Eric Jespersen was intrigued with boats from early childhood, and was well known to local designers and builders for his keen enthusiasm. In fact, so much so, that he was often put to task while 'hanging around' the boatyard or dock. In his desire to sail, Eric endeared himself to many a sailboat owner by standing at the dock eagerly waiting his chance to crew on their boat. Customers of Bent still remark with amazement that while visiting Jespersens and asking, "Where's Eric", Bent would calmly reply, "oh, he's out sailing in the bay". The 13-year-old Eric would be sailing around the family's H-28 Limfjord, single-handed.
His first regatta at 13, the BC 16 and under championships at Lester Pearson College, was a humbling experience for Eric who recalls being finally pulled off the water at the end of the day, nearly non-responsive from the cold.
Undeterred, Eric decided at 14 he wanted his own Laser, so gave up his marina playground and the comfort of Dad's shop, to work his summers as deckhand on a west-coast fishing vessel. At 17, Eric competed in the 1979 6mr World Cup in Seattle aboard Llanoria. Surrounded by sailing's elite, this event fueled his fire to climb to the top.
After high school, Eric was able to chase his sailing ambitions while starting a formal boat-building apprenticeship. After four years of shop time (with occasional interruptions for sailing) and annual evaluations at Pacific Vocational Institute, he earned his journeyman's papers.
Eric was fortunate to be invited to join the Canada I and Canada II sailing teams, challenging for the America's Cup in 1983 and 1987. This led to an opportunity to join forces with Ross MacDonald in the Star Class at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Winning a Sailing Bronze Medal for Canada, they bettered their performance at the 1994 Star World Championships, where the duo won Gold!
Closer to home, Eric's successes include winning the Cape Flattery Race and the VanIsle 360 on his home-designed and built 30' Myrrh. His experience in many Pacific northwest sailing events includes the Swiftsure (over 30 times) and the VanIsle 360 (5 times).
The event that stands out most proudly in Eric's mind is winning the 2009 6mr World Cup with his father, Bent and son, Ross. Also crewing were Eric's right-hand man, Rob Carlow and friend and colleague Dave Richardson. To find out more on this incredible story, follow the links for Gallant.