Over 200 sailors from across the West Coast gathered at Lake Isabella, located in California’s Kern River Valley, last weekend for a regatta hosted by UCSB. Seventeen schools from San Diego to Washington and out to Hawaii competed in the two-day regatta, which was the first to be hosted by UCSB.
UCSB finished seventh overall, but in total points it was closer to first-place Hawaii than to eight-place San Diego.
“We were really competitive, neck and neck with some of the best teams in the country in A division,” third-year crewmember Courtney Careccia said.
The regatta was divided into four divisions. Racers in the A and B divisions sailed two-person boats called FJs, while the C and D divisions consisted of smaller one-person boats called Lasers. The Gauchos were only one point behind first-place Hawaii in the A division, but were brought down by a weaker showing in B and C.
“The difference between first and second place is tactics and boat-handling,” Careccia said. “Every move has to be executed perfectly so that you get the most speed out of your boat.”
Five of the six teams that finished ahead of UCSB are nationally ranked Division I programs, while the UCSB team is a self-funded club sport.
Not only was this the first time the Gauchos hosted a regatta, but it was also the first time that any club sports team had hosted one. UCSB handled all of the administrative details; everything from getting permits to use the lake to setting up campgrounds for over 200 people. Last weekend was also the first time that a regatta had ever been held at Lake Isabella.
“Since it was on a lake that none of our teams had ever sailed on, it was very fair,” Careccia said.
UCSB will continue its season in a Long Beach regatta hosted by USC on Jan. 8 and 9.