OSU Sailing Club

Nathan Graham

The OSU sailing club has been making waves this past year as it made appearances in the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NWICSA) and attended four different national events.

The club is currently in the off season but they maintain an active schedule and are always looking for potential members.

“It’s really not as intimidating as it sounds. Just come out for a couple practices and you will see it’s really nothing to be scared about,” said Jin Parisien, sailing club member. “I think one problem is people don’t have a clear image of what college sailing looks like and so they imagine all sorts of things.”

The club has anywhere from 15 to 30 active members at a time depending on class schedules and club events. With that being said, the team is looking to expand their roster.

“We are especially looking for women,” said  Madison Thompson, the co-captain of the club. “We historically haven’t had a strong women’s team and women have an amazing opportunity to go to nationals this year if we can put together a team.”

The club uses a 14-foot boat, called a Flying Junior. It can support up to two people — typically a skipper and crew. The skipper drives the boat, works the main sail, and controls the speed, while the crew has manages other responsibilities.

“The skipper can really focus on your boat speed,” said member of the club Andrew Wilkinson. “The crew can look around and think about the bigger picture. It creates a cool bond.”

The bigger picture involves scanning the waters, determining changes in the wind and tactical advantages that the team can exploit during competitions. One of the things to look out for on the water are ‘puffs.’

“It’s like a dark patch on the water,” said Mitch Bartlein, crew member in the club.” Big gusts of wind, puffs of air and you either want to hit those or avoid them.”

The club practices with the University of Oregon sailing club at Fern Ridge in Eugene. This provides a unique opportunity for sailors. The greater number of boats on the water allows the two clubs to hold mock competitions during practice.

The club offers a lot of opportunities for new members that want to participate in the competitive race teams.

“We judge our race team by dedication first,” Thompson said. “We don’t ever question whether or not you are a good sailor. If you come onto the team and are super psyched you can get onto the race team pretty easily.”

The competitions start up again in the later parts of the year and involve a lot of traveling.

“We travel in spring and fall almost every weekend,” Thompson said. “Our race team will compete to go to nationals and we’ve qualified consistently the last three years.”

There are also opportunities for people who do not want to compete as well. The club has no tryouts and will accept anyone that wants to try sailing.

“If you don’t want to race you don’t have to. If you just want to learn how to sail we will gladly teach you,” Wilkinson said.

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