Haute Ambassador: The Amazing Finale of 34th America’s Cup

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Team Emirates New Zealand  nearly capsized on Sept. 15.
Team Emirates New Zealand
nearly capsized on Sept. 15.

It was a big mistake on my part when I lost faith in Jimmy Spithill and his Oracle Team USA’s ability to defend the America’s Cup when they were down 8 points to 1. I left San Francisco for the Monaco Yacht Show. Amazingly, Oracle came back from behind and on Sept. 25th, I watched their victory on French TV at Monaco Yacht Club. Too bad I missed the live action on the Bay. Oracle Team USA’s victory marks one of the most improbable comebacks in the history of sport. With the challenger, Team Emirates New Zealand, on 8 match point, the defender scored 9-8 by winning eight consecutive races. Jimmy praised his team: “We came from behind, the guys showed so much heart. We were facing the barrel of gun at 8-1 and the guys didn’t even flinch….”

Oracle Team USA overtaking Team New Zealand by the Golden  Gate Bridge at the final match.
Oracle Team USA overtaking Team New Zealand by the Golden
Gate Bridge at the final match.

Covering 34th America’s Cup in Naples, Newport, San Francisco from World Series to final races over 17 months was an exciting experience for me. I endured the worst stormy weather in recent America’s Cup history on media chase boats filming the races in Naples 2012, watched 11 AC-45s racing straight toward us on Louis Vuitton mark boat on San Francisco Bay with Jimmy’s wife Jennifer and the “TV Boat Experience” I purchased at the Bart Simpson charity ball put me on the America’s Cup TV Cat with skipper Clint Jones.

Oracle Team USA  celebrates the victory.
Oracle Team USA
celebrates the victory.

We chased the two teams during the entire Race 6 to provide exclusive live TV coverage. The TV Cat is a specially build 4’ x 4’ cubicle for TV camera and monitors mounted on a catamaran designed to chase the AC-72 at high speed. There is no seat for passenger. I was in full weather gear, complete with life jacket in case I fall off the boat. I signed the waiver if I fell off the boat they would not stop to rescue me as the show must go on.

I watched the heart stopping moment when Team New Zealand miraculously escaped capsizing during Race 8 while attempting a tack but the wing didn’t pop through and the 72 foot catamaran went on its side in nearly 45 degrees. Fortunately the boat came up after a few seconds. Skipper Dean Barker said “We came as humanly possible close to not capsizing!”

Since opening day on July 4th one million fans have visited the America’s Cup venues at Piers 27/29 and Marina Green. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the shores of San Francisco Bay to watch the flying foiling AC-72. The defender Oracle Team USA has not announce the location of 35th America’s Cup in 2016. I hope it is in San Francisco again.

Olivia Decker with King Fouad II of  Egypt at Les Leaders Club luncheon at Hotel Hermitage.
Olivia Decker with King Fouad II of Egypt at Les Leaders Club luncheon at Hotel Hermitage.

23rd Monaco Yacht Show
The 23rd annual Monaco Yacht Show held the last week of September drew a huge crowd to view hundreds of mega yachts on display at Port Hercules. The yacht owners, yacht brokers, yacht financiers, yacht builders/designers and their ultra-high net worth clients came together over the four days of intensive meetings and to check out the fleets of spectacular yachts for sale and for charter. Besides the yachts, there were endless luncheons, dinners and yacht parties during Monaco Yacht Show.

Fashion show at Lurssen party on the 86-meter yacht Quattroelle with a Porsche on board.
Fashion show at Lurssen party on the 86-meter yacht Quattroelle with a Porsche on board.
Olivia Decker with King Fouad II of  Egypt at Les Leaders Club luncheon at Hotel Hermitage.
Olivia Decker with King Fouad II of Egypt at Les Leaders Club luncheon at Hotel Hermitage.

I attended the annual Oktoberfest dinner where Prince Albert mingled with the beer drinking guests, the Morgan Stanley yacht party hosted by Private Banking Geneva Office, the Les Leaders luncheon with King Fouad II of Egypt and his friends including Princess Marie Gabrielle de Savoy and Princess Caroline Murat at Hotel Hermitage. And the Lurssen yacht party on the 86 meter Quattroelle with a festive band, a fashion show plus a sparkling Porsche and a helicopter on board added to the excitement. For Monaco Yacht Show next September, visit http://www.monacoyachtshow.com/

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