"I didn't have much experience racing, but I went to a practice to check it out and quickly bonded with the members."
Who can join? Why join?
Absolutely anyone who is associated with Oregon State can join the team. We have students who have never been on any kind of boat, and within two weeks, they are actively racing and competing against other schools. Within two years, they can go to nationals if they are committed. From the first practice anyone comes to, they will be in a sailboat, sailing with one-on-one instruction. Most of our boats have only two people in them, so we pair new sailors with experienced students to help both people learn. We are almost entirely student taught and led, which is unique and can be a great learning experience for everyone. Additionally, we do not require a time commitment, so anyone can join with how much time they have. We have members who show up to one practice a term and people who sail four or more times a week. Anyone who wants to learn to sail, whether competitively or just for fun, should come check out the team. Additionally, sailing is a very unique sport. It is something you can participate in for the rest of your life, sailing on different boats. It can also be very affordable depending upon the boat size. It is a sport you can practice in a small lake with a self-built boat to something you can do at a national level on large boats. The entire community is very welcoming and constantly looking for ways to bring in new sailors. Whether you have years of sailing experience or have never been in a boat, we would certainly love to have you on our team. We are one of the best teams in the Northwest and consistently attend national events, and we also have a lot of fun and commit to teaching new members to sail.
How did you get involved?
I grew up sailing, so when I transferred to OSU and looked through the clubs list, the Sailing Club immediately caught my eye. I didn’t have much experience racing, but I went to a practice to check it out and quickly bonded with the members. I found the team to be extremely welcoming and dedicated to helping new members learn to race and sail. Like me, many members come with previous experience, but we also have many members who have never been in a boat of any kind. We love teaching people to sail and getting them to a competitive level.
What is your best memory?
My favorite memory would have to be Outlaw Regatta in 2015, one of my first regattas. Outlaw is at Fern Ridge, the lake where we practice. It was blowing like crazy, so we had to reassign who was in the boats together to make sure there was enough weight in every boat. I ended up in a boat with someone I had not had the chance to sail with before, and we barely had enough weight. Due to the high wind, boats were capsizing everywhere. It was a ton of fun for everyone, including the people on the shore watching.
What is the community like?
The sailing team has been a very welcoming, supportive and fun club to join. I have learned a ton about sailing in a safe environment. I have also had a ton of fun from sailing, to driving to Seattle, to going to dinner with the team. I have also met a ton of people through the team, many of whom have become some of my closest friends.
When did you first feel a sense of belonging on campus?
Definitely when I first went to a regatta with the sailing team. My first few practices, everyone was very welcoming and kind, but I can be a bit shy and didn’t know how to interact with a large group of people who already knew each other. By my first regatta, I was very nervous and almost dropped out right before it, but my dad said to just go and try it out. I am so glad I did because by spending over 48 hours with the team, I felt so included and began to be more outgoing with the group. By the end of the regatta, I was in on the inside jokes, was playing games with the team and knew that I had found a group I would participate in for the rest of my time at Oregon State.
How have you grown from being involved?
I have certainly grown by being in this club. With a team, there are certain decisions and planning that must be done, and often people have different visions for the team. It is important to be able to both articulate your views and reasons for them, and also listen to others and be able to work with them. As next year’s vice president, I will be able to continue developing my communication and leadership skills while giving back to a team that is very important to me.