Top 10: Best Sailing Moments of 2015

2016 is here, and with it another great year of sailing is officially over. In the last 12 months the CSULB Sailing Association has built on its successful 60-year maritime tradition in Long Beach and has continued to create sailing opportunities for the campus community. 

This year the club provided beginner sailing instruction to more than 150 new sailors, sponsored weekly activities for its membership, and donated its time to community service projects. Thanks go out to our faculty advisor and instructor Carol Lyon, our two student commodores Tatiana Misares and Kyle Henneberque, our staff Dennis Trombley and Charlie Abbott, student officers and everyone else who played a role in 2015’s success. 

We’re excited to continue the momentum in 2016, but before we turn the page, let’s take a look back at the Top 10 sailing moments 2015 will be most remembered for…..


#11 / Mission Bay Weekend Canceled for First Time Ever (May 15)

A bonus entry to the list, this year marked the first time in club history that our annual 4-day weekend in Mission Bay, San Diego was canceled. One of the few rainstorms to hit Southern California last spring just happened to arrive the night before the trip, and flash floods closed the campground and bay and forced us to abandon our plans. Probably the most disappointing moment of the year but, since it’s such an important part of the calendar, its absence deserves mention.


#10 / Boxing Day Race (Dec 26)

Once again the club entered ABYC’s annual Boxing Day Race. The December 26 event was a “pursuit” race that gives slower class boats a headstart and challenges faster class boats to catch and pass them. This year we entered four Capri 14.2 boats and one Shields. Carol Lyon and skipper Dennis Trombley finished 25th overall on our Shields Isabelle, while our four Capris finished 41/42/t-44/t-44 overall. Jaime Rosier and skipper Chris Hill won the Capri 14 class. The event was a great way to end the year and to officially kick off our Top 10 list.

Read more here. | See photos here.


#9 / New PFDs at Last! (Nov 12)

This year the club officially retired our old red PFDs and purchased new vests from West Marine. The new PFDs — appropriately black and gold — were funded through a grant from the California Division of Boating and Waterways (DBW). The reviews are in and they are unanimous: “We love ’em!” While the red vests were still safe to use, years of wear and bay water made them an unattractive sailing accessory. Photos on our group message board Scuttlebutt date the familiar red vests as far back as 2006, and everyone is happy they’re a thing of the past.


#8 / Holiday Kayak & Party (Dec 20)

An annual tradition that dates back more than a decade, our end-of-the-year kayak paddle and club party is one of the highlights of the holiday season. The December 20, 2015 paddle had the biggest turnout in recent memory, with 13 kayaks in the water and six people following in the Seacraft. The group headed through the Naples canals to check out the local Christmas lights then went back to Leeway to feast on all the food brought as part of the “potluck” dinner. 

More photos here.


#7 / Hobie Havoc & Broken Mast Award: Gwynn for the Win! (Jul/Sep)

For the first time in eight years the club’s “Broken Mast Award” changed hands after Gwynn Markle was awarded the trophy on September 5, 2015. Club instructor Charlie Abbott nominated Gwynn for the award after Gwynn’s Hobie-18 capsized and was damaged in heavy breeze during an attempted group catamaran sail to Cabrillo Beach in July. “Hobie Havoc” ended quickly, but not before two boats capsized and one smartly pulled a 180 at Island Chaffee. Gwynn’s boat and crew came back safe and sound, albeit cold, wet and under tow.

The award is reserved for club skippers who, in the face of adversity on the water, show leadership and keep their crews safe (such as during a capsize and broken mast). The previous owner of the award was Doug Alberg, who was given the trophy in August 2007 after heavy air dismasted our Shields Dark Horse during a return sail from Newport Beach to Long Beach. Let’s hope for another 8+ years of sturdy masts and for Gwynn to hold on to the award for a very long time!


#6 / Tatiana Sails in Farr40 Worlds (Sep 24-27)

Last September, CSULB Sailing entered the international yachting circuit when club member Tatiana Misares sailed in the Rolex Farr40 World Championship in Long Beach. For four days Tatiana and her team on Long Beach-based “Temptress” mixed it up with some of the world’s top amateur and professional racers, finishing 13th overall and 5th in the “Corinthian” class.

