College Sailing Team Spotlight: Yale University

With strong student leadership, Yale's sailing team focuses on improving and performing at full potential as often as possible.

Sailing World

College Sailing Team Spotlight

Yale University

Location/Enrollment: New Haven, Conn., 5,279 undergraduates; 6,381 graduates/professionals

Sailing Site: Long Island Sound

Facilities/Boats: Established in 1881, Yale Corinthian Yacht Club (YCYC) is the oldest collegiate sailing club in the world. Located in Branford, Conn., YCYC is about six miles from campus. The team has 20 420s, 12 FJs, four Lasers, and five motorboats.

Coaching: Zack Leonard, sailing director/head coach; Bill Healy, assistant coach; a seasonal assistant coach

Team Status: Varsity

YCYC maintains its history in student leadership. Although the team has full-time coaches and became a varsity sport in 2002—the same year the building was renovated—student officers, such as the commodore, secretary, and fleet captain, run the club. They manage everything from the facilities and fleet to fund-raising and hosting events, says Joe Morris '12. YCYC also runs a learn-to-sail program for kids and adults each summer.
Coaches Zack Leonard '89 and Bill Healy take charge of the racing aspect of the team. Leonard returned to his alma mater intending to coach for one year, and that was over ten years ago. Since then, he has never felt the urge to leave. "I'm lucky to get to work with some really talented and highly motivated people," he says, "and that's what makes coaching fun."

Leonard attributes the team’s success to the students’ love of sailing and the enjoyment they find in working to get better. The team doesn’t set specific goals, he says, but just focuses on improving and performing as often as they can at full potential.

Did you know?
Past YCYC members have competed in and won nearly every major sailing competition including: the Olympics—Jonathan McKee, 1984; the America's Cup—Peter Isler, 1987, and Briggs Cunningham, 1958; the Volvo Ocean Race—Stan Honey, 2006. Five Rolex Yachtsmen/Yachtswomen of the Year were also YCYC members.

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