About Willamette Sailing Club

Willamette Sailing Club is located on the banks of the Willamette River, approximately 5 minutes South of downtown Portland. It is the only small boat sailing club in Portland, and is dedicated to dinghy (non-keelboats under 20 feet) sailing and racing.

The club has over 300 members, and hosts numerous activities throughout the year. The WSC membership is comprised of a wide range of sailing enthusiasts. We have many members who primarily are interested in racing (from US Olympic team members to their first year racing a sailboat), members that just want a place to keep and launch their boat for day sailing, and some who just want a place to store their boat and enjoy the social aspects of the club. Whatever your sailing interest, WSC is a great club. The club hosts weekly races from February to November, holds racing clinics, organizes social events, sponsors several regattas each year, and provides a great opportunity to keep a boat on the river to enjoy evening and weekend sailing. The family environment at WSC creates a great atmosphere for family fun!

2022 Board of Directors

Commodore: Kathy Sandifer

I grew up in Florida on a lake so being on and in the water, has always come natural to me. After finishing a BS in Biology, I moved to Beaufort, NC to work at Duke University Marine Lab. Beaufort is a big sailing town for both cruising and off shore racing. I did not know anything about sailing so I went to the library and checked out a basic how-to-sail book and learned the vocabulary and which way to wrap a winch. Then I went to the docks before the racing. There was usually someone desperate enough (or maybe just kind enough) to take me on as rail meat. After that I moved to Gainesville, Florida to go to the UF Veterinary school. Here I met Mark Sandifer. He loved to cook and he had his own sailboat. Our first date was on his Prindle Cat-16. It was a match made in heaven. After following Mark to Japan for a while, we got married, moved to Portland and had two kids. Both Austin and Elle took summer sailing camps, raced on the high school team and worked their way up through the summer coaching program. Mark and I bought a Lido 14 and joined WSC in 2008. The club has been a place of fun and friendships for our family ever since. I look forward to serving the club in 2021 hopefully with the wind, again blowing on my face.

Vice Commodore: Brad Genham

I learned to sail as a kid at Community Boating on the Charles River in Boston. I later worked on the square-rigged wooden schooner Shenandoah around Cape Cod. After a few decades without sailing, I would bike by WSC and think how much I missed sailing. I finally bought a Lido and joined the club in 2015. Last year, I started sailing Lasers as well. In joining WSC, I thought I was signing up for a place to dock a boat, but learned I had joined something much larger. Sailors in all fleets have been so generous in sharing expertise and pushing me to improve. Sailing played a big role in my staying positive during 2020. In the off-season, I coach high school students in Constitutional Law debate competitions. My two children, George and Kate, recently graduated college and will occasionally crew for me on a Wednesday. My wife, Lisa, is still waiting on a keel boat that involves no boom-ducking.

Rear Commodore: Geoff Fanning

Geoff’s Dad taught him to sail in a Minto dinghy carried to Timothy Lake on the roof of the family station wagon. After terrorizing Lenore one high school summer day with his Dad’s Ranger 12 on Hagg Lake he pursued degrees in Math, Physics and Electrical Engineering, which he now uses to make ends meet building the kind of lasers that emit light. 10 years ago, he returned to sailing starting with an adult learn-to-sail class at Willamette Sailing Club. After five or six years alternately boring and terrorizing his family in a Catalina 14.2, and very occasionally achieving nirvana with all three members fully hiked out in a close haul usually achieved on a Yale Reservoir camping trip, and crewing mostly Thistles through Wednesday night racing and the occasional regatta (thanks Bill), he and Lenore find themselves with a Lido 14 in which they strive to at least stay with the fleet during races while not bumping into anyone. Geoff also fishes his Hobie Revo 13 kayak out of WSC, with which, if he could just catch a spring chinook under the Ross Island Bridge, he could say he’d got one under all three of the closest Willamette River Bridges! When not on the water or at work, he’s probably on a bike or reading a book.

