Nov. 11, 2009
For Megan Grove, a Senior Human Biology major from Lafayette, California, whose favorite athletes include Tiger Woods, Roger Federer, and Venus Williams, the past three seasons of collegiate sailing have been the source of some of her favorite memories. The Senior co-captain of the Stanford Sailing team sat down with GoStanford to discuss her love of sailing, Stanford Sailing logistics and the upcoming Big Sail versus Cal.
What brought you to Stanford Sailing?
My Dad grew up sailing and enrolled me in beginning sailing classes when I was 7. We moved to California and I participated in junior sailing and then sailed on the high school circuit. While competing in the Rose Bowl regatta during my freshman year of high school, I heard the Stanford team and coaches talk about Stanford sailing... I knew that if I was lucky enough to get into Stanford, I wanted to sail on the team.
Describe the team dynamics of Stanford Sailing:
There are 25 people on the team, but several are abroad this quarter. This year we are excited to have twelve new sailors including eight walk-ons. We are on the water Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and some Fridays, depending on whether we are traveling. We share the boathouse with the Crew team and it's such a great atmosphere. One of the best things about sailing is that it's all about teamwork. It's both about the teamwork within your own boat, as well as within the whole team. In regattas, when one boat gets off of the water after their race, it is really helpful to have the support and advice of your teammates regarding the sailing conditions.
How do you practice for regattas?
The boats we sail most of our events in are called FJs and 420s, which are about 14 feet long. We sail these with two people, a skipper and a crew, and there are two sails. During practice we often get to sail with different people which is great for learning new things. Throughout the week, we work on many different aspects of a race by using focused drills and practice races. Sometimes, for instance, we will warm up without using the rudder, which is what the skipper uses to drive the boat, so that we can focus on timing, proper sail trim, and body weight placement. So much of having great boat speed depends on boat balance and teamwork within the boat, so this kind of drill is great for that. My favorite way to practice for regattas is through practice races, because you are able to try out different things and push each other. Our practice races are always really competitive which is really exciting; we all improve when we practice against each other.
What is the best coaching advice you have received?
Maintain a positive attitude, work hard and the results will speak for themselves
What is your favorite non-sailing collegiate memory?
I spent last Fall studying in Australia with the Bing Overseas Program. Our Bing trip was touring the Sydney Opera House, eating dinner in the Opera house and seeing a show!
Why do you love sailing?
Sailing is both physical and tactical. There is so much strategy involved in a regatta: What side of the race course should you be on? Where should you place yourself on the starting line to get there? Where are the other boats? What is the next wind shift going to be? It's also very physical. You have to know how to make your boat go fast, you can't lose speed, and you need to have confidence in your boathandling maneuvers. I love sailing in these boats because having two people is extremely helpful when dealing with these questions and keeping each other calm throughout the race! Sailing is really a lifelong sport. It's a great outlet and so much fun, and the friendships you make with your teammates and competitors are amazing. It's not just about the competition, but as long as you are near a body of water, there will always be regattas and opportunities to sail. For this reason, I will always need to live near the water!
Finally, you are hosting the Big Sail competition at the St. Francis Yacht Club in November, what is so special about this Regatta?
As a senior, I am so excited for the 17th Big Sail versus Cal. The St. Francis Yacht Club is a great venue for watching the racing; it is right on the water, in front of the Golden Gate Bridge. The band will be there this year, which will be fun for both the crowd and us. The current and the big breezes are very important and challenging factors, which makes sailing there so exciting...we hosted Nationals at this venue last year which proved for some great racing. Cal actually practices at Treasure Island, so they know the water as well as we do-- it should be an exciting regatta and a great part of Big Game week!
--- Elizabeth Clair for GoStanford.com---