Two Weekends, Two Wins; UBC TSC Sailing Starts the Year with a Bang

After the first two major regattas of the season, UBC Thunderbirds Sailing Sport Club Athletes both rookie and senior have achieved success, with the potential for more in the next few days. With an expanded roster and lots of new talent, the team is excited for the potential for growth this year as the talented young sailors develop with the more experienced team members to reach for our highest goals. Keep reading below for a rundown of what’s happened so far.



NWICSA Singlehanded Qualifiers

September 23-24, UBC Thunderbirds Sailing SC sent four sailors to race in Shilshole Bay, Seattle for the conference championship in Lasers. The regatta was exceptionally light all weekend, making for some tense and often frustrating racing. With a National Championship birth at stake, every point counted as the best of the Northwest went head to head.


For the men, rookie Benjie McMaster (’21) was competing in his first ever collegiate regatta, coming from a Laser background at the Royal Vancouver Yacht Club. After finishing Saturday 1 point behind University of Washington for the lead, with an all-important protest against UW pending, Benjie knew he needed at least one great race on Sunday. Luckily the wind came up just enough for a single race, and Benjie moved to the lead, winning the regatta. After racing, UW lost their protest, cementing UBC’s victory. This win qualified UBC for ICSA Men’s Singlehanded Nationals, but the birth has been forfeited due to scheduling conflicts.


In the women’s event, senior Gabby Savage (’18) competed in the same frustrating conditions. While her results were largely in the top 3, Gabby ended up in 4th for the competition, behind three boats competing for University of Washington. Racing for the women’s fleet was confined to only Saturday, as the wind prevented any racing on Sunday.


Teammates James Hare and Patrick Croft also attended as Safety Officer and Chauffeur, respectively. The pair had a fun weekend cheering the racers on and providing support however they could. The team wants to thank the University of Washington for hosting and wishes them luck at ICSA Singlehanded Championships later this fall!





NWICSA Match Race Championships

UBC and West Vancouver Yacht Club co-hosted this event September 30-October 1 with racing taking place in the gorgeous waters of Howe Sound. Four teams raced, with Oregon State University, Western Washington University, and University of Washington driving up to take part in the conference championship regatta. The team of skipper Joseph Gustafson (’18), bow Elmeri Hakkinen (’18), main/spin trimmer Richard Minielly (’20), and alternating Eleanor Hawkins (’19) and Gabby Savage (’18) on jib/pit put forward their best effort as a keelboat team on the J/22s. The event could not have been such a success without the amazing volunteer efforts put in by Jenn Ross, Rick Hatch, Tim O’Connell, Craig Daniels, and Dave Cramb on the racecourse and Dale and West Vancouver Yacht Club’s willing support. The team would like to thank them for all of their hard work in putting on this event.


In the first day of racing, UBC went 3-0 in the first round robin, followed by OSU who went 2-1 to take a tight second. One race of the second round robin was also completed on Saturday, with UBC beating OSU in an incredibly light wind race that was ultimately shortened at the leeward mark. Racing continued on Sunday with UBC going 1-1 to close out the double round robin series, losing to UW. A best of three knockout round then took place between top ranked UBC and 2nd place University of Washington. UBC won the first race, capitalizing on a spinnaker tangle by UW, but fell victim to the same spinnaker issue in the second race after falling behind on the first upwind. The entire regatta came down to one final race, run in a 10 knot westerly that was some of the best wind of the weekend. UBC had a strong start close to leeward and managed to force UW to the disadvantaged right side. From there it was a matter of close cover around the course which UBC managed to turn into a modest lead, winning the race. Competition was tough from both boats and the friendly rivalry will continue next weekend at Cascadia Cup.


With its victory at this conference championship, UBC qualified for a spot at the ICSA National Match Race Championships in November. UBC will not be attending and declined the spot, leaving it to University of Washington. The team wishes them the best of luck as they take on the best schools from each conference!



Coming up… Cascadia Cup, Stoney Burke, Outlaw, and CICSA Canadian Nationals

In the next few weeks UBC Thunderbirds Sailing SC will be busy, with regattas nearly every weekend. The team hopes to continue its winning streak, and is also excited to get our large rookie class out on the race course. Check out our schedule for full details of upcoming events and be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram for frequent updates!



Article by Richard Minielly