SAN FRANCISCO – Stanford sailing captured the Big Sail title as it cruised to a trio of 1-0 victories over California on Tuesday afternoon at the St. Francis Yacht Club in San Francisco.
The regatta, which took place between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz, was originally scheduled as a best-of-three race format but was shortened to a winner-take-all competition due to light winds. The Cardinal claimed victories in the masters, young alumni and varsity divisions.
Despite the light winds and stormy conditions, the Big Sail was an event full of life with multiple generations of Stanford and Cal sailors in attendance, as well as each school’s pep band which provided music and entertainment.
“The conditions weren’t fantastic but the sailing was great,” said Stanford head coach John Vandemoer. “It’s always a fun event when Stanford and Cal come together. There’s so much alumni spirit and so much pride on the line. Certainly Stanford came out big today in the pride category, sweeping all three divisions. I think that’s the first time it’s ever been done and we’re really excited to have that happen.”
It was a family affair for Buckstaff, whose parents Dan and Kathleen competed in the masters division, and older sister Tally was slated to compete in the second round of the varsity competition.
The teams were cheered on by fans as the bands played from balcony of the St. Francis Yacht Club which overlooked the course. Vandemoer noted the excitement from the crowd enhanced the competition experience.
“In our sport we don’t see many crowds or many fans, so to have the band here and hundreds of alumni screaming and yelling for you it’s great, and it’s what these kids deserve for all of their hard work,” he said. “It’s an incredible environment and we look forward to it every year.”
Vandemoer added the event gives alumni an opportunity to reflect on their time competing collegiately and share their experiences with those who raced during a different era.
“This is a unique event to have three generations of alumni out there sailing and competing together and it showcases our sport, and it showcases Stanford and Cal, and what the rivalry is really about,” Vandemoer said. “We compete hard but everybody has a great time … It’s a really neat event and something special all the Stanford alumni can really take pride in.”