The UC San Diego Sailing Team competed this past weekend in the Mustang Open. With Cal Poly San Luis Obispo as our hosts, the regatta was held in the beautiful picturesque Morro Bay at the Morro Bay Yacht Club. Twenty-nine boats from thirteen schools from across California gathered to compete. UC San Diego brought up three boats and our sailors placed 11th, 14th and 23rd overall making this a competitive, yet exceptionally fun regatta.
Saturday was filled with sun, light wind, heavy current and oddly placed courses. Boats with lighter skippers and crews had the advantage in the light wind. Although heavier boats that could roll tack well quickly made up for it during the race. The current drastically affected the course going downwind and did not help sailors struggling to find wind as they rounded the gate. These conditions stayed relatively the same as the day came to an end. Tired and a smidge cranky, we were heartened with a warm pasta dinner that Cal Poly sailors had made at the Morro Bay Yacht Club.
Sunday was a whole different story. Awakened by the pitter patter of rain, the day looked meek. Thankfully, the rain stopped around 10 AM and the clouds subsided revealing yet another gorgeous day; with one exception, wind. The wind was blowing an unpredictably steady 20 knots with white caps forming in some areas. With the boats rigged, sailors were out on the water awaiting the three-minute whistle. The course was once again set in the most inconvenient of places. This time, the windward mark and offset were placed further into the area with moored boats. The wind fueled every race giving sailors a run for their money. Tacking and jibing became risky business because of how frequent the wind shifts were. During one race, a spectator could literally watch a gust of wind cause the capsize of five different boats all going downwind; toppling over like dominos. Crews were ceaselessly hiking out trying to keep the boat flat while skippers determined the best way to maneuver throughout the course. Rounding marks became hazardous as the proverbial “cluster face up catching kindness” was magnified thanks to the heavy wind. Shouting, yelling, and the sound of boats striking each other hallmarked what it was like at the windward mark. These high speed pursuits came at a cost, however. Two sailors from UC Davis and CSU Channel Islands were sent to the ER for stitches after the wind had caused their jibes to become dangerous. Thankfully no one on our team was seriously hurt.
All in all, with adrenaline pumping through our veins, UC San Diego’s finest sailors emerged more hardened and experienced than ever.