Thursday, June 27, 2013

Cavallo Point Taken... 'Race For The Cup' ushers in the AC for the North Bay

After three solid days of rain here in SF we woke up to bright blue skies on Wednesday. A welcome change in weather and an idyllic setting for the much anticipated 'Race For The Cup' event scheduled at Cavallo Point in Sausalito... an America's Cup launch party for our north bay friends hosted in partnership with Marin Magazine and Protector Boats. Featuring a gallery exposition of work from AC photographer Gilles Martin-Raget and an intimate chat with Artemis co-helmsman Loick Peyron and America's Cup tech expert & navigator extraordinaire Stan Honey, as one would expect this was a sold out event and inked onto many calendars for some time. 

The fog was just beginning to lick over Nob Hill when I walked over to Loick's place aka the 'little french navy barracks' which he shares with Artemis teammates Julien Cressant and Thierry Fouchier. I was running a little late, a block away and I already heard the baritone rumble of Loick's Chevy truck idling in the distance. "Allez let's go!" he yelled as he saw me down the street. I ran and hopped in the truck and a few short minutes later we were cruising across the Golden Gate Bridge in ol' Lady Blue 65 with the windows wide open, playing catch up over a cigarette and listening to the Red Dead Redemption soundtrack.

We arrived at Cavallo Point in fine time. The party was just beginning, nice ambient live music setting a perfect casual tone as guests began to saunter in and fill up the fireside patio. The attentive hosts weaved through the crowd with trays of tasty hors d'oeuvres and drinks, I caught up with some familiar faces while Loick was interviewed on the front lawn for Channel 5.

For those who have not been to Cavallo Point, this is hands down one of the finest hotels in the Bay Area. The proximity to the Golden Gate Bridge is magical, the grounds are immaculate, and the facility and staff posses a certain indescribable unique characteristic of being very elegant and prestigious yet completely down to earth and spirited. This was a recurring presence throughout the evening, complemented perfectly by Loick, Stan & Gilles who were all having fun mingling and chatting up the guests ...before we knew it, the familiar knife-on-wineglass 'tink tink tink' let us know it was all time to head inside.

In fine company.
The Dudes: Stan Honey, Loick Peyron, Kimball Livingston, myself, and Mike Martin
Thank you
Marin Magazine for the photo

The room was filling up quickly, Stan and Loick were fitted with microphones and they took the stage with the moderator for the evening, Stephanie Martin. The tone of the discussion was completely relaxed and entertaining, Loick and Stan's clever quips often drawing laughter from the crowd. The talk was short & sweet and extremely entertaining, the room was pleased to have been treated to a special private window into the America's Cup articulated nicely through Stan and Loick's collective knowledge and experience. No surprises there, these two gentlemen are at the top of their game both as sailors and dynamic speakers, and Stephanie's experience in communications lent itself nicely to provoking insightful commentary. In closing, the Cavallo Point manager Euan Taylor hopped up behind the podium to thank the special guests and invite us to dinner.

The available moments before dinner were an optimum time to have a look at Gilles' photo expo in the hotel, such impressive work and so cool to see some of the images I've loved for many years in a larger scale gallery setting. Gilles is one of the best in the business without question and I admire him both as a professional and a friend... looking at his photos lit a spontaneous fire of inspiration underneath me... it was the ideal opportunity to grab him and snap a portrait pic. Have a look at the Scuttlebutt article on Gilles entitled: Wind, Water, Winning - The Works of Gilles Martin Raget

The party migrated upstairs in anticipation for dinner, the Cavallo Point staff efficiently seated everyone and poured wine, bustling back and forth from the kitchen to ensure everyone was properly attended to. I sat with Loick, Stan & Gilles and their fellow AC luminaries Mike Martin and Ian Murray...the lively ambiance that followed was an event unto itself, the dudes and their wives trading stories and barbs while we enjoyed a five course meal and wine pairing selected by Murray Circle Chef Justin Everett.
We're all still not sure how or why Loick and Gilles were wearing identical outfits. Chalk it up to zee french touch....  La classe for sure.

After the superb meal it was time to wrap up the evening and find Euan to express thanks for hosting us... Loick fired up ol' Lady Blue and we were back on the Golden Gate headed to SF, happily reflecting on the night's events.

Thanks to everyone for the super soiree... The America's Cup is alive and well ...and without a doubt the excitement is building everywhere.

a bientot

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