Rich Jepsen – Announcement of Transition to Board of Advisors

2013 has been a spectacular year. OCSC has prospered, more than fully recovering from the pains of the Great Recession. Even though it was slow to begin with we got to enjoy a great America’s Cup Summer creating the most exciting sailboat racing that any of us have ever seen. The economy has improved tremendously and helped replace our anxiety about the future with optimism. And, near the end of this great year, I have an announcement to make.

I’ll be transitioning to a more advisory role at OCSC beginning in January. I’ll still be involved, I’ll still lead trips, I’ll be at the club often, and you’ll still see me around. Under Anthony’s leadership, the team that we’ve developed will continue to take on more responsibility for operations (as they have for the last couple of years). Alicia, as our GM, and Joaquin, as our CFO, will help Anthony lead OCSC into the future. I will remain on the OCSC Board of Advisors, a group of volunteer business people who help OCSC with the tough, strategic decisions that help us grow and remain healthy in a changing environment.

This journey has taught me many things; the value of empathy and understanding, the importance of walking the walk, and the critical requirement to treat everyone with respect and compassion. It has also reinforced in me the inherent good natures of human beings. Every day I get to work with extraordinary people, within both the staff and the membership. They have taught me to be a better person and to appreciate all that a productive life can provide.

While I’ve learned many things, the main gift of OCSC is the massive quantity of joy I’ve received through teaching people sailing, mentoring sailors and employees, and simply messing around in boats.

It has often been said by people in the sailing community that “OCSC has the best group of employees that I have seen at any business, anywhere.” I agree 100%. We have assembled a kind, thoughtful, creative, hard-working team. It was often difficult to do and we learned from some big mistakes, but eventually, we got the formula down. That team will continue to take very good care of all of you!

In 1979, when OCSC started with some borrowed boats, a phone and a desk, we had a vision that we would train sailors as family members would train their loved ones and leave no stone unturned in the development of new sailors. 34 years later, OCSC has a built legacy of excellence in sailing instruction, recognized by the sailing community as the best heavy weather sailing school in the country. However, a bigger part of our legacy is the thousands of OCSC students and members who went on to great things in competition, international chartering and blue water cruising. A very talented and experienced St Francis Yacht Club member recently told me, “When we get a new crew on the boat who is newer to sailing, I can always tell immediately if they are from OCSC. How they board, how they make off a cleat hitch, how they manage a winch. They are a pleasure to have aboard.” All of you in the OCSC membership family are special people. You chose OCSC BECAUSE the program was challenging, even though there were easier and cheaper options. You fell in love with the excitement of pure sailing on San Francisco Bay. You developed friendships and relationships with us and with each other that will last decades into the future. I have a fantastic amount of love and respect for you. You have given my life and career meaning through your exploits as sailors.

My plans for the new free time that I’ll have are multifold. I do plan to throw myself into volunteering at US Sailing. It has been my avocation for 20 years and there’s more I want to do to make the world of sail training better. Cecilia and I have plans for more exotic trips, on the water and overland with OCSC. I also plan to come back and teach an occasional course. It’s what got me into this business and I miss it. I’ll also continue to race sailboats with my all OCSC crew…so watch out for the OCSC logo spinnaker out there on the Bay!

Richard Jepsen

Hi. I love sailing.

This Post Has 10 Comments


    Congratulations,Rich. You worked long and hard and deserve a break!
    Best wishes and good luck for the new adventures coming your way

  2. Krist Jake

    You and Anthony have built a wonderful community and an important asset to the larger community. What a team! I’m honored to know you.

  3. Kurt Holland

    Rich taught this young employees far more then sailing skills; I gained a new way of thinking: excellence was not only expected, it was modeled, reinforced, expanded upon through ever increasing chances to excel.

  4. Bob McCarthy

    Congratulations! As many have already testified, OCSC is a very, special place. I am proud to say I learned much of my
    sailing skills while a “Bronze Member” in the Alameda Estuary, and during the transition to your current home in the
    Berkeley Marina. Yes, it was back in 1980, when I first met Anthony, and later, Rich, when he came aboard. I
    remember Anthony explaining his “revolutionary idea” of spreading the love of sailing to the masses … it was truly
    inspiring, and I was hooked! Thanks again for a lifetime of fun and excitement!

  5. Nancy Viebrock

    Congratulations Rich. Thank you. it is always a good feeling to see you at OCSC.
    And congratulations to the fantastic folks you’ve taught who will try to fill your place.

  6. William Poy Lee

    Dear Richard – yeah, all that you said is true: OCSC was my sailing family that firmly, compassionately taught me how to sail and to successfully “navigate” a wide range of sailor personalities (some not nice) by keeping my eyes on the prize – A FUN DAY SAILING TOGETHER!

    Been living in China for 5 years and although now at beautiful Lake Erhai in Dali, Yunnan, no sailing boats here! Will be back soon and will resume sailing with my OCSC family.

    Cheers – William Lee from Southwest China, hard by Laos, Burma, Vietnam, and the TAR

  7. Scott Keck

    Rich – it’s been my pleasure to know you, and OCSC, since 1988. We raced J/24s together, and you never lost your perspective or sense of humor, even on the racecourse. Quite a feat in the J/24 fleet in those days. You always reminded us that while getting a pickle dish or spot on the podium would be nice, what we were out there for was…. Fun. The way you and Anthony have grown and managed OCSC through the years, and the high-quality staff (and members) that style has attracted, speak eloquent volumes about you as a businessman, a sailor, a leader, and a friend. No matter what your official role, OCSC, and the sailors there, will always be a reflection of your good humored charm, respect, and genuine love for sailing and the people you sail with. I can’t think of a more satisfying legacy for you than the thriving docs and classrooms at OCSC Sailing. I hope you and I will have many more chances to share some sailing, (really, we didn’t MEAN to break the boat), and some tall tales back at the bar at the end of a day on the water. Anything I can ever lend a hand with, let me know. Fair winds, my friend.

  8. Jeff Kemp

    All the best on your new endeavors. There comes a time for everyone when, if you possibly can, you need to throttle back and change direction, even if not radically. Otherwise you die in the traces, and that’s not worth contemplating. Recently, my wife and I moved to northwestern Montana, near Glacier Nat’l Park. This place is the jewel of the United States. It was time. By the way, sailing is very popular up here. We have Flathead Lake, the largest natural fresh water lake west of the Mississippi. It’s not S.F. Bay or the Pacific, but it ain’t bad.
    I’ve been associated with OCSC since 1990. I took all of the courses offered and sailing became a a huge part of my life. The courses are rigorous, but so are the conditions. You and Anthony put together a quality program, and I know you went through some very tough times. But you landed on your feet, and seem to have prospered.
    All the best, and if you are ever in Montana, send an email. We would love to see you.
    Jeff Kemp

  9. terry davis

    HI Rich and Congratulations! I agree that the focus on skills separates OCSC from the rest and I’m proud to have been an early student…my son Matt and I started in the ealry 80’s when the Cal 20 was the craft of choice…good luck. Don’t know if Kathy and I will make the BBQ, but I know you’ll make a contribution where ever you participate. Terry.

  10. Bill Gallagher

    Many thanks and congratulations on your graduation!

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