Grace arrived around noon and we dropped my things off at the house. I then accompanied her around town as she ran errands. She told me I could stay at the house until the closing took place but the only problem was it wasn’t furnished. She then suggested we go to Bed, Bath & Beyond where she proceeded to buy me a bedroom set. She told me to pick out what I needed and she kept adding things. I ended up with a Queen-sized air mattress, comforter, sheets and pillow set. I also picked up a small wicker garbage bin. I kept thinking how I was going to pay for all this, but when we reached the register she said, “Think of it as your housewarming gift.” Oh wow, so kind. I converted the box that the bed came in into a nightstand and placed a pillow sham over it to make it look nice. I picked up a small lamp at Ross Department Store and I had created a beautiful bedroom set. I was so happy. The view from my bed was that of the Marin Headlands, the beautiful rolling hills that I loved so much. I could also see Richardson Bay. I felt so blessed and so happy.
July 4th was a big day. It was the official beginning of the America’s Cup and the Opening Ceremonies were taking place at AC Pavilion on the Embarcadero in San Francisco at 3:00 pm. Grace called me in the morning and said she would be over shortly and we could go to breakfast at the Bayside Café, a great little restaurant where the locals met. After breakfast she drove me down to Caledonia Street for the big Fourth of July parade. It was great watching the parade with friends. I then caught the bus and headed to San Francisco in the afternoon.
As I was waiting for the bus to take me from Ft. Mason to the AC Pavilion, I struck up a conversation with some ladies from the South Bay. I showed them my sailing calendar and they each purchased one. One of the women Josie, asked where I lived, and I told her Sausalito. She said she loved Sausalito and was actually looking to purchase a houseboat there. We exchanged information and promised to stay in touch. The four of us then rode the bus together and had our photo taken when we arrived at the AC Pavilion. I showed my America’s Cup credential at the gate and went to meet my fellow Ambassadors at my seat which was on the ground floor of the stadium behind Oracle Team USA.
Once I found my seat I still had some time before the festivities began so I went to say hello to the sailors from Oracle Team USA who were lined up preparing to head to their seating area. I was able to take a lot of photographs and chat with the sailors about the upcoming races and reminiscing on the last two years of training, all of which had led to this day. Everyone was so excited and anxious to get out on the water for some real competition.
The festivities opening up the 34th America’s Cup were spectacular. Each of the teams were introduced and then there was musical entertainment representing each country. The Italians had an opera singer and the Kiwis, an amazing group of Aboriginal dancers and performers. It was a picture perfect sunny day on the Bay and excitement in the air. It was great to be surrounded by my fellow Ambassadors as we greeted people from all over the world and welcomed them to San Francisco.