For the University of Washington Sailing Team, achieving varsity status is not at the top of the list. “It’s very complicated, and just doesn’t make sense to try to achieve in the near future,” says Kris Thompson the current captain of the team, “Looking at our goals at this point I think it’s in our best interest to look for new ways of fundraising.”
The team receives funding in three different ways; a stipend from the University’s club sport’s budget, direct donations to the team, and grants from local sailing organizations and yacht clubs. The sailors also host an annual fundraiser for alumni, family, and local sailors, hosting a dinner and an auction.
Recently, the team has considered budgeting for coaching. “We have pushed around the idea over the past few years to come up with a sum of money to hire a part-time coach,” he says. “He or she could hold practices and come to regattas,” he says. “I think this is a great way to create a lasting legacy on the program and allow for many more years of a solid college sailing program at UW. This will also take the pressure off the sailors to come up with practice plans and will give each sailor more time sailing instead of being in the coach boat.”
Currently, the team practices two to three days a week in FJs, two of which the team owns and an additional 12 that they rent from local organization Sail Sand Point, located in Magnuson Park, a 15-minute ride northeast of campus. In terms of practices, there are no requirements for team members, but Thompson says, “the sailors that participate in the highest priority regattas are the ones who have put time in to get better, both in the gym and out on the water.”
The team participates in as many regattas as they can. They give priority to national events and inter-conference regattas, but they also try to line up as many in-conference regattas as possible. This past spring, the UW Sailing Team competed in two national championships, the APS/ICSA Team Race Nationals and Gill/ICSA Coed Nationals hosted by St. Mary’s College of Maryland.
One of the many strengths of the UW sailing team has been to pass on the team’s organization year after year, “There is a ton of mentoring that occurs between the outgoing and the incoming sailors,” says Thompson. “Every year, there are changes that are made to the system but usually what has worked in the past stays the same.”
This year will be no different for the team. “We lost quite a few seniors this past year, so while we will always compete at our highest level in district, inter-conference and national regattas, this year will be focused on rebuilding,” Thompson says.
“We hope to get started early on the recruiting process when the school year begins,” he says.