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Eleven top notch skippers earn their spot at the 2022 International Masters Regatta

by San Diego Yacht Club 6 Oct 2022 04:01 PDT 21-23 October 2022
International Masters Regatta © Mark Albertazzi

There comes a point in your sailing career when you are no longer the mentee on board. When you find yourself passing down words of wisdom to those around you. And when you can take a moment to look back on your accomplishments, count your championship titles (and your birthdays), and remember that you're finally eligible for San Diego Yacht Club's International Masters Regatta. Each year, San Diego Yacht Club invites sailors from all over the world who have earned their place on the roster, whether it's National and World Champions, Hall of Famers, or past Olympians.

This year's running of the International Masters Regatta falls on October 21-23, 2022. Traditionally sailed in San Diego Bay, you can expect to see a similar race format from previous years. Eleven skippers will lead their crews through the finish line in a series of races sailed in rotating J/105s.

The 2022 International Masters Regatta Roster:

  • Bill Abbott
  • Thomas Carruthers
  • Nigel Cochrane
  • Augie Diaz
  • Alan Field
  • Annie Gardner
  • Craig Healy
  • Don Jesberg
  • Tad Lacey
  • Philip Lotz
  • Terry McLaughlin

Tad Lacey, Craig Healy, Don Jesberg, Alan Field, and Tom Carruthers all competed in the 2021 Masters and bring with them experience and knowledge of the regatta. However, each skipper invited comes with their own resume of impressive successes, making for intense competition...newbie or not.

Lacey explained, "At the Masters, skipper and crew have an opportunity to race against other top national and international grand master sailors. The competition among the teams is very high. The races are relatively short with the competitors racing in close proximity."

"Come to the Masters to have fun and enjoy the camaraderie of friends you have sailed with and against for many years. San Diego Yacht Club hosts a very fine regatta with good winds and pleasant conditions. The race management on the water is excellent, as are the post-race and shore side activities," added Lacey.

New to the competition, but certainly not to the water, is Nigel Cochrane, visiting us for the regatta from his home in Vancouver, BC. Like many others, Cochrane brings with him an Olympic resume, an impressive crew, and plenty of anticipation to sail.

"I have represented Canada in two Olympic Games - Seoul and Barcelona - and coached three different countries: USA, Canada, and Spain in Beijing, London, and Rio respectively," said Cochrane. In addition, some of Cochrane's most cherished accomplishments include a 4th place finish at the 470 World Championships in 1988, a Gold medal at the 1991 Pan Am Games in Cuba, and a Gold medal at the 1990 Goodwill Games in Seattle.

Cochrane continued, "This event has given RVYC the opportunity to reach across our fleets and accept applications from multiple sailors. We had over 20 members apply to sail the event and a selection committee picked the team. It's a great opportunity to increase the racing level in our fleet, entertain our members who follow the racing and help to motivate our sailors to keep racing for future opportunities in Corinthian events."

The only female skipper on the roster is Annie Gardner - SDYC local. Gardner has crewed in two Masters regattas before and is thrilled to be coming back as skipper. "We have a great team representing SDYC with a Staff Commodore, a current Women's National Match Racing Champion, and some strong, smart talented people who race J/105s all year," she said.

With a simple internet search for Gardner, you can find her Silver medal in the 1984 Olympics in Windsurfing, three world titles in Hobie 16s, an induction into the Windsurfing Hall of Fame 2022, and 20 National and International titles in Boards and Catamarans...just to name a few.

These are only three of the outstanding skippers contributing to the competition.

Philip Lotz, coming from New York, has sailed J/105s for many years. Recently, he won the Grandmaster Team Race Champs in 2017, is owner of Arethusa, one of the first multihulls to compete in the Bermuda Race (2018), came in second in the Etchells Jaguar Series in 2016 and 2017, and came in 8th in the Etchells Worlds in 2014.

