This California idea was in our head for about a year. We were still in Saint Barths dancing on tables and thinking we would see all the rest of the Caribbean and then go to Panama and then up to San Francisco. We told our friends and they gave us blank stares. We told our boating friends and they said “are you crazy?…you’ll freeze” and my personal favorite “your boat isn’t made for that”. But we were serious and maybe not crazy. As the days drew near and the boat got closer we boarded the plane and headed to San Francisco with more nervous anticipation than a brick building on a fault line. And then we got there and drove straight to the waters edge to see the bay and wait for our boat to come under the bridge.
Have you been home lately? If you moved at 19 like I did – and far away – returning can be amazing. You see, I think we have two lives – childhood and adulthood. I spent my entire childhood in one place and my adulthood in another. Sure I visited a few times but after my twenties California was in the rear view mirror and fading fast. Lennie and I visited a few times and then in 2013 we went for the America’s Cup and she embraced it in a surprising way. That is right. I grew up in Shangri- La and didn’t even know it. The Bay Area has an amazing aura to it and the living is great. So much to see and do and full of natural beauty. Driving around the first week getting the boat ready was a pain for Lennie because all I did is tell stories of this bar and that restaurant. This street and that car. This place and that party. This person and what we did. The memories were at every corner. If you think Lennie and I get around now just picture me as a kid with a car and a gas card. There is no place in the entire bay area that I can’t point to and tell Lennie a story. Sometimes I just shut my mouth and remember.
Now there are several loves in my life. Lennie, my kids, my granddaughter, and Happy Together. So to have them all in the place where I spent my formative years was a bucket list item like no other. I spent 10 days of pure joy sharing my past with all that I love. I always thought I would sail our own boat under that bridge and we finally did.
When the boat arrived we were ready for her. We never had someone deliver our boat so this was a new experience for us. We tied her up and jumped on board. We had a captain briefing where Richard told us details about the trip and the boat. He showed us what broke and what worked well (reefing lines). It was great information and we learned some things we didn’t know about the HT. Keep in mind that 3400 miles into the wind and waves including the Baja bash and the rugged California coast is not a “tradewind sleigh ride”. These are tough miles and the boat was put through her paces. Amazingly the broken items amounted to nothing and within 48 hours of polishing and a few screws here and there she looked like she left the factory. Really. Chalk another one up for Leopard and Robertson & Caine.
This video is the first of two San Francisco trips with lots of great San Francisco music. The most notable difference is not seeing me in a “C’est La Vie” t-shirt or Lennie in a bathing suit!