for tomorrow…. 🙂
Amy Neill was our good luck charm today – With her on the back we beat the Spanish for a very important win! I am not making this up – EVERYONE on the boat thinks that the win was largely because of her. They were calling to make her stay on for the second race if there was one.
Amy and Tom are here for 3 days before they go on their honeymoon cruise.
On Friday, Tom (remember owner of Nitemare) and Amy arrived and got their bearings. Last night Steve and I had drinks with them and a few other friends: Kelvin and Mary Harrap and their son Nolan, Terry and Shelley Hutchinson, Katie Pettibone, and Peter Isler. It was so good to spend some relaxed time with him and frankly I was surprised at how much more comfortable and relaxed it is with old friends than new acquaintances. In case you didn’t know, Tom is fighting stage 4 lung cancer so it is courageous that they came but also I believe that his positive attitude is helping him fight. And wild crazy man – Tom Neill – is truly inspirational!
So the night before racing was scheduled to start, Prada, the main sponsor of Luna Rosa hosted a very VIP party for 1500 people. Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher attended and so did Chloe Sevigny along with a lot of Spanish stars and models. Of course they were all in the V-VIP room so none of us saw them, but their attendance added to the evening as there were people packing both sides of the street for a half mile before the entrance there were about 100 paparazzi when we got to the stairs.
Prada rented out the Central Market. It is hundreds of years old and is a very operational market where there are hundreds of stalls selling fresh produce and meat and cheese and spices etc. etc. For this evening they took a part of it and cleaned it and carpeted it and arranged the stalls as food stations. Amongst the different stalls they had: perfume samples, Wine and cheese and jamon, Seafood with fresh sushi and piles of peeled shrimp and our favorite…. the Strawberry and pineapple stall .. . where they were turning bushels of fruit into daiquiris 🙂
Of course I forgot my camera, and it was so crowded I don’t think that I could have actually gotten a real picture but when we got home I made Steve take these pictures and I told him we would Photoshop them together… well I had had a few daiquiris – anyway – here they are and use your imagination.