Thursday, December 19, 2013

Team Celebrates 75th Anniversary at Annual Banquet

On Saturday, December 14th, the Michigan Sailing Team celebrated its 75th anniversary in style with the annual banquet, taking place in the Michigan Union. After over a year of planning, including America’s Cup winner Gary Jobson providing a keynote address, the night went off without a hitch, from the silent auction to the emotional senior speeches. The night offered to the parents and alumni a fantastic glimpse into the organizational aptitude possessed by the team members, in addition to highlighting achievements from the team’s season on the water. 

The attendance of the banquet was slightly hampered by a winter storm that left roads
2013 Michigan Sailing Team
into Ann Arbor slick and icy, but Mr. Jobson rewarded those who attended with an excellent presentation. Anecdotes tied to the University of Michigan and the sailing world left the audience laughing and in awe. (who knew Gary Jobson, a world class sailing commentator, was the one who initially announced Desmond Howard’s NFL draft position?) Of course, the America’s Cup was a huge topic for Mr. Jobson as well, having taken part in 5 of them and commentating for ESPN and NBC on the subsequent editions of the Cup. His culmination of the America’s Cup and personal sailing stories provided the sailors and their families with not only advice on continuing sailing careers, but offered valuable life lessons as well.

We were also fortunate enough to be joined by Mr. William C. Martin, the previous Athletic Director at the University for 10 years. His ties to the University and the sailing world made him a wonderful addition to the audience, of which he said he was “extremely happy to be a part of” (Bill had no problem giving up the mic to Gary for the night).

Gary Jobson with the team
The team deserved all of the praise regarding the success on the water this past season. A 1st place finish in an ICSA national championship at the John. F. Kennedy Cup regatta was the highlight, with 1st place finishes in the MCSA match race championship and the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta taking center stage as well. It was nice to be able to flaunt those finishes, among others, to our important guests. In addition, our individual award winners included: Most Valuable Skipper- Ryan Seago '14, Most Valuable Crew- Karinne Smolenyak '14, Most Valuable Freshman- Alex Ramos '15, Sportsmanship- Tom Etheridge '16, Most Improved- Allison Bradley '16, and the David Elwood Award- Zach Frankel '15.

The night was an impressive showcase for our capital campaign as well, with the seemingly impossible goal of $100,000 coming ever closer. As a student-run group with very little financial contribution from the University, sights were set on potential donations from the families and alumni in attendance. The banquet did not disappoint as the team earned a great deal of money from donations and the silent auction.

The 75th anniversary banquet was a special night for not only the seniors and their families, but for the team as a whole. Having Mr. Jobson and Mr. Martin in attendance and being able to share with them our fantastic finishes for the season was incredible for improving the visibility and competitive nature of our team. It was an excellent way to step back and be proud of the achievements we’ve made in the past year. Go Blue!
-Jason Doyle '14