Freshmen Success on Varsity Sailing

Freshmen Lilly Hocke and Luke Marshall joined Varsity Sailing this fall.  “[I became interested in sailing] when I was younger,” Hocke said. “I would go to my lake house in Pine Crest, near Yosemite. And my dad and I would race sailboats up there.” Marshall became interested in sailing three years ago, taking classes with friends over the summer at the Sausalito Yacht Club. Already familiar with sailing, Hocke didn’t have to take additional classes—like other members often did—to join varsity.

Hocke and Marshall have already learned new strategies this season from their first year on the team. “I’ve learned how to tie different knots, and role tacking,” Hocke said. “And [I’ve learned] how to sail Flying Juniors (FJ), a type of sailing dinghy. Cause in the summer, we sail Lasers, not FJs,” she said. However, FJs are small and “can fall over a lot if it gets windy,” Marshall said when explaining the concept of capsizing, “[but] it’s not very hard to get your boat back up and start sailing again.”

Coming off of strong spring and fall seasons, Hocke and Marshall enjoyed the team’s last regatta in Long Beach on the weekend of April 22. Tam sailing frequently attends regattas on the weekends, most of which are located in Southern California, but they also compete with local schools like Redwood, Marin Catholic, and St. Ignatius. They compete all over California, regardless of distance. “Sometimes we take planes,” Marshall said. “It depends how far away. If they’re close, we’ll just load the boats on a trailer and someone will drive there. But if it’s far way, we just fly and get boats from somewhere else.”

Both Hocke and Marshall believe that Redwood is at the top of the sailing competition. “I know Redwood has ranked high [this season],” Hocke said. Even though he could not accurately compare this season to last (this being his first year), Marshall believes that finding students with more experience at racing will help improve the Tam team. “Redwood is really good at racing,” he said, because “they have kids who have been sailing awhile.”

Hocke and Marshall attribute much of the team’s success to Renee DeCurtis, coach of both Tam’s Varsity and Junior Varsity sailing teams at the Sausalito Yacht Club. According to Marshall, Coach DeCurtis “does a lot of drills and gives us what to practice so we can work on what we need to, to get better for racing and starts and strategy.” “She’s been sailing her whole life,” Hocke said. “And she has an answer to everything.”

Marshall feels incredibly close with others on varsity, “especially since it’s the end of the year,” he said. He has a similar relationship with Junior Varsity, Marshall claimed. “I’m a freshman and a lot of the other freshmen are on JV. So I know them, just by being in the same classes as them. There’s even one day where we have shared practices.”

Hocke recalls Half Moon Bay as one of her favorite regattas. “It was just the freshmen on Varsity who went to it,” she said, being the first ever regatta they won as freshmen, “we had really good wind and we were all psyched and pumping each other up,” she said.

Hocke and Marshall expressed the desire to continue sailing throughout high school, and may even play other Tam sports simultaneously. Their high-caliber dedication to Varsity Sailing should serve as a model for future Tam students interested in trying out.