OCSC Sailing CEO Rich Jepsen is an avid J24 racer, holding the position of ‘driver’ on the J24, Rail to Rail, owned by Thom Henneberger, an OCSC alumnus. Together, Rich and Thom have been sailing together for 13 years, always with a crew of OCSC alumni. They’ve always been near the top of the fleet, winning the season championship in 2003. In fact, Rail to Rail has been a development platform for skilled OCSC members to learn one-design racing. Larry Ledgerwood learned to sail from OCSC over two decades ago, qualifying to be an OCSC sailing instructor in 2000; Trena Depel has been an OCSC member for 11 years and Carol Click, 7 years. Following are reports from their 2009 regattas, from Rich’s perspective.
Rail to Rail finished in a numerical tie for first place in the 2009 Spring Keel Regatta! We tied another top boat filled with OCSC alumni, TMC Racing, owned and skippered by Michael Whitfield. Michael is a former client from the early 80s, long time instructor and manager and current great friend.. Michael and his team have competed in numerous regattas in North America, including the J24 World Championships in Mexico in 2007, getting a very respectable top half finish, so TMC Racing is a formidable competitor.
Team Rail to Rail sailed a very consistent regatta but had only 1 race win to 2 for TMC Racing, which placed us second in the tiebreaker. As you can see from the photo, the sun was shining brightly. With a very strong ebb current and the wind westerly, the windward legs were very quick as we all stayed in the strongest current upwind. And, going down wind, there was lots of discussion on every boat about how to find relief from the ebb without sailing too far from the rhumb line to the leeward mark. Rail to Rail had a chance to win the regatta when, in the final race, TMC Racing was early to the start and required to return to restart. As we sailed away with a perfect start, we quickly calculated that we needed to put three points between us and TMC Racing to win the regatta. In one of the most exciting finishes of my sailing career, we were nosed out at the finish line by another OCSC alumni boat, Small Flying Patio Furniture, skippered by Ned Walker, to prevent us from winning the regatta. Great Sailing by both Ned to catch us and Michael to claw his way back into contention.
Two weekends later, it’s the Big Daddy Regatta, hosted by Richmond Yacht Club and sailed on the Olympic Circle.. Not as much current to address here, of course, but plenty of shifting winds to make it interesting.. this was a single day regatta, with three races in one day.. Rail to Rail sailed very consistently and had three very workmanlike second place finishes.. Unfortunately, our friends on TMC Racing had three firsts! Arrgh!