The San Francisco stopover was another short one for us thanks to arriving a bit later than expected (seriously though, this should be expected by now). Personally, the best bit was having my parents and brother there (first time he had seen the boat!). Like I said, it’s all about the people.
Now, being the amazing daughter I am, the first thing I did after the traditional hugs and tears was hand over the biggest, smelliest bag of laundry to my mother. Like a real trooper she actually agreed to do it for me! And spent some quality time the next day in a laundromat. If that’s not true love then I don’t know what is.
In all seriousness though, it was amazing to see them. I got to stay in a lovely hotel, go shopping for bits and pieces I needed, eat some great food, and just have people to talk about life outside sailing. It’s also amazing to arrive with them cheering you on. I managed to swing my day off around when they were in town - a full day of escape from the race. It’s a powerful thing.
Quite a lot of people had friends and family in town for this stopover, so it was a relatively scattered one in terms of meeting up with people from other boats. DLL hosted a 70s-themed night at a local bar, but that was pretty much it. A lot of us just had quiet nights in with those who had come out to meet us (a bit of post-Pacific recovery never hurt either).
I waved off the family a couple of days before we sailed and was stuck back into boat routine (with a lovely extra night in a hotel though!). That meant a day of corporate sailing around the Alcatraz area. A lot of people hate doing the corporates, but I actually really enjoy the ones with Mission. It’s usually a really good group of guys, focused on their leadership task. Ends up being a pretty casual, fun day of sailing for us crewing. We had some drinks afterwards and went out to dinner with some of the Mission guys. They’re all lovely people and it was a nice time. One managed to pick my brain apart about my thoughts on my leadership abilities, which was helpful but also stressful and probably in general would have been a better experience if I had been sober. It gave me some things to think about though, which is what matters. Like I said before, I really am my toughest critic.
We also had debriefs with Matt during this stopover - something I find really useful. It’s nice to get his perspective on how things are going (though I do always walk in feeling like I’ve just been called into the principal’s office).
One evening we had a big team dinner at a lovely place whose name escapes me at the moment. These are always great meals with a ton of people (crew, sponsors, friends and family). Mission’s paid for a quite a few - something they don’t have to do but we all certainly appreciate. I can’t say that very many of the other sponsors were anywhere near as good to their crews as Mission was to us - thank you!
We also had a kite photo-shoot one morning with the Golden Gate Bridge in the background. Got some awesome photos. Then Derek and I had an extensive boat introduction with the new guys. He covered the safety brief (it boils down to fire, flooding and MOB preparedness). I covered watches, mothering, etc. We spent ages with the new guys talking about life on the boat, expectations, and answering any and all questions. It was exhausting, but I think the new guys found it worth it. San Francisco saw quite a lot of crew turnover - the beginning of leg 7!
There’s not much more to say about this stopover. We left with a pretty spectacular parade in front of the Golden Gate Bridge, led by an old fire boat. Racing was busy for the first few hours with tacks and headsail changes (including a rather-rushed hank replacement while parading). Then nothing more than a long run south.