Treasurer: Christine Stamper

I got my introduction to sailing in 1980’s middle America – summer camp. They tried to teach us kids something we didn’t listen to and then sent us out 3 at a time on the iconic Sunfish. There, I learned first hand about small boat capsizes, cargo shipping lanes, gigantic ships with super load horns and frantic coaches with boat hooks and tow line. Some years later, I saw Willamette Sailing Club when we would walk on the greenway path. I thought: This place looks invitingly scruffy, I think I shall resume my nautical pursuits. So here I am, where I’ve upgraded to a Laser that I get all to myself and do a better job of staying out of the ships’ ways. One of my other hobbies is living well on a budget. I am arguably better at this than winning regattas. I hope to help WSC do the same.

Secretary: Rachel Barney

My first time sailing was in 4th grade on my aunt and uncle’s boat cruising in the San Juan Islands. This experience left an impression on me and was the inspiration that led me to take an ASA 101 course in my twenties. After ASA 101, I knew I wanted to keep sailing. I moved to Portland and immediately joined the sailing club. I started on race committee and devoted many work hours to pulling up anchors. I loved getting out on the water and watching the races. Not long after I joined, I was invited to crew on a Lido and spent the year learning how to race. The following year, I had the opportunity to borrow a Day Sailer for the season and I became a skipper. I loved driving the boat and ended up buying a Day Sailer of my own, Wild Child. My co-workers can all attest to my excitement for Wednesday race nights. They get an earful about the wind conditions on Wednesday morning and then a re-cap of every race the next day. Sailing at WSC gives me energy and enthusiasm that lasts all week. I love going down to the club because everyone is friendly and willing to lend a hand. We are part of amazing community. I’m looking forward to another great season with all of you

Fleet Captain: Sebastien Laleau

Born in New York and moved to Guatemala when I was 5 years old. At the age of 9 I would see sailboats at a lake near Guatemala City, Lake Amatitlan. I asked my mom if I could do that and I was signed up for their summer sailing program shortly after. I was a slow learner, and on my third summer sailing program I was moved from beginners to intermediate level! After that I began to practice three days a week all year round. My first travel regatta was in Optis to a lake in Mexico called Valle de Bravo where I was introduced to my first 60 boat start line.  I didn’t do well at all, but I knew I liked sailing at that point in my life.  I sailed lasers and Hobie 16s regularly in high school and was fortunate to race in Hobie 16 Youth Worlds, Central American Games (Laser), Cuban Olympic Trial Games (Laser), and more.  In College at the California Maritime Academy I sailed mostly FJs, I was usually on the Varsity B or Junior Varsity A skipper.  I was also then introduced to big boats where I sailed all the fun SF Bay Area regattas including the Rolex Big Boat Series every year either on the schools J-105 or 1D-48.  In FJ’s/420 I qualified to college semi-finals my senior year where I didn’t perform well.  And on the big boat side our team won the 2009 Kennedy Cup (College Big Boat Nationals) where we qualified to sail in the Student Yachting World Cup in La Rochelle, France where we lost a tie break and finished fourth.  After college I sailed as much as I could in the SF bay. Now I sail Lasers at WSC as much as I can and my Melges 24 on the Columbia River as well.  Family, sailing, and work is what I do and in that order.

Port Captain: Jared Lathrop

I grew up on Cape Cod out in Massachusetts, enjoying the warm ocean and learning to sail in my teams through Hobie Cat sailing on the beach.  After high School I attended the Massachusetts Maritime academy and joined the sailing team, launching me into a formalized program around sailboat racing.  In college I studied marine/power plant engineering.  While there I sailed dinghies, keel boats and with the offshore team in the northeast and traveling to Annapolis.  After college I had the opportunity to travel to the Caribbean and throughout New England racing on larger boats in my early 20’s. I also spent time on the west coast doing some of the great offshore classics such as Transpac and the races to Mexico.  Also in my 20’s I was part of a Farr 40 team, getting great exposure to some very talented sailors and racing alongside some very talented teams in the worlds.  My wife and I sailed Lightings while we lived in Wilmington NC in our 30’s.  We returned to the PNW after our 2nd son was born and joined the club back in 2015 (I think?)…. started racing lasers again and as our children have grown our older son Desmond has gravitated to sailing at the club on the youth team.  I’m very excited to be on the board as port captain for 2022, continuing on with all the great work those before us have done at the club.  We have a bright future and I’m happy to be part of making it happen!