Sunday, April 11, 2010

Feeling the love

A great evening in Anacortes on Saturday as team and town merged into one for a few hours of celebration...

(All images courtesy Neil Rabinowitz)

The occasion was a visit from the America's Cup trophy to Anacortes, a chance for the team to pay tribute to a town that has been home to its boatbuilders for the last two America's Cup campaigns. A crew from Core Builders, about 40 strong, was on hand to bask in the glow of their achievements while the venue - the Pier One Warehouse on Commercial Ave. in Anacortes - was standing room only.

The America's Cup trophy arrived down Commercial Avenue in a silver BMW 750 Li (what else), with team members and boatbuilders keeping pace alongside. The Cup was then placed on stage by its security detail where MC for the night, Tom Ehman (who else!), kept the banter up between the team and the crowd all evening long.

Kris Breckenridge, a born and bred Anacortes boat builder with Core Builders, says he was blown away by the size and enthusiasm of the crowd.

"It was really amazing to see that kind of support from the community, to see that level of enthusiasm for the America's Cup. It's a special night when you have everyone get behind a project that you've spent so much time on."

Paul Bieker, a local legend in design circles and a member of the BMW ORACLE Racing design team, was asked by Tom Ehman for his thoughts when he first saw the plans for the towering wingsail (the team made the decision to build it one year ago this week).

"When I saw the drawings and realized how big it was going to be, and how much work would be involved, I just took a big gulp, and signed on!"

Joining Bieker on the panel were Ian 'Fresh' Burns, to round out the design section, John Kostecki (tactician) and Brad Webb (bowman) representing the sailing team, and Mark Turner and Tim Smyth, the co-leaders of the build team, who made a special point of paying tribute to their guys who put so many hours of work into the 33rd America's Cup and their families, who made it possible.

They weren't the only ones. Anacortes Mayor Dean Maxwell presented a key to the city to the build team while the Anacortes Yacht Club also made a presentation in recognition of the team's achievement.

And as a final tribute to the boat builders, when the America's Cup was placed on stage, the pedestal it stood on was shrouded in red satin. This was later pulled away to reveal a hand-crafted, carbon-fiber pedestal, built, where else, but here in Anacortes.

Thanks guys!