Sailing club sets course with beginners’ lessons

Sophomore Alexandra Damley-Strnad and Junior Giancarlo Falconi, members of the University of Miami's club sailing race team, sail across Lake Osceola on Wednesday in order to raise awareness for the club. Victoria McKaba // Staff Photographer

The University of Miami Sailing Club offers students an opportunity to get offshore and explore the pristine waters surrounding South Florida.

The organization, currently consisting of about 40 to 50 active sailors, is divided into a ‘Learn to Sail’ program, a co-ed team and a women’s team.

“The club is way more than just learning how to steer a boat,” said president Kate Schmicker.

Instead, it is a strong community that supports each member both in and out of competition.

One of campus’ oldest organizations, the team joined the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association, the NCAA Division One equivalent for sailing, in 2004. The club regularly competes against other southern schools, such as the University of Florida, University of Georgia and College of Charleston, since the club falls into the Southern Atlantic District (SAISA) of the ICSA.

So far this season, the Canes have placed in the middle or front of the pack in multi-school regattas. The team has traveled to three regattas – College of Charleston, New College and the University of South Florida – with more ahead.

This weekend the team is splitting up – with some members traveling to the UF and the remaining sailors staying to host the Women’s SAISA Championship at the Coconut Grove Sailing Center.

Practices take place three times a week out of the Coconut Grove Sailing Center in Key Biscayne and are available for both experienced and new sailors. Inexperienced members, who typically start in the ‘Learn to Sail’ program, often have quick advancement and are eventually able to travel to regattas to compete with the more experienced sailors.

Schmicker recommends the club to anyone, regardless of experience, who is looking for a strong community at UM.

“It’s a group of people off of the field and off of the water coming together and people who stick with you for the rest of your life”

Are you interested in testing out your sea legs? The club is offering one more ‘Learn to Sail’ event this semester in mid-October. For more information, email or check them out on Facebook.