Urban sailing team: small but mighty

Zoe Meneghetti, Staff Writer

   Cayley Crist (‘17) buckles up her life jacket as she admires the Golden Gate Bridge. Captain Marie Bergsund (‘16) and Hannah Schrank (‘19) bring their sails down to the dock, and Hanna Pierce (‘16) searches for a bailer as she adjusts her sailing gear. The Urban Sailing Team rigs its boats in minutes as if they have done it thousands of times. Schrank said that the team environment is “really fun, everyone is like a big family. Our teamwork definitely shows in the way we practice.”
Sailing copy   However, Urban’s sailing team has not always had such a team-like environment. When the club first started in 2011, it consisted of only one member: Lawson Willard (‘15). Willard remembers his first year: “It was fun, even though no one else from Urban was on the team. I sailed with a girl from Lick who was two years older.”

   In 2012, during Willard’s sophomore year, the club grew from one member to six. Lawson Willard, father of Willard and was a big help in supporting the club, said that the increase of members was because “there were people who sailed previously before coming to Urban.” Thus, the prior experience some students had helped the growth of the sailing program at Urban. Nonetheless, according to founding sailing coach, Adam Corpuz-Lahn, “They (the Urban sailing club) have always been on the bubble of finding enough kids.”  

   Today, the Urban sailing club consists of four members, and the small size of the club brings about some conflict.

   “Because of our small size, we can’t go to every regatta. If one person is gone, we usually can’t go,” said Schrank.

   However, even though Urban’s sailing program is small, the club still continues to place extremely well. Corpuz-Lahn recalls that they had a “fantastic year last year,” as they are currently ranked 16th out of the 260 teams in California.

   To Corpuz-Lahn, it is not only their skill level that stands out, but also the fact that this year, Urban’s sailing program consists of all female sailors.

   Sailing is a co-ed sport, and according to Corpuz-Lahn, all-girl teams are “not something you see a lot in sailing.” Yet, despite its rarity, Willard said “it’s fantastic that it is an all-girls team.”

   When asked about being a part of an all-girls program in a co-ed sport, Schrank said “It’s empowering… We look out for each other; we communicate more; it’s really fun. It would be different if we had guys.”

   According to a survey sent out to the Urban student body, 94 percent of students have never done anything to support the sailing program. However, despite the low fan support, the high dedication level of Urban sailors remains constant. With travel regattas almost every in season weekend and two practices – each almost three and a half hours – every week, members of the sailing program are devoted athletes at Urban.

   Urban’s sailing program has grown a lot since it was first started in 2011, and for any student interested in joining, coach Corpuz-Lahn recommends to “learn how to sail somewhere else, then come try out for the team.” Willard agrees with Corpuz-Lahn and said, “If anyone at Urban is thinking of joining, go out and sail as much as you can.”