Sailing club celebrates victory in latest Regatta

Kayla Aldridge

As the boat wisped through the salty air and zipped across the finish line, juniors Lucie Welles and Will Martens celebrated their first place victory at the Encinal Yacht Club’s Norcal 3 Regatta in Alameda on Oct. 19.

Martens and Welles were among the 16 members of Redwood’s sailing team who attended the regatta.

Redwood sailing isn’t officially listed as a school sport due to liability and safety issues, but it is considered a school club.

While the club cannot mandate members to pay the semester fee of $800, which is put towards regattas, boats, fuel and other costs, many choose to pay the fee. Those who cannot meet the financial standards can request a grant through the Associative Student Body.

Many other schools face the same liability issues as Redwood, so not being considered a sport at school is fairly typical, according to Welles.

Although the school has concerns with the safety of students while sailing, Welles reports that the only injury to take place during her time sailing for Redwood was when her teammate broke his foot after jumping off of a trailer while unloading a boat.

“A lot of bad things could happen––not necessarily for Redwood’s sailing because the boats we sail are pretty simple, but in other types of sailing, it can get really dangerous,” Welles said. “We get a lot of bruises, and sometimes concussions, but that’s about it.”

The sailing club sails Flying Junior boats, one of the more basic models.

Teams and clubs across California, stretching from the North Bay down to Southern California, compete at regatta events. While each school has a different number of boats, six boats typically compete for Redwood.

“For Northern California events, our teams do really well and usually place in the top five, but in all of California events we place in the top ten,” Welles said.

In preparation for an upcoming regatta in Newport, Los Angeles, on Nov. 8 and 9, practices are held three days a week at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.

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According to Martens, the team often does dry land fitness since the weather and wind can be unpredictable.

“If there’s not enough wind, we run three and half miles. We also do push-ups and jumping jacks,” Martens said.

Redwood’s sailing club has grown in size in the past few years, according to junior Chloe Belgum. There are currently 20 members, but not all sailors attend the regattas because some students are not experienced enough to compete.

According to Welles, the team attends regattas nearly every weekend.

The team is coached by Jackson Benvenutti and led by senior captains Ted Bascom and Sarah Bunney.

Redwood Sailing is a year-round club, lasting from the start of fall until the end of spring. Anyone can join, regardless of level of experience.