Showing posts with label America's Cup. Show all posts
Showing posts with label America's Cup. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Sailing America’s Cup Final with Moet & Chandon

It was an exciting day for many as the America’s Cup final was about to take place in Newport, Rhode Island. I had come along with a few other select journalists as the guest of Moet & Chandon Champagne, a sponsor of the event. It had been a whirlwind trip and that was not about to change.

I slept until 8:00 and took a walk downtown on the unusually warm New England day. I was back in time to meet the group in the lobby of the Hotel Viking to head to 41 North for a champagne brunch with the Moet & Chandon executives. It was a beautiful scene and I enjoyed my quiche with the bubbly, while others raved at the Lobster Eggs Benedict.

We talked about the boat we were going to get on to watch the races and I had to admit I was a bit nervous. The words “small vessel” and “strong waves” did not exactly get me motivated. My fears dissipated when I saw the actual boat – or should I say, yacht.

It was a beautiful boat that had plenty of room and comfy couches. We also had lots of champagne, cheese, crackers, salads and bottled water. They even had sea sickness bands and sunblock to make our four hours as comfortable as possible.

I have to say it was one of the most exciting experiences of my life. We were the official Mark boat and the finish line for the catamarans so they had to come very close. We watched them all come by the boat and cheered them all on. In the end, it was Oracle Team USA Spithill that took the top prize.

When we got off the boat we were in the America’s Cup Village and we went to celebrate with the racers in Club 45. The outside awards ceremony was moved inside when a strong thunder storm came in. It was actually quite fun with all the cheering and champagne flowing (and sprouting) everywhere.

We were back at the hotel by 6:15 and I was the only one who wasn’t returning to New York City so I bid the rest of the group farewell. I had the evening to meet a friend for dinner before my morning flight home. It was an experience I’ll never forget and I have the champagne bottle to prove it. 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Moet & Chandon Champagne Welcome to America’s Cup

When it comes to sports, I’ve covered tennis and a little gymnastics. My knowledge of yacht racing was non-existent, but what’s a gal to say when she’s invited to play (and drink champagne) with Moet & Chandon at the America’s Cup Finals in Newport, Rhode Island? Yes, of course.

I was due to arrive at Boston airport late afternoon, but weather problems (a threat of storms, not actual rain) kept my flight grounded a bit longer than expected. By the time the car service got me to Newport, the rest of my group had already left for the America’s Cup Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony and Dinner.

This was not just a “dinner,” it was in the back of the Marble House Mansion, built in the late 19th century for the Vanderbilts. The evening was being hosted by Louis Vuitton and the tables were flowing with Moet & Chandon Champagne. Everyone who had ever participated in the world of boat racing was there and the ceremony for this year’s inductees had already started by the time I took my place with Stephane Baschiera, CEO of Moët & Chandon, Ludovic du Plessis, Vice President of Moët Chandon USA and Graham Boyes, CMO of Moët Hennessy USA.

Also at my table were the five fellow journalists I was sharing this adventure with, as well as public relations representatives of the champagne company. We enjoyed the food (especially the decadent Red Velvet Molten Cake) and bubbly and then stuck around a bit to dance to an unexpectedly incredible band.

Back at The Hotel Viking, I found a commemorative America’s Cup Moet & Chandon bottle of champagne, along with an ice bucket and two glasses. I smiled at it as I dozed off to sleep, dreaming about our itinerary for the next day.

Morning came too soon, but it was a beautiful day in Newport. I ordered breakfast from room service as I had a bit of time before we were taking off for our sail. I had been excited to hear we would be on Moet & Chandon America II, sailing through Newport Harbor on this yacht that participated in the 1987 America’s Cup Race off the Australian Coast.

I was not disappointed with the ride. The sun was shining as we helped sail the boat (I took the wheel for awhile) between boats both participating in and watching the morning practice. We finished the sail with champagne in gold goblets, a fitting send off before we headed down to the main venue.

After lunch we went to Fort Adams to the America’s Cup Village to watch the semifinal races from Club 45, the VIP restaurant that was overflowing with food and Champagne. We stayed until the end, happy to see the Americans had made the final, and headed back to the hotel to get ready for the evening festivities.

We began the night at yet another famed mansion, The Breakers. It was here that we were poured Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 1983, in celebration of the last time this event was in Newport. Among those toasting with us were the city’s Mayor Stephen Waluk, Ludovic du Plessis, sailing icons Russell Coutts and Jimmy Spithill, and U.S. Sailing President Gary Jobson.

The cocktail hour was followed by dinner at the Mansion, which consisted of various stations and passed hors d'oeuvres around the incredible grounds. We were introduced to all of the racing teams and even got to mingle with some of them, before calling it an early night. Everyone needed to get ready for the morning finals of the race.