Wednesday, July 26, 2023

1983 America's Cup

"You just like her because she's wearing a mask!"

I watched a documentary last night on the 1983 America's Cup competition.  I watched it because I was there.  I was with my very beautiful girlfriend who had wowed the director of the I Heart NY commercial on the Brooklyn Bridge starring Peter Allen and the Rockettes.  We had to wait while they filmed a sequence, and when it was done, the director looked at her and came over.  I have a Polaroid of the two of them there on the bridge somewhere.  He had it taken and gave it to her.  He was positively enamored. 

When we got to Newport, we hung around a few days taking in the circus.  One day, after drinking plenty of Pusser's Rum at various booths, we wandered out onto the pier where the America's Cup boats were housed.  We weren't supposed to, but somehow we got mixed in with a group of people going out to greet the British boat, Victory, that had just defeated the boat that eventually won, Australia II.  My girl was wearing her jersey from Country Club College (of course) which happened to be exactly the same as the jerseys worn by the British crew, so we passed by the guards who unlocked the gates without question.  We were given glasses of champagne and joined the celebration.  

When the British boat came to dock, it was pandemonium.  Much of  the crew were thrown overboard and many party members joined them in the drink.  My girl and I were sipping champagne, astonished, really, just taking in the scene, when Victory's captain, a young, blond, dashing young fellow, spotted my girl.  And, just as happened with the director on the Brooklyn Bridge, he came directly over.  What the hell, I thought, and walked away a bit to let her flirt.  My girl looked to be enjoying herself immensely.  Again, I have a picture of the two of them somewhere, evidence of something that seems exaggerated.  It is not. 

But as always, I am too disorganized to find them quickly. 

We had already blown our budget all to hell and were traveling on credit cards I wouldn't be able to pay off, so when the first race of the America's Cup was scheduled to begin, we went looking for a boat to take us out of the harbor to watch the show.  Up and down the docks we went trying to find a ticket, but everything was already sold out.  It looked hopeless.  Then we met a guy.  He said that he knew a fellow who captained a sailboat for a corporation, but no one had shown up and he was idle.  He might be willing to take us out, he said.  He took us to where the boat lay in its berth and talked to the captain.  I don't think he'd have taken me alone, but my girl was pretty and persuasive, so I paid the captain some sum I no longer remember and he and his teenaged son, my girl and I, headed out on a wonderfully large luxury sailboat to watch the first race of the America's Cup.  

But our luck turned.  When we got out to the course, the race had been cancelled due to fog.  There would be no racing that day.  I was awfully disappointed, but as we headed back into the bay at Newport, Dennis Connor and his team were taking Liberty through its paces.  Our captain sailed up along side as best he could and and we faux-raced for a few seconds as Liberty jetted by.  But the entire crew, having seen my girl, were yelling and waving at us as they passed.  

And I have pictures of it.  Somewhere.  It is all true.  Someday, when I find them. . . . 

Of course, Australia II with its secret winged keel won the cup in the 7th race, the first to defeat an American yacht since the cup's inception.  As I sat there in the dark watching the documentary, I puckered up and cried. 

I am truly broken, I think.  

As I've been writing this, I've been distracted by terrible noises in the attic.  I went up once to make sure it wasn't a wolverine or a bear.  Whatever it is, it sounds HUGE.  But I saw nothing and things went quiet for awhile.  Now the beast is active once again.  I will have to go to the hardware store and get some traps.  But what kind?  How large?  This thing could be fifty pounds!  

So I have a project that needs my attention.  It will be 120 degrees in the attic this afternoon, I imagine.  Why would something want to be up there this time of year?  

I'll let you know when I find out.  

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