by Rich Roberts
Rose Bowl Regatta 29th edition is being held on Long Beach in California this weekend. Home for the holidays ... and some serious sailboat racing. That's the mission for many of the nation's best collegiate sailors from 26 schools who will join 63 of California's high school teams on Saturday and Sunday.
Rosebowl Regatta 2013
For the first time, all racing will be off Belmont Veterans Memorial Pier east of downtown in the Long Beach outer harbor.
The event is hosted by the USC Sailing Team and organized by the US Sailing Center of Long Beach.
Because of Alamitos Bay Yacht Club's temporary unavailability during its basin rebuild project, teams will launch their two-person, 13-foot, 3-inch CFJ dinghies off the beach near the base of the pier and race around trapezoid courses, starting at 11 a.m. each day, conditions permitting.
'That sounds pretty cool,' said Steve Hunt, coach of the Point Loma High School team from San Diego that has won the last seven Rose Bowl Regattas in the High School Division.
Rose Bowl? The title honors the traditional college football classic in nearby Pasadena, with Stanford University, ranked fifth nationally, appearing for the second consecutive year to meet Michigan State on New Year's Day, before its sailing team---also ranked fifth nationally---defends last year's victory in the regatta on the weekend.
While East Coast schools currently dominate the top of collegiate sailing, the better teams feature considerable Southern California talent that emerged from this event.
Hunt noted that several of Point Loma's alumni will be represented by 'Kevin Laube at Stanford, Jake LaDow at St. Mary's, Jake Reynolds at Charleston, A.J. Reiter at Georgetown...'
'There are some good East Coast sailors,' Hunt said, 'but in Southern California we can sail year-round, and Mike Segerblom and the PCISA people have set up some amazing junior programs and clinics to develop our talent.'
Tim Hogan, president of the Interscholastic Sailing Association (ISSA), notes, 'This is the 83rd year in existence and our program (High School Sailing) is in great shape. The ISSA has added 100 high school sailing teams in the last five years. We are now up to 465 schools in the country and have approximately 5,000 sailors participating with over 100 Teams in California and Hawaii. Many kids coming out of Southern California have become very talented high school sailors and have gone on to be very successful college sailors. Check the rosters of recent collegiate all-American sailors and college Sailors of the Year and you will find an exceptional amount of Southern California kids. Its good, its growing and it seems to be successful.'
Meanwhile, Segerblom, Executive Director of the U.S. Sailing Center in Long Beach and president of the Pacific Coast Interscholastic Sailing Association, says, 'Some people complain that high school and college sailing in the U.S. don’t do enough to help develop Olympic and America’s Cup level sailing. I would argue that the USA formula for high school sailing, in particular, is promoting continued education. 'College' is a key component of our society and seems to be doing a great job of bringing people (and/or keeping them) in the sport. Mostly I think because we are not just focused on the top sailors but that we try to offer a positive educational, social and competitive experience to all levels of student athletes is a cost effective and attainable format. And, none of this does anything negative to Olympic and AC level sailing.'
With more than 500 people in the regatta and a forecast of fair weather for the weekend, people are encouraged to come down to the beach and the pier to check out the event with the sailors and coaches from the colleges and high schools. La Palapas, Belmont Brewery and Bouy’s on the Pier are popular places to eat and drink while enjoying a beautiful view of the racing.
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