After completing one race today, the Cal Maritime Keelhaulers have locked up fifth place overall in the ’10 Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle. Although the race committee took the spinnakers out of the sailors hands in the 20-knot, big wave conditions, the team was able to finish fifth in what would turn out to be the final race of the regatta. As the first West Coast team ever to represent the U.S. at this 30-year-old regatta, the team did a great job despite having to work through setbacks like a broken jib car — for which they did not receive redress — and having to learn a boat — the Grand Surprise 32 (aptly named, btw) — that you just won’t find anywhere in America. So give a shout-out to skipper John Gray, tactician Sean Kelly, Jessica Bernhard, Cole Davis, Sara Himes, Sebastien Laleau, Thor Proulx, Kyle Vanderspek, Matt Van Rennselaer and Evan Wannamaker.
As it stands now, the team has been able to raise only about half the cost of the trip, so take a moment to visit their blog (linked above) and drop a few bucks to help them out; every little bit helps. We’re constantly talking to Cal Maritime alumni who play key roles in the sailing scene as boat owners, pro sailors, and crew, so if you fall in any of those categories, or just want to help ’em out a little, please do so. We can attest to the fact that those on the team who we’ve met are really good sailors and good people. Also worth mentioning is that the school has put the same amount of effort into making the sailors’ campaign visible as the sailors have put into preparing for it; the entertaining and informative blog entries have been well worth the time and pretty unusual for a college sailing program.