Going to school in a city filled with entertainment and culture can be distracting, but the Tulane University Sailing Team knows how to use it in their favor.
“The team definitely has a strong bond that’s made stronger through fun activities like the annual fall scavenger hunt for new members,” says Susan Herndon, vice president for the sailing team. “We also go out together as a group to things happening around the city. This includes daiquiri hangouts at the Fly, a park near campus along the river, various happy hours, and team dinners at members’ homes,” Herndon continues.
Bonding, as a team is particularly important when it’s time to recruit new members, which happens during the first week of classes at the Tulane Club Sports Activities Expo. “Typically we receive about 40-50 students who are interested in joining the team, the majority of which have past sailing experience, “ says Herndon. “From there we host a meeting and narrow down interest further,” she says.
The team has an executive board that is student run with the help of the Tulane Club Sports office. “We have a president, vice president, treasurer, secretary and captain who share duties dealing with team maintenance and organization,” Herndon explains. “We are in charge of managing our own finances, administrative details and site maintenance, but are given help from Southern Yacht Club as well when needed,” she says. The team has also had a coach for the majority of its history; however, they are still working on confirming a coach for the spring 2015 season.
The sailing team practices three times a week. To be considered to travel to regattas a sailor must attend practice at least twice a week. Sailors are also required to pay dues to the team in the first weeks of each semester. This money is matched by the school and is added to the money that club sports allocates to the team. Herndon says this money typically keeps the team running just fine and allows them to travel outside of their district for regattas at least five times a year.
One of the team’s favorite regattas, however, is one that they host at home, the Sugar Bowl. The team hosts the event out of their venue at Southern Yacht Club on Lake Pontchartrain (about 20 minutes from campus). The Sugar Bowl is a New Year’s regatta and attracts college teams from all over. It is an opportunity for teams to have fun racing without school being in session.
The team owns ten Laser Performance 420s, purchased in 2011 with a grant from Tulane. A large shipping container currently serves as the team’s storage area for gear, sails and parts. They also have a floating dock at their venue, which makes for easy water access.
A potentially exciting piece of news for the team is that the City of New Orleans just accepted a proposal to build a community sailing center on their current venue. “The site would be built next to the Southern Yacht Club and will have a heavy focus on the collegiate sailing programs in the New Orleans area, the biggest of which is Tulane’s,” says Herndon. This may mean that in the coming years the Tulane sailing team will have a fully functioning building to run their program out of. Stay tuned.