View Full Version : The Big Sail: Cal vs Stanford

11-18-2010, 03:17 PM

The fierce rivalry between the California Golden Bears and the Stanford Cardinal dates back to 1892, and is the 10th longest rivalry in college football. The two teams will duke it out again this Saturday at Memorial Stadium in the battle for the Axe, aka "The Big Game" which Cal has won 7
out of the last 8 years. The rivalry extends as well to the water, where the StFYC holds the annual " Big Sail " every year prior to "The Big Game".


Stanford Varsity backwind the main during a dialup

Resurrected in in 2004 after a lengthy hiatus as the event was canceled when "The Big War" started back in the 19040's. The event is match racing between the two colleges
alumni (Masters 40 + and Young Alumni Less than 40) and current under graduates, utilizing J-105s on the City Front. With band and cheer squads from each school in attendance the hallowed halls, race deck and adjoining corridors of the StFYC becomes a raucous jubilee of all things intercollegiate rivalry.


The hunt is on, The Tree chases The Bear

On the water, the current member of each teams sailing squads engage in a best 3 race match series while the older alumni give it their best shot with a single race. In recent
years the Cal Alumni teams have owned the Stanford Alumni wining both divisions 4 out of the last 5 years. This year was no exception with Seadon Wisjen, John Perkins of Cal beating Kim Desenberg and Skip Allen led Stanford teams in both alum events.

Conversely the Varsity team have been quite opposite with Stanford owning the Cal sailors wining 5 out of 5 contests

2010 Results (http://www.stfyc.com/files/2010%20Big%20Sail%20Results.pdf)


Cal Varsity avoided the 3 race sweep by utilizing in "Jedi Mind Tricks" and lulling Stanford into sailing into the no sail zone between Anita Rock and Crissy Field.

Kim Desenberg sailing in his 2nd Big Sail for Stanford with Skip Allen working tactics in the Masters division is quite elated with the event despite the drubbing they took at the hands of the Perkins/ Wisjen Cal team " It's a lot of fun and the turn out was great, and it has piqued my interest in match racing, something I have not done a lot of before" Kim noted "And it all takes place right in front of the club, so the race deck and the viewing areas are packed with seas of Red and Blue, with the bands playing, it's just great theater, and great camaraderie and I'm looking forward to participating again.



Images kimballlivingston.com

One thing the Big Sail has been lacking compared to the Big Game are the famous pranks which usually occur during the week prior Big Game. Sailors take note:

Some notable pranks between the two schools during The Big Game Week, besides Cal malicious mischief to Father Serra statue on 280 near The Farm,
painting blue footprints up the Hoover Tower,

Cal Strikes:

1899: The Seizure of the Axe
During a baseball game between Cal and Stanford in San Francisco, Stanford cheerleaders brought the Axe with them and started chopping the Bears with it. Cal won the game. After the game was over, angry Californians decided to seize the Axe and they did, bringing the Axe back to Berkeley after numerous tactical maneuvers and changes of hands during the getaway. This incident marked the birth of the symbol of the rivalry. To get a detailed story of the birth of the Axe, click here.

1964: The Treaty of Castle Lanes
In the Winter after its debut, Stanfordites stole the California Victory Cannon. Californians then stole the Stanford banner, 17,000 stunt cards, and a 400 pound bronze bell from the old tower behind the Stanford Memorial Chapel. Stanfordites retaliated by taking Cal's cards and the ASUC banner. Californians then met with Stanfordites at Castle Lanes in Alameda to negotiate a treaty. Californians brought the 17,000 stunt cards in a truck and left them with the truck's driver. During the treaty negotiations, Stanfordites surrounded the truck and tear gassed it. The driver promptly put on his gas mask and got away. He escaped only to be later arrested by the police, who then made sure that everything was settled between the two schools. As a result, all items were returned to their respective owners.

1991: Spelling Correction
Most of the road signs on the freeway exits to Stanford University mysteriously had their spelling corrected to "Stanfurd," a intentional misspell of Stanford by Californians.

1997: "Biased" Officiating
This is the most technological sophisticated prank to date. During the Big Game at Stanford, Californian Theodore B. Kelly managed to hack into the referee's microphone system, and subsequently announced in the Stanford's stadium amplifier: "Penalty, Unsportsmanlike arrogance, Stanford Sucks." The Stadium full of confused Stanfordites fainted, and the Californian roared.


1998: The Phoenix Five
Five Californians "kidnapped" Stanford's mascot: the Tree. The theft itself is, of course, routine, but what follows is hilarious. The Five Californians, calling themselves the Phoenix Five, made a video featuring a Californian dressed in the Tree costume with blindfolds on, and danced around on the field, with the other 4 Californians appearing in the video and demanding random for the tree. The video was subsequently released and broadcast to the local media. A day later, a letter signed the "The Tree" claimed that he was happy to be set free and allowed to see the outside world, and no longer wanted to be on the Farm (Stanford).

Stanford Strikes:

1930: "The Immortal 21"
Probably the most perfectly executed Axe theft of all time, 21 Stanford students, arrived in blue car and disguising as Cal students, used tear gas and flash powder. In confusion, they wrestled away the Axe from Cal's baseball team captain outside of the bank where the Axe was kept in a safe vault. The Cal baseball captain was said to be crying after the incident. The 21 students are dubbed by Californians as "the Immoral 21."

1982: The Daily Californian Hoax
The 1982 Big Game features the most famous play of all time, simply known as The Play. Three days later, however, Stanfordites printed thousands of fake Daily California Newspaper and placed them in the news stands in Berkeley, claiming that NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) overruled the referees and awarded Stanford the victory. This has of course occurred before the internet and the ESPN.COM, and it gave numerous Californians a temporary cold sweat. Here is a copy of the Fake Daily Cal Newspaper. Perhaps the Stanfordites deserved the best prank title, for having the blunders of their football team and their bands replayed on national TV and sporting networks many times per year to this date.


The "Beat Cal banner" on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris in 1983.

Tequila Bob
11-18-2010, 04:59 PM
"With band and cheer squads from each school in attendance the hallowed halls"

Mmmm, cheerleaders!

11-19-2010, 09:59 AM

How I thought being a male cheer guy would be,


How things really turned out.