By Anthony Schlass, Current Staff
If you ever catch yourself on Big Cedar Lake during the summertime you’ll most likely cross waters with DJ Jaessing.
The high school senior operates sailboats on the water for leisure and competition, and earned his first victory this year.
“I sail in bigger competitions all around the lake during Lake Series. Similar to Nascar racing, in Lake Series you have races or competitions. You have three different series during the week. Wednesday night, Saturday morning and Sunday morning are when the races are,” Jaessing said.
The sailing process is a unique one.
“You compete in a certain amount of races and the places you get in each race are added up. Some races are thrown out and your final score determines the place you get over the year,” Jaessing said.
This isn’t something Jaessing has recently started doing. He’s been sailing since he was four years old.
“My mom threw me into what they call a bathtub boat because it literally looks like a bathtub. It’s a one-person boat and at first I didn’t really like it because I was scared of it. My mom took me out one time and just pushed me off the pier and tipped me over. After that I realized the worst thing that could happen is you get a little wet,” Jaessing said.
Older family members also inspired Jaessing to take up sailing. He decided to sail just like his grandfather did.
“I personally sail three days a week. Two competitions in June, two in July, and two in August. The adult stuff is spread out throughout the whole summer. The kids stuff is every weekend through June and July,” Jaessing said.
Jaessing gives back by helping with younger kids.
“I coach kids’ sailing from the last weekend in May to the second weekend of August. I’m on the water from 8:30 a.m – 4 p.m. teaching the kids how to sail. I’m coaching them on their tactics, racing strategies and making them overall better sailors. It’s the best part of my summer and a lot of fun,” Jaessing said.
Heidi Vollmar, a large influence in Jaessing’s life, had very nice things to say about his character. “DJ is a great kid who is energetic, curious and outgoing. He has become an exceptional sailor,” Vollmar said.
Jaessing has had an impact of many people in his life. A close friend, Paul Reilly, is a prime example of that. “DJ is a great competitor and a wonderful leader. He is a role model for young sailors,” Reilly said.
Competing in sailing has opened many doors for Jaessing.
“I have gone to 42 of the 50 states, traveled through and sailed in,” Jaessing said. “My favorite part is the love and the thrill of competition. You get all these really good sailors on the starting line at one time and to be part of that is just awesome. Your first race win, which I experienced this year, is really awesome. Seeing all the other boats behind you and being the only one in front is a great feeling.”
In 2013, Jaessing and his crew, which consisted of Lindsey Vollmar, ranked number one in the Boat Blue Chip Regatta.
Jaessing has a desire to continue his sailing career once his time in high school is up.
“Wherever I end up going to college I’m thinking about maybe doing college sailing, which sounds like a lot of fun. I have a lot of friends that do it so I’d be in good company wherever I go,” Jaessing said.
The future is bright and wide open for DJ, just like a lot of his days on the lake.
(Photographs courtesy of the Jaessing family.)