By Grace Floyd
|Grace Floyd read to board the Freda B in Sausalito.
I had the great good fortune to be invited aboard the Freda B schooner to watch a day of the Americaâ€™s Cup. Knowing nothing of the Americaâ€™s Cup history or understanding the dynamic of the races that day, I felt welcomed by Captain Paul, his wife Marina, their crew and the other attendees. My long-time friends Michelle and Mary, who were also good sources of information regarding the regatta, joined my companion Jane and me. Paul and the crew anchored us just off the Palace of Fine Arts to enjoy the competition. From one or another bridge, I have often seen the bay crowded with boats. But your imagination does not succeed in preparing you for being in the thick of so much traffic on the water. It was amazing, but not scary amazing. Everyone was on his or her best behavior, and various mariner safety vessels were on the job.
I will admit to some confusion once the match races started as to who was racing or practicing. All of the catamarans were traveling at tremendous speeds, weaving in and out of the onlookers, so my nautical sense was confounded. We were treated to a wonderful array of cuisine and libations while watching the events. Paul spent some time explaining the origin of the event as the â€ś100 Guinea Cupâ€ť in 1851, but I will allow other more talented historians and columnists to regale you with the evolution of the Americaâ€™s Cup.
By the time the fleet races started, I had a much clearer understanding of the course, and had moved to a position on the boat allowing me to hear the radio announcements. Although it was uncertain at first why the American catamaran had stopped so shortly after starting, my naivetĂ© was diminished to learn that crashing was a part of the event. We finished out the day cheering for the Americans and our various other favorite countries and teams.
Sailing back to dock, we were told that the worldâ€™s fastest sailing vessel, Lâ€™Hydroptere, was on the bay. It was a fabulous addition to the day and we watched as one of the crew, Ashley, chased the trimaran across the bay in a zodiac while she grinned from ear to ear. You could see the absolute awe of Paul, Mariina and the crew over the very fast and odd-looking hydrofoil. It was beautiful to see, but practically disappeared when we looked at it from stem to stern.
The enthusiasm and respect of the owners and crew for the sea, sailing, the Americaâ€™s Cup and speed was such a wonderful thing to share. I am now an Americaâ€™s Cup fan wannabe, and proud to say that I have been, and will continue to be, a Freda B fan.