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The Harbor Report: Interesting sailors in our midst

November 08, 2011|By Len Bose
  • Jack Cannon, 87, started racing Cal 20s in Newport Beach in 1962, and over the last 50 years, he has consistently remained active.
Jack Cannon, 87, started racing Cal 20s in Newport Beach… (Contributed )

At the end of this month, I will be announcing Newport Harbor's 20 most interesting boats.

While I was gathering information for this year's story I thought it would be fun to do a story on the harbor's two most interesting sailors this year.

Limiting this list to two people was not easy, but the more I thought about it, the easier it became. The two sailors who grabbed my attention this year are Jack Cannon and Christian Rosene.

Jack, 87, started racing Cal 20s in Newport Beach in 1962, and over the last 50 years, he has consistently remained active.

"One of my fondest memories was winning the Cal 20 Fleet Championships back on the '60s" Jack said.

After the Cals, Jack went on to sail in the Thistles, Etchells fleets and now is racing in the Harbor 20 and radio controlled sailing fleets. "I've always enjoyed staying active in our harbor's one-design fleets," he said.

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When asked who his toughest competitor was, he replied, "I remember some great races against Ben Vaughn Klein Schmidt in the Cal 20 days."

His favorite part of the game is "the tactics, and I have always enjoyed the one-design battle where everyone is on an equal playing field."

When asked what has been the biggest change over the years, he replied, "In the '60s and '70s, there was a lot more activity. We used to have 10 different fleets starting almost every weekend."

Jack pointed out that his wife, Yvonne, was supportive.

"My fondest times sailing has been with my wife when she crewed for me," he said.

Jack's advice to a beginning sailor: "Be persistent and do not give up, because that's how you will find complete enjoyment in sailing."

I do not see Jack giving up his tiller anytime soon.

One cannot help but notice Christian's enthusiasm for sailing. This summer I have seen him in his Sabot, FJs, his father's Farr 30 and his grandfather's Farr 40.

Christian's love for sailing has been handed down through two generations. His grandfather Dennis Rosene has been racing in Newport Harbor for as long as I have. His father, Mark, has been very active over the last 10 years, racing on his father's boats and racing his own Farr 30.

"I have been on a boat since I was a little kid," Christian said.

This made me smile because he is only 10 years old.

He said his biggest achievements were when he "went from Sabots C2s to C1s in two days…"

He doesn't have a favorite event of the year.

His favorite moment on a boat "was this last weekend on Dan Rossen's B32, Problem Child. I have never surfed a boat before. That was a lot of fun. I want to do that again!"

His sailing mentors are Christophe Killian, Harrison Vandervort and Jack Martin.

"They are all really good people and have helped me a lot," Christian said.

By this time, I am starting to wonder how a 10-year-old has these types of answers.

So I thought I would throw him a curveball. He hit it out of the park.

When asked where he sees himself in 10 years, he said, "Well, I would like to win the Governor's Cup and attend either [UC Santa Barbara], Stanford, Yale or Boston College. After I have completed school, I plan on being a professional sailor."

LEN BOSE is an experienced boater, yacht broker and boating columnist.

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