UM’s co-ed sailing team has been one of the more competitive club sports on campus since its origination.
According to junior David Hernandez, co-president of the club, college sailing has neither a varsity level nor a club level- varsity teams, club teams and volunteer teams alike all compete for national rankings. This leaves the Hurricanes in the top-two club teams in the country.
“The sailing club has only been around for five or six years, so for us, every race is making history,” Hernandez said.
The club competes in regattas within the South Atlantic conference of the Intercollegiate Sailing Association. The division encompasses Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee and Alabama.
About 20 schools compete in each race and points are awarded based on performance and difficulty of the competition. Performance also determines participation in future regattas. UM has competed with top sailing schools such as No. 1 Boston College.
Eighteen of the top sailing teams in the country are invited to nationals, which take place this year in Oregon. Hernandez is optimistic about the team’s chances to be invited.
The club welcomes members of all skill levels. Popp said that most new members are beginners.
“Nationals would be a great experience, for us and the club,” Hernandez said.
Not only would recognition and a national title benefit the club now, but the future of the sailing team as well. Popp and Hernandez are hoping to attract new talent out of high school; typically, high school sailers go north to more traditional sailing schools.
“What I want is for the UM sailing team to be here 20 years from now,” Hernandez said.