The South Will Rise Again: Meet Team Southern

Always the favorites at the Competitor Dinner Party, the sailors from Southern Yacht Club always bring their New Orleans flavor to Baldwin Cup. Winners of the first Baldwin Cup back in 2008, they’re hoping the South will rise again in 2013. Let’s get to know them a bit better…

Dwight Leblanc

Dwight LeBlancWhere are you from originally? New Orleans

What is your pre-regatta ritual? Getting our team there on time which is harder than it sounds.

What is your sailing background? Many years ago, US Sailing Youth events, Sears, Bemis and US Youth Champs. Later J-22s, Flying Scots, and multiple Team Racing events, primarily on the Masters circuit. Also served as Commodore of SYC for 2010 and 2011.

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? A few but probably more rum than beer.

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? Impossible to say as this is one of the deepest if not the deepest fields in team racing. The probable favorites are SCYC, NYYC, RTYC, and NHYC in no particular order based on the previous times I have attended this great event.

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? Dumb Luck? And getting our 4 skippers who have never sailed as a team together to get in sync with each other.

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?

Gerard Sonnier

Gerard Sonnier
Where are you from originally? New Orleans, sailed for Boulder

Nicknames? Cowboy

What is your pre-regatta ritual? PRB

What is your sailing background? Racing since I was 13.

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? John A. —Really? This needs an explanation?

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? Great team, including John A!

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?

Jackson Benvenutti

Jackson BenvenuttiWhere are you from originally? Bay St. Louis, Mississippi

Where did you sail in college? College of Charleston, go Cougars.

Nicknames? Jax

What is your pre-regatta ritual? That’s a secret…

What is your sailing background? Optis, 420s, sunfish, flying scots, dinghies, small keelboats

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? More than Michael Menninger

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? The home team, for lots of reasons.

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? Because we’re from the South and I hear the Harbor 20 is a very gentlemanly boat.

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?

Jennifer Watkins

Jennifer WatkinsWhere are you from originally? Edina, MN

Where did you sail in college? Tufts

What is your pre-regatta ritual? Making sure John A gets his PRB

What is your sailing background? Grew up sailing x-boats and 420s primarily in Minnesota and then sailed in college. Now I mostly team race V-15s and keel boats, and I also crew on a Melges 24 in New Orleans.

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? At least a million

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? Larchmont because Cardwell will never let me hear the end of it if we lose to them…

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? After a disappointing performance last year, we have the drive to redeem ourselves this year!

John Alden Meade

Where are you from originally? New Orleans, LA. Sailed for Stanford in college

Nicknames? John A

What is your pre-regatta ritual? These days, get my work done so the office doesn’t call during the regatta.

What is your sailing background? Optis, Laser IIs, Lasers, FJs, 420s, V15s, 505s, Sonars, Melges 24s, PHRF, IRC, HPR. In other words: junior sailing, high school, collegiate, (fleet racing and team racing), one design, handicap systems (buoy and distance).

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? As many as they’ll let me.

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? Toughest? Not sure, lots of good teams. But biggest? I don’t know, how much does Pinckney weigh these days? I’m at 210, so I probably got him.

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? Well, we won the first one, and you know what they say: the South will rise again!

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?

John Loe

Where are you from originally? New Orleans. Sailed for St. Mary’s in college

Nicknames? Jloe

What is your pre-regatta ritual? Not appropriate

What is your sailing background? Attempting to stay above water.

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? Copious

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? The “special for Southern” Mai Tai

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? We are due to improve one of these times…

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?
John A’s piano recitals (to be performed live)

Zak Fanberg

Zac & Sarah Fanburg
Where are you from originally? Wayzata, Minnesota

Where did you sail in college? College of Charleston (Harvard of the South)

Nicknames? In college: Lurch (6’3” sailors look funny on 420s compared to all the other little runts…

What is your pre-regatta ritual? Eat Bacon…

What is your sailing background? “Grew up sailing on Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota sailing X-Boats, E-Scows, C-Scows, MC’s, Lasers and 420’s. Went to College of Charleston and was botha a laser goon and eventually sailed 420’s and FJ’s. All American my senior year. Currently sail J-22’s, Flying Scots on the Gulf Coast. Used to sail V-15’s alot until I got too fat…Member of SYC and also Bay Waveland Yacht Club in Mississippi. One a few Mallory Cups a few years back…

Married Sarah Taylor, who I met on the Charleston Sailing team. Who is crewing for me at the Baldwin Cup. Sarah was a 2 time Crew All American in college…”

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? Depends on what kind of beer…do you have PBR?

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? Well, I don’t really know exactly who is sailing but most sailors are fairly athletic looking and I doubt too many of them are over weight…So I’m guessing that all teams are going to be pretty much the same size…I’m 225 lbs so I’m probably the biggest…

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? I think we have a very good chance of winning if none of the other teams actually win. And you can quote me on that…

If your boat had a theme song, what would it be?

And last but not least, Sarah Taylor Fanberg

Sarah Fanberg-SYCWhere are you from originally? Bay St. Louis, MS

Where did you sail in college? College of Charleston (Go Cougars!)

Nicknames? The Pea-Shooter (that I brought to the gunfight) – courtesy of George “Doc” Wood

What is your pre-regatta ritual? Reminding Zak not to chew on the mainsheet…

What is your sailing background? Optis, 420s, FJs, assorted odd collegiate boats including something with a lever and no jib, V-15s, Lightnings, and (the majestic, immortal, and high-performance Gulf Coast favorite) the Flying Scot…

How many 25¢ beers will you drink during the Cup? Who’s counting?

Who do you think is your biggest competition? Why? Define biggest…

Why will your team win this year’s Baldwin Cup? Because of all the around-the-clock practicing and strict workout schedule the SYC team adheres to…