San Diego Sailcast Episode Recap

Episode 005 - John Laun

By By Jared Wohlgemuth, Casey Allocco | October 11, 2018

Alli Bell (from Episode 0001) leads a discussion with SDYC Staff Commodore and J/120 skipper John Laun.

In the news this week, SDYC held its first San Diego Olympic Classes Regatta (SDOCR) with six fleets of Olympic or invited classes including the Finns, 29ers, i420s, Lasers, Laser Radials and Snipes. In addition to the SDOCR, it was the Snipe North American Championship, a qualifier for the Pan American Games. Impressively, nine countries came out to qualify. The overall winner of the regatta was Ernesto Rodriguez and Kathleen Tocke (USA), followed by Matías Seguel and María Jesus Seguel (CHI) in second and Doug Hart and Cragan Smith (USA) in third.

John has been a member of SDYC since 1987, was Commodore in 2015 and is an active racer on his J120, caper. He talks about his title as the “Most Interesting Sailor in the World” at his Commodore’s Roast. “I’m probably the least most interesting sailor in the world,” John jokes.

John grew up in Newport Harbor sailing in his childhood boat, a Snow Bird, where he competed against some great names in sailing. He moved to California in 1985 and has been sailing caper since 2000.

John reflects on his friendly rivalry with SDYC’s CC Rider and the history of sailing with his friends. He talks about his memories, highs and lows sailing on caper, winning the NOOD regatta and his trip to the Caribbean.

John is involved in the Sailing Events Association (SEA) San Diego, an organization dedicated to putting on world-class events. He also worked with the Port to bring the 35th America’s Cup to San Diego. San Diego was the final US candidate, going up against Bermuda. “When people ask me how close we came to getting the America’s Cup in San Diego I say ‘Oh, about 77 million dollars away.”

He continues to discuss his work as Vice Chair at SEA San Diego, the Extreme Sailing Series and other Yacht Club’s that are tenant of the Port of San Diego. He tells us about the process of leasing the land that the Club sits on and all the negotiations that go along with it.

John participates in Operation: Holiday Helping Hand, a group that contributes to the military families with financial needs to brighten their holiday. He looks back on his time as Commodore, the commitment it takes, the old traditions and new aspects of the Club.

Coming up this weekend, John is a huge part in the production of the Acapulco Challenge. He talks about the great relationship we have with Acapulco Yacht Club, the race details, fun memories and the history of the challenges. “It used to be that we would have our way with them, but they’ve gotten very good now,” he admits.