UCLA Sailing Team

2010 PJ Wenner Rainbow Invite, Hawaii
Feb 15 2010

Although the team didn’t do much sailing on thursday, January 14th, first year teammate Linda Wennerstrom earned teammate of the day honors by scoring 8 free airport food vouchers, good for 15 bucks at any airport eatery! This years trip to the PJ Wenner Rainbow Invite literally started out with a bang, as the plane broke and the team got to spend a bonus five hours in the airport terminal with none other than the entire USC sailing team. Rad.

After the short delay, the team was in good spirits and on the ground in Hawaii, where we piled into a rental van and headed for the home of the one and only REIN ZANE. After a couple thousand wrong turns, we found the new apartment, set our alarms for 9, and crashed for the night.

Why do we have to go to Hawaii every year? One reason: it’s not everday that you get to hike a mountain, climb a 30 foot waterfall, and plunge into a tropical freshwater pool before a sailing practice. We followed the lead of our fearless commander, captain Mark Ander, who was the first to jump off the waterfall after an encouraging chorus of “quit being a bitch!” cheers from the bystanders below. After a few jumps, we headed to the sailing center for practice.

The 10-15 knot breeze was coming from the usual direction, and each pair got about 5 practice races in the fleet of about 20. The practice day was hugely important, as we had spent the better part of the last two weeks practicing in 0-5 knots. Mark Anders and Neha Bazaj had a couple of standout races in practice, and we all went back to Rein’s hopeful for the next day.

The wind on Saturday was quite a bit lighter, around 8 knots but with big puffs and huge shifts. Racing that day was incredibly tricky, as a different side of the course appeared to be favored every race. “I couldn’t seem to sail on the lifted tack,” said a frustrated Anders as he came off the water. Garrett’s advice for sailing off of sand island was to pick a side and stick it, but that was hard to do with big pileups at both the boat and the pin at the starts. Junior women’s skipper Shannon Walker and crew Lea Cohen appeared to be the only ones who could figure it out, starting the day well with 7th and 8th place finishes.

After a frustrating first day, Sunday provided us with a change of scenery, with a light, 5-8 knot breeze from a completely different direction. Strange as it was, the wind stuck around all day and was a lot steadier and more predictable than it had been the day before. Jasklowski and Woo-Kawaguchi changed their strategy on day 2, opting for conservative starts in clear air rather than fighting for the favored end of the line. They were rewarded with some consistency, finishing int the top 8 four times on day two, and in the top 5 twice. Anders and Bazaj also found a little more success on Sunday, and the coed team finished with 122 points in each division, enough for 14th overall. The women’s team was just three spots back in 17th.

Although we’ve had better results in the past, the annual trip to Hawaii was no less fun than it had been in years past. We were treated to gorgeous weather, awesome sailing, and the hospitality of our favorite host, Rein. Can’t wait until we’re back for coed PCCs in April.