Drake Jensen is one of the newest Honorary Skippers to join the Leukemia Cup Regatta family; his story provides inspiration for Leukemia Cup sailors and supporters alike. Drake was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in September of 2010 and recently completed treatment. His Dad introduced him to sailing in 2005 and in his words, it has become his “main obsession.” His sailing talent has taken him to the national youth regatta level and he looks forward to this year’s Leukemia Cup Regatta.
Get to know Drake and check him out in our Leukemia Cup Regatta PSA below, airing on KTVU Channel 2.
Drake, What do you love the most about sailing?
There are so many things to love about the sailing I do. It’s fun, social, relaxing and you make friends. There’s also the windy, waves, speeding, and thrilling parts. Finally, there’s the challenging skills, technical, and strategic parts. And then you learn how to get better. Of course winning isn’t bad either.
How did you get your start?
When I was 12, my dad asked the family, who wanted to learn to sail? I reluctantly tried a beginning sailing class at Vallejo Yacht Club and loved it, so I also took the intermediate class. Next I took three consecutive lessons at Cal Adventures (Emeryville) sailing in Coronado/JY15s, before getting my own El Toro and joining the Richmond Yacht Club junior program. I sailed one intermediate El Toro class before my Dad bought me a new laser. For the next five years I sailed mostly laser events all over North America, including Canada, (with some 29er, CFJ, and big boat events mixed in) graduating to major events and eventually qualifying into U.S. Sailing, Junior and Youth Championships. In three years, I have raced in more than 80 regattas gaining experience from hundreds of starts. Recently, I have been sailing 420s as well to prepare for college sailing.
What advice would you give to a beginner sailor?
Seriously, I tell the kids the most important thing is to “go have fun!”
If you could have lunch with anyone you wanted, living or deceased (up to 4 people) who would be sitting at the table?
My Grandpa, John Koehne
Brazilian sailor, Robert Scheidt
Musician, Jason Mraz
What’s next for you after the Leukemia Cup Regatta in October?
The “St. Francis Yacht Club Fall Dinghy” on October 22 is my next laser race. I’ve started school at WCCC, so I hope to get as much sailing in as I can as time permits. I’m also looking forward to teaching my first private instruction students, as well as, volunteering at the Richmond Yacht Club junior program in the winter.
LLS’s sixth annual Leukemia Cup Regatta sets sail October 1-2 at The San Francisco Yacht Club. Support researchers looking for a cure and families looking for hope. Register today at www.leukemiacup.org/sf.