While technically not a club event, our former commodore represented CSULB Sailing and successfully managed to raise the club’s profile by scoring a headline on the CSULB Daily 49er’s website, a feature in its newspaper, and plenty of social media buzz.

Read more here. | See photos here.


#5 / Shields Cup in Monterey (May 1-3)

Speaking of races, CSULB Sailing was welcomed into the National Shields Class this year with an invite to sail in the Shields Great Lakes – Ocean Challenge Cup. The event was held over three days in Monterey, California and invited all Shields fleets to send one crew to compete. Representing Fleet #20, CSULB members Tatiana Misares, Charlie Abbott, Mike Fratantoro and skipper Mossy Kennedy made the trip to Central California and went head-to-head with some of the top Shields sailors in the country. 

While not much went right on the water for the CSULB boat (5th of five boats), the resounding takeaway by the four crew was positive and helped build the foundation for summer Shields racing at ABYC and Seal Beach Yacht Club.

Read more here. | See photos here.


#4 / Three New Shields Skippers, One New Commodore

Every year sees a handful of dedicated CSULB sailors inducted into the Shields skipper ranks and 2015 was no different. This year we had three members earn their skipper privileges: David Woerner (March), Jake Hawkins (July), and Kyle Henneberque (September).

All three earned their Shields stripes while serving as club officers, after Kyle was named 2015-16 club commodore when 2014-15 sailor-in-chief Tatiana Misares stepped down from the position in July. Tatiana’s term as commodore was arguably the club’s most successful, with dozens of events, new connections established at all the local yacht clubs, and the Shields fleet racing almost weekly in Long Beach and also competing in Monterey. She set the bar high but Kyle has hit the ground running and has provided an equally steady hand on the “helm” thus far.


#3 / Seal Beach Pop Tops: Denito by a Nose! (Jun 25)

For 12 weeks this summer, CSULB sailors crewed our Shields in Seal Beach Yacht Club’s “Pop Tops” races. Held every Thursday evening, CSULB participated in three of the five series (11 races) but the most drama-filled night of Pop Tops sailing was certainly June 25, 2015. That night, Team “Denito” edged out Team “Strong Beach” by two-thirds of a boat length to win the 4th and final race of Series Two, a win that propelled Gwynn Markle, Robert Munroe, John Majkut, and skipper Dennis Trombley to series victory (and a plaque).

But the drama didn’t end last summer. One final undecided race remains in Series Three, as all three boats were forced to sit out the final contest on July 23rd due to repairs to Karen’s mast. All three teams have an equal chance of winning the unfinished series, which means whoever takes the final “grudge match” will take the last trophy. If and when the race happens remains to be seen. 

Read more, see photos here.


#2 / Presidential Group Sail (Dec 5)

CSULB President Dr. Jane Close Conoley joined the sailing club on December 5, 2015 for a special Shields group sail. In addition to President Conoley and her spouse, the club hosted dean of students Dr. Jeff Klaus (and spouse) and dean of Health & Human Services Dr. Jim Koval (and spouse). Over 20 club members sailed the Shields fleet through Alamitos Bay accompanied by 10 of Carol’s beginner students on our Capri fleet. Not even the light winds could put a damper on the event, as the President and Deans all showed their support for the club and assured us they would help our recruitment and program efforts going forward. 

Read more here. | See photos here.


#1 / CATALINA! (Mar 30 – Apr 2)

Four days of beautiful weather. Private campground. Free kayaks. Hiking. Wakeboarding. Snorkeling. Campfire food. And the largest group ever to make the trip. Those are just a few of the reasons why 2015 was the club’s best trip to Catalina, ever. After a long sail to Two Harbors through some rough seas, everyone made the best of their time on the island, packing in every activity imaginable. It’s difficult to single out any one moment of the trip as the best, but it’s easy to say future Spring Breaks sure have a lot to live up to!

See a boatload of photos here!


Do you agree with the list? Are there other Top 10 moments that got left out? What are your own most memorable moments for sailing in 2015? Let us know in the comments below, or better yet head to our club Facebook page and post your own Top 10:

Thanks for reading. Get involved next year and help us create even more unforgettable sailing moments in 2016! Go Beach!

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