Terry McLaughlin recently finished sailing in the Canada's Cup match racing event in IC37s. He sailed three IC37 regattas in Newport, RI this summer, an IOD at Chester Race Week, Catalina 37s in the Butler Cup and Seawanhaka Cup regattas at LBYC and the J/105 when he was able to in Toronto. In addition to Terry's Olympic past and impressive resume of sailing successes, he was the winning skipper of the J/105 North American Championships in 2014, 2016, and 2018.

Bill Abbott is a three-time Soling World Champion, three-time Olympian in Solings, and has earned several North American Soling titles.

Augie Diaz is a returning champion, having won the Masters in 2014. He earned US Sailor of the Year in 2003 and was inducted in National Sailing Hall of Fame in 2021. Diaz is a two-time Snipe and four-time Snipe Masters World Champion, a 2016 Star World Champion, ten-time Snipe National Champion, and six-time North American Champion. Diaz won Silver at the Pan-Am Games in Snipes in 1971 and 2022, and won Bronze in 2015. His lengthly sailing resume proves he has certainly earned a spot in this regatta.

One part of the International Masters Regatta (and the Sir Thomas Lipton Challenge Cup that follows the weekend after) that makes it so unique is the rotation dock floating off to the side of the course. In order to make for an even, fair event, every team rotates boats after each race. To make a boat swap of 65+ sailors on one dock run smoothly takes an army of volunteers.

As explained by Louis Abbott, Rotating Floating Dock Volunteer, two mobile docks are towed at the start of the Masters from SDYC to the course starting location, a 2 hour journey at about 2.5 knots, depending on the tide. Once Race Committee determines the start line location and the general course direction (moving target), they direct the docks where to anchor, typically about 100 yards to the side and a little below the start line. Each morning, volunteers put two large water canisters on the docks with ice so that the racers can refill their water bottles in between races. During race events, the mobile dock volunteers stand by on the docks to help the race teams manage the boat swaps. After each day of each event, the docks are so kindly stored at Fiddler's Cove, saving volunteers over an hour of time each morning.

A huge thank you goes to every volunteer who assists through this process and the entire regatta. Without these volunteers, world-class events like this would not be possible.

JR Young is excited to be chairing the Masters Regatta. "This event has a very special place in my heart. San Diego Yacht Club is very volunteer-driven and it takes dozens of folks to help get the boats ready leading up to race day. And even more to help with the change docks, Race Committee, regatta headquarters, social events...and more. Many of our folks put in 4 to 10+ full days making the Masters and Lipton Cup happen."

"Each year we really work hard to bring the best Master skippers we can, and this year is no exception with an awesome slate of prior Olympians and World and National Champions. I think we'll have some great racing in South Bay this year," finished Young.

While the Masters is known for its epic sailing, it's also known for a weekend of camaraderie and on-shore fun. When you ask the competitors what they're looking forward to, you'll likely get an answer about seeing old sailing buddies and enjoying three days on and off the water with friends.

The weekend kicks off with a San Diego Yacht Club staple evening, the Taste of Point Loma, on Thursday, October 20. Dozens of local food and beverage establishments come ready for hundreds of guests to taste their cuisine, cocktails, and unique flavors. This popular night is being held for its 11th year and is always a great way to start the celebrations of the weekend.

On Friday, races will begin with a 0900 Skippers' Meeting and an 1125 Warning Signal. Following a hopeful 3-5 races, competitors and guests can partake in a Dockside social back at the Club.

After the racing on Saturday, teams are invited to the iconic Masters Banquet, where Skippers often share old tales of the racing days, and maybe even throw a few embarrassing stories about the competition in the room. The final races will conclude on Sunday followed by an Awards Ceremony on the SDYC Main Deck.

Spectators are encouraged to bring out their boats or hop aboard a friend's for one or all of the racing days on the water! Remember to hashtag #sdycmasters when posting about the event!

Notice of Race available [PDF].

Event website:

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