New club sails to good start

Maria Brachelli

This semester the University welcomes a new club sport, sailing. Aided by the University of Pennsylvania, Drexel University, Villanova Office of Student Development and various corporate sponsors, Villanovans have assembled the resources for the new sailing program. Students interested in the sport of sailing gathered for the first informational meeting on Tuesday.

Steven Froelich and Christine Brooks, two students with sailing experience, began the club by working with Matt McKenzie, the club’s faculty advisor, and with the sailing coaches of UPenn and Drexel.

“This first semester has been a construction and building process,” Froelich said of his experience working with other students to begin the sailing club.

Once fully established, the Villanova Sailing Club will practice with UPenn and Drexel four times a week at the Corinthian Yacht Club, located about 20 minutes away on the Schuylkill River.

In regattas, Villanova will compete within the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA), which includes universities such as Princeton, Penn State Columbia and the U.S. Naval Academy.

“We can’t even afford our own boats right now,” Froelich said. “UPenn and Drexel have sponsored us. They have a yacht club membership and extra boats and life jackets. They provide everything for us; they have been a tremendous help to us. They just want to see new sailors out on the water.”

“They provide everything for us; they have been a tremendous help to us. They just want to see new sailors out on the water. We don’t know what we would do without them.”

Because the sailing club is starting as a club team, much of the financial burden falls on the students themselves. Through proposals sent to various companies and meeting with sponsors at trading expos, the Villanova Sailing Club has received some sponsorship. Some donations include hats and shirts to auction from sail maker North Sails. C & C Yachts and Tartan Yachts, both yacht builders out of Cleveland, Ohio, have donated a total of $1,000 to the club. The Office of Student Development contributed $500.

Renting boats at the Cooper River Community Sailing Club, travel expenses of students, membership’s fees and registration fees are some of the costs the club must cover through donations.

Froelich said the club is thinking of the long term. “We’d like to get our own boats and equipment and work independently of the other schools,” he said.

Froelich hopes to bring recognition to Villanova sailors all along the East Coast. “This semester [spring] is a shorter season because of the weather,” he said. “With twelve regattas total, it’s a bold number to schedule. But, I think there are enough talented sailors and I think we have enough interest to handle it.”

Students may participate as much or as little as they like in the club. None of the practices are mandatory. A swimming requirement must be met. Otherwise, experienced sailing club members are willing to teach all students how to sail.