UC San Diego hosted the Jeff Simon Memorial Regatta this past weekend at the Mission Bay Yacht Club. Eleven schools gathered for a total of twenty-seven boats at the start line, blessed with light winds and warm conditions. Saturday had consistent winds of 9-12 knots while Sunday started off with a lull until there was enough wind (~10 knots) to get day two of the competition rolling. CPSLO took home their first team win with a total of 44 points, followed by USC and UCSB. UC San Diego had four boats competing, one of which finished in 7th place! SDSU made their first appearance at the Western Conference competitions and by the look of it, seemed to have a swell time; one of the skippers did jump out of the boat in joy when he finished top five in one of the races, after all. It was a successful regatta to start the 2017 season on the mainland, and all proceeds were donated to a good cause, the Autism Tree Project Foundation.
It is one thing to tune the sails and direction of the boat per instruction, and another to adjust accordingly in response to how the wind behaves. As someone who only learned how to tie her first knot at the beginning of this school year, this was a huge revelation. Last quarter’s racing consisted mainly of being buried under the sails and completely overwhelmed as my skipper laughed at me and patiently instructed how I should hold what. Sometimes it resulted in capsizing, or at least perilously a-boat to be. Eventually, I started untangling myself from my mistakes (and sheets) to pop my head up from under the deck and sea for the first time what it is that made my skipper the best in town. Just like a child in a bilingual household innately knows the rules of language, Erika grew up in a sailing family and therefore spoke the language of boat physics and wind. Her depth of understanding for the relationship between the two is so deep, certainly deeper than the depths of Mission Bay, which made her a formidable sailor in the lineup. It is always fun sailing with her because she will say something foreign like, “wind shift,” which meant nothing to me whatsoever in the beginning of the year but now I’m starting to associate the terms with a specific feeling of air movement. Basically, my skipper and my time on the FJ made me start to notice things that I never did before and opened up a whole new perspective for me.
Sailing in the Jeff Simon Memorial Regatta translated the effort from practices into real results and buoy did it feel good! I had the opportunity to sail with several different skippers and they all had their moments; from Jason and I finally getting the roll tack right in the middle of the race (we capsized trying a roll tack before the races began) to Fisher and I beginning the race dead last after missing the whistle but somehow catching half the fleet before we finished. With Erika, we placed third in two of the races; she makes everything look so easy, such smooth sailing, and now I can really appreciate just how awesome she is. All in all, what matters was that we were out there sailing. One could call that sea-zing the day.