Last Friday something very tragic happened as I was preparing to leave Candlestick Park after a nice session. One of the spot locals was found floating in the water unconscious. Dr. Juan was windsurfing nearby and jumped in and immediately began swimming the windsurfer to shore, calling for help. I reached for my phone and dialed 911. Pedro jumped into the water and assisted in the rescue effort, Kevin alerted another windsurfer who is a doctor to assist. When I first dialed 911 it was unclear what was going on, all I could tell is that someone in the water was distressed, but after a couple minutes I realized that our dear friend Jacqui was in a lot of trouble. The 911 operator offered to give me instructions to perform CPR, but I told him that we had two doctors on the scene already working on it. It seemed like an eternity before the ambulance finally arrived.
The EMTs were able to restore a pulse and blood pressure before she was returned to the hospital. I believe when she arrived they ran further tests and a brain scan that delivered results that were not positive. She was removed from the ventilator Saturday night and passed away a few hours later. The doctors revealed that she had a massive stroke or an aneurysm on the water and was immediately stricken unconscious.
Jacqui was one of the first windsurfers I spoke to when I moved out here. She was very positive and easy-going. It seemed like every time I saw her at Candlestick, she always had a little joke to tell, she always could make you smile. She would carry a big stack of paper cups in her van which she would distribute filled with wine to everyone around.
I later found out that Jacqui was 66 years old. This blew my mind because of how much younger and full of life she seemed. It is very, very sad to see her go, but she has forever left a mark in my life and all the lives of the people around her. I hope that we can all carry her warm, sweet attitude and spirit around with us in our daily lives and in our sailing.
Sail on, Jacqui. We love you and miss you.
Photo by Kevin Kan
This photo says a lot about Jacqui. She got stuck down wind as the wind died and had a tough climb up the rip-rap ahead of her. Her response? Big smiles and thumbs-up.