Club Sports Spotlight: Sailing
Issue   |   Tue, 09/13/2016 - 23:47
Sailing club returns to Amherst after a several year hiatus from campus.

As first-years, Luke Haggerty and Amanda Temares were eager to get involved on the Amherst campus. They searched the college website for activities and both were excited when they found the sailing team. But when they arrived, they were disappointed to find out that the team no longer existed on the Amherst campus. Still intrigued, Luke found out that the Unviversity of Masscahusetts has a sailing team and in the fall of sophomore year, he decided to join.

After some research, Haggerty learned that the UMass sailing team actually originated on the Amherst campus. In 2005, Mount Holyoke and Amherst created a co-op team. In the coming years, the team received interest from Hampshire, Smith and UMass students, and it became an unofficial five-college team.

As the years went on, UMass students outnumbered the other colleges in sailing recruits, until finally the team was solely made up of UMass students. The team became the UMass sailing team but continued to use Amherst equipment that was stored on Amherst property.

In the spring of Haggerty’s sophomore year, the team went to get their boats for practice, but discovered they were missing. Because he was the only Amherst student on the team, Haggerty was asked to attempt to find out what had happened to the missing boats.

After some investigation, Haggerty found out that the boats had been sold at auction several months ago. The college had mistakenly assumed there was no use for the boats since the Amherst sailing team had been disbanded and they were unaware that the UMass team was continuing to use the boats for their program.

Haggerty explained to the administration that there were students on the Amherst campus that had expressed an interest in sailing. His passion led the administration to buy back six of the ten boats and to task Haggerty with recreating the Amherst sailing team. Haggerty thought back to freshman year, and asked Temares to help him out.

Now, Haggerty enters this school year as the president of the sailing team, with Temares assisting as the vice president. In addition, the team has two other officers, sophomore secretary Mikayla Gordon-Wexler and junior treasurer Sam Alpert.

To compete, the team needed a minimum of four students, but they hoped to recruit at least ten team members. The response was overwhelming. The team’s roster now consists of around 30 people, and at this year’s club fair about 150 students expressed interest in the team. The team has six boats at the moment, but hopes to expand its fleet as the roster continues to grow.

The sailing team prides itself on having a place for everyone, ranging from any level of experience.

Both Haggerty and Temares stressed how they hope to create an inclusive club that can be used as either a casual or a competitive environment. Temares characterizes the team as both a “racing team and a sailing club.”

For less experienced sailors, the team has ‘Learn to Sail’ days on the weekends. The first ‘Learn to Sail’ day this semester will be on Saturday, Sept. 24 and is open to anyone interested.

For more experienced sailors who wish to compete in races, the team has practice three days a week. The league is very competitive, and because the sport is made up of such a small community, club teams compete throughout the season against varsity teams from schools at the Division I through Division III levels. The team will be competing in its first ever regatta — the prestigious Harvard Invitational — on Saturday, Oct. 1 in Cambridge, Massachusetts.