Your Name Here Regatta
Josh Gilliland, General Chairman of the Sea Scout Ship Gryphon, Redwood City, CA has come up with a brilliant idea. For the qualifier for the Koch Cup, the Sea Scout Championship, they have titled the regatta the “Your Name Here Regatta” which will be held at Sequoia Yacht Club in Redwood City, July 25th of this year. The idea is, the winner of this year’s event will not only get their name on the trophy and qualify for the Koch Cup later in the summer but they will also receive naming rights to the event. For example, The Jim Cool Regatta 2010, How cool is that!
Back in the dark ages, when I was the commodore of the Michigan State Sailing Club we created a regatta and named it the Bi-Sex Classic. Social activities included a pig roast and a slip and slide set up to go down the front lawn of the house where I lived with 7 other sailors and which was essentially the sailing fraternity house. The name and the shore side activities were designed to push the limits, as one does when you are first away from home and totally on your own for making decision but the concept was solid and authentic. Collegiate sailing usually sends an A and a B team. Often, and even more so then, the skippers were male and the crew were 110lb women. Our concept, due in part to the fact that I was a skipper and with full disclosure, have never weighed 110lbs, was that each team had to have at least two women on their team and one had to be a skipper, simple, fun and for the times, pushing the limits.
This was also a time when in the established world of regattas that nearly every class had a World Championship, especially in America, home of apple pie and baseball and yes the “World Series”. There were events such as the North America 40 World Championships held in Harbor Springs, MI. Not sure that there were even NA 40s outside of the Great Lakes let alone around the world.
The rest of the world started laughing at and/or copying these regattas and the whole concept and honor of being an actual world champion was negated. Without any standards the 470 World Champion had the same title as the homemade Cocoanut Boat World Champion with a regatta held off of a beach at the Bitter End Yacht Club. Eventually, ISAF (at that time IYRU) stepped up and put some standards in place and required that World Championships are reasonably perceived to actually be a World Championship. Not to be daunted, and pretty much immediately, creative sailors everywhere came up with facetious regatta names like the J-24 Intergalactic Championships complete with very cool t-shirts.
I wonder what the next phase in creative regatta names will be? Either way, I love the fact that sailing is an established sport, with traditions and norms that exist in complete harmony with uber individualist and creative sailors. Isn’t it fun!