Olivia Staruck remembers her first sailing race fondly. She was a freshman in high school and the White Bear sailing team went to Wisconsin for the race. The rain that day made for windy conditions and first-time racer Staruck tipped and fell out of her sailboat into the freezing waters.
“Despite that being my first racing experience,” Staruck said, “when most would have quit, it made me want to get better. I was thinking to myself that this will never happen again.”
Now, Staruck is taking over as new waterfront director at the White Bear Yacht Club for the summer after just finishing up her sophomore year at UW-Madison. A White Bear Lake graduate, she spent most of her summers sailing and competing. She competes on the UW sailing team as well, going to nationals the last two years. Next year she will be team co-captain.
“I think that Olivia will do great as captain,” said Hayden Frentzel, co-captain of the UW-Madison sailing team. “She is a very welcoming person, which will serve her well in coordinating with others, and rallying the team to practice hard.”
This is not Staruck's first summer working the waters of White Bear Lake. She's worked summers at the White Bear Yacht Club for the past three years, but this summer she takes on a bigger role.
“I hope to make our race teams grow in size,” she said. “We have a lot of upcoming sailors that I hope will race for the future. I also hope to increase the number of kids who continue to come out and sail. This is a sport you can do when you're six years old and when you're 80. I want to make sure kids fall in love with the water.”
The White Bear sailing school competes against teams like Lake Minnetonka, Wayzata and Lake Calhoun sailing schools. The season started June 11 and will go until the first week of August.
“We have kids who race competitively and kids who just race for fun,” Staruck said.
Passion and patience are two traits that a good sailor must have, according to Staruck. Like any sport, if someone is committed and dedicated to it that is important in improving your skills. Sailing is no different.
“Sailing is not something that comes naturally to a lot of people so putting in the work when it seems challenging is important,” she said.