Jeff Simon Memorial Regatta
The UC San Diego Sailing Team hosted the Jeff Simon Memorial Regatta on January 23rd and 24th, 2016 at Mission Bay Yacht Club. This regatta is an annual memorial of former team captain Jeff Simon who tragically passed away at 22 from cancer. Besides the racing, every year the UC San Diego team holds a raffle with donated prizes to raise money for the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
19 boats from eight different colleges met both days on the starting line in the middle of Mission Bay. A-division started the first race on an overcast Saturday in light wind. The wind shifted frequently throughout the whole weekend, causing the race committee to adjust the race course often; however there were only a couple short delays due to a lack of wind speed—something that can plague regattas held in Mission Bay from time to time. The tidal swings were severe on Saturday causing a very strong current along the race course in the downwind direction. Consequently, some of the less experienced boats struggled to race upwind on the course. A-division and B-division both finished six races in a great day of sailing. One protest was heard after the racing resulting in a disqualification for a Cal-Poly boat in the fourth race of A-division. The wind was more consistent on Sunday and the sky opened up to a bright, sunny day. The UCLA Sailing Team even brought out a foil-lined box to try and solar cook s’mores! Four races were completed by each division on Sunday. Overall with the A and B-division scores combined the four Triton boats took 4th, 12th, 13th, and 16th. I personally finished tied for 8th place in A-division which is a huge improvement from my 18th place finish last year in the same regatta. I couldn’t have done it without my new crew Christoph Steefel. Congratulations to USC for taking home the win! This year the Jeff Simon Memorial Regatta has a trophy that will have the names of the winning sailors engraved onto the side.
Our team has done some major recruiting this year, so we have a large group of new sailors. We prescribe to the trial by fire training technique in which we encourage everybody to race, even sailors who have stepped foot on a boat only once. This quarter we have a handful of new sailors with minimal experience and hosting a regatta on home turf afforded us the chance to get everyone racing who wanted to. On Saturday I sailed a set of races with a new team member, Maddie Wilson. She did great for her first time racing and I hope she learned a few things from being tossed straight into the deep end. Two of our other boats also had brand new sailors. It wasn’t long ago that I was exactly in their shoes. In my first week on the team two years ago we hosted a regatta and I was put into a boat to race with nearly no dinghy sailing experience. I have to thank the older members of the team who really taught me to race, because now I am fortunate enough to be able to spread the knowledge again down to new sailors. I’m also very glad that our new teammates are bold enough to just jump into a sport that can have very stressful competition.
This event was a great success and I’m looking forward to next year’s! I’d also like to give a big thanks to the companies and individuals who donated prizes for the raffle, and to alumni Ryan Lorence, Charlie Davidson, John Olson, and Chris Keefe for running the race committee on such a shifty weekend!
Captain, UC San Diego Sailing