Being ranked in a collegiate sport is not easy.
UM’s sailing team is not a varsity sport; it’s a club sport that has reached elite status. It became ranked in the top 24, and is considered a powerhouse across the country.
Now in its third year of competing at the national level, the team has been ranked by Sailing World, a magazine that specializes in the sport. They received 13 votes from sailing coaches from different schools.
“I think [being ranked] is really exciting for the new members,” said sailing club president Hannah Mashburn, a senior. “It also makes the people who made the team last year feel really good because all of their hard work and time spent paid off.”
Sophomore club treasurer David Hernandez echoed the same sentiments.
“It certainly gives us a lot more confidence. We start the season up in South Carolina, and all the other schools are going to see us as a big threat just as we see ourselves as a big threat to other competitors. We’re under the international spotlight. Our name is being known and more people want to come to UM for sailing.”
Hernandez was ranked as the number one sailing recruit in the entire country when he was attending Miami Killian Senior High School.
As treasurer of the club, Hernandez notes that he has gained several new personal skills that can help him in the future.
“Being treasurer has definitely helped me organization-wise,” Hernandez said. Between working with advisors and UM faculty with paperwork, it’s definitely helped.”
“I think the most important thing is that it’s so rewarding putting a lot of time and effort to keeping things running,” Mashburn said. “It makes you proud that we can organize ourselves to go to these events and compete so well.”
Sailing is not an NCAA sport. Rather, it is governed by the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association.
The club practices out of the Coconut Grove sailing club Mondays through Thursdays. Each practice consists of approximately two hours of sailing. They utilize flying juniors, a specific type of vessel, for its practices and races.
Sophomore Nick Voss, a member in the club, is also a member of the U.S. Sailing Snipe Team and is currently competing in the World Championship in San Diego, Calif. A “snipe” is the specific kind of boat used for long distance races
This past summer, Voss was ranked fourth in the country for the Junior World Championship of Sailing.
Ken Voss, Nick’s father, formerly served as the advisor to the club. He has been involved in sailing for about 12 years, and he has worked with the team for the past four.
“The [sailing] events are really a lot of fun. They’re a really fun format – they have really short 15-minute races but there are about 30 throughout the entire weekend,” said Ken. “It’s really a team sport where you don’t care if you win the regatta. You care if your team wins the regatta.”
The club encourages any student interested in racing to attend their occasional weekend sailing workshops, taught by a hired instructor and aimed at new students wanting to learn the basics of the sport.
Because of its club sport status, the team does not receive the same funds as a varsity team. Although they do receive some funds from the Student Activity Fee Allocation Committee, they still try to raise money to help with their traveling costs.
“Sailing is an expensive sport. Unless we host a regatta here at home, traveling to the regattas is very expensive,” Voss said.
“Last semester we sent out letters to parents and the sailing community. It’s pretty big here in Miami,” said Hernandez. “We asked for donations from them and we’ve also been selling t-shirts to help raise funds for our team and other UM sailing products.”
The club began a website named shopsailingcanes.org to help their fundraising. On the website, one can purchase sailing t-shirts, team sunglasses, and more team gear.
Ramon Galiana may be contacted at email@example.com.