Spring Sailing: Two Weekends In

This photo was taken near the starting line on an antique film camera. Photo Credit: Gabby Savage

With the first two weekends of the spring sailing season completed, UBC has had a busy travel schedule. To start the season in style, Thunderbirds Sailing SC sent five sailors to take in some sun at the annual Peter Wenner Rainbow Invitational hosted by the University of Hawai’iat Mānoa. This past weekend, two members of the executive traveled to Seattle for the annual NWICA Coaching Clinic hosted by The Sailing Foundation. Read on for a recap of both events and a preview of the next month in sailing.

Peter Wenner Rainbow Invite
A staple of the typical UBC TSC Sailing season, the team was happy to return to Honolulu after missing the event last year. Flying out for the weekend of January 20-21, the team went a few days early to check out the sights. While the result of 12th out of 16 was not the height the team was shooting for, two days of tricky racing against high quality competition is always a challenge. UBC sent five sailors, Liam Bontkes, Patrick Croft, Catherine Hackwell, James Hare, and Gabby Savage. The event was by all accounts an amazing experience, although it was perhaps team member James Hare who said it best:

The Peter Wenner Rainbow Regatta held true to its name with a gorgeous double bow

“The weekend was picture-perfect, brochure sailing conditions. Winds were 12 knots, gusting higher with large, regular… almost predictable oscillating shifts. It was–by far–some of the best sailing of my career, both before and during my time with UBC TSC Sailing. Competition was lively, the other teams had excellent sportsmanship, and the race committee ran efficient, clean races with great mark placements. The UBC gang was certainly rusty from 2 months of not sailing, which showed in our day 1 results. However, I was really proud to see us climb in the ranks as the weekend wore on. It was the kind of racing where calculated risks won the gold. The best teams were the most consistent.

“Liam, Patrick, Gabby, and Catherine were amazing people to travel and race with. Everyone went in with a positive attitude. Patrick was team dad, as usual, while I was handing out granola bars and filling water bottles to keep everyone happy. Gabby’s knack for exploration and photography ensure not a moment was wasted. Liam kept us all laughing. Constantly. And Catherine turned out to be a fantastic road trip singer and a fiery racer. I’m going to remember my Hawai’i regatta experience forever. I like to live by the adage; “it’s the people, not the place”, and while Hawai’i was gorgeous, it was the UBC team and our camaraderie that truly made this a special trip for me”
James is in his second year on the team. He currently studies engineering.

[Left to Right] Richard Minielly, Andrew Nelson (The Sailing Foundation coach and educator), Jonah Cadieux-Johnson

Coaching Clinic
In an important trip to a much less exciting locale, Co-Club Lead Jonah Cadieux-Johnson and Marketing and Communication Executive Richard Minielly made the drive to Seattle this past weekend to take part in an annual coaching and programme development clinic put on by The Sailing Foundation and hosted by Mount Baker Rowing and Sailing Club. With UC Santa Barbara coach Brad Shaupeter as guest speaker the first day discussing his experience leading the team from near extinction to its current success. The advice shared between Brad and all of the NWICSA teams present generated some great ideas that UBC TSC Sailing plans to start implementing soon. Leading into the NWICSA spring meeting that evening, the general vibe of the weekend was hope and promise for the future. On Sunday, Oracle Head Rigger and Olympia, WA product Jeff Causey gave a keynote address on his takeaways from getting into professional sailing and being a part of an America’s Cup winning campaign. After a few more workshops, Jonah and Richy headed back to Vancouver Sunday afternoon to relay the best ideas of the weekend.
Coming up in sailing:
Jeff Mixdorf Regatta @ Western Washington University Feb 3-4
NWICSA Clinic @ UW Feb 10-11
And as always, if you feel inclined to donate to your UBC Thunderbirds Sailing Sport Club, please follow this link or feel free to reach out to us at any time at sailing.sc@ubc.ca. Your donations go a long way to helping shape the lives of our sailors.
Article by Richard Minielly