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The Big Sail

Every November, StFYC hosts the Big Sail, just before the big local rivalry college football game, Cal vs. Stanford.

© 2014 Chris Ray

The Stanford Varsity sailing team continued their domination of the California Golden Bears, defeating the Bears for the tenth straight time in the 11th annual Big Sail. Match racing in J/22s provided by St. Francis Yacht Club, the Stanford skipper, Hans Henken, and his crew won the start in both races, and continually had Cal skipper, Stephen Bordes, and his crew off balance. The races were sailed in a 10-knot easterly, with a three-knot ebb flowing, and any mistake was quickly magnified.

Stanford Varsity, with commentator Mike Ratiani (left to right): Hans Henken, Kieran Chung, Max Kohrman, Haley Kirk

© Chris Ray

The situation was much the same in the Young Alumni (under 40) division. Skipper Nick Dugdale and his Stanford crew won two straight races over Blaine Pedlow and his Cal teammates.

Stanford Young Alumni: Ben Pedrick, Oliver Riihiluoma, Katie Riklin, Nick Dugdale

© 2014 Chris Ray

However, in the Master’s division (40-59 years), Cal skipper Liz Baylis and her all-woman crew took two straight wins over the Stanford team, led by Rolf Kaiser. This is the first time that an all-woman crew has competed in the Big Sail.

Cal team Liz Baylis, ’85; Melinda Erkelens, ’86; Stephanie Wondolleck, ’87; and Manon Baze ’90, won the Masters Alumni division.

© 2014 Chris Ray

The Grand Master division was equally lopsided. The Cal team, with skipper Tad Lacey, easily defeated the Stanford Grand Masters, with Peter Szaaz at the helm, in two races.

Commentator Mike Ratiani and and Big Sail co-founder/principal organizer Ron Young posed for a photo with each cheerleading squad.

© 2014 Chris Ray

At the awards ceremony, commentators Mike Ratiani and Ron Young repeatedly asked the competitors how they might explain Stanford’s dominance in the younger divisions, and Cal’s dominance in the older divisions. Cal’s Liz Baylis summed it up this way, "Like a fine wine, Cal sailors get better with age."

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