Sailing is a sport often connected with high income and privilege, but the OSU club hopes to bring sailing to the masses. Founded in 1978, the club has had peaks and valleys in its popularity, even going dormant for several years, but having just wrapped up its most successful season yet racing in the Northwest Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NWICSA), it’s stronger than ever. The goal is simple: to have fun out on the water while becoming a more competitive team.
Club President Brian Hickman is a sophomore at OSU and has been racing since his senior year of high school in Portland. He says that while the club is serious about racing and moving up in the ranks, it is also open and welcoming to students of all levels of experience, including complete landlubbers.
The current incarnation of the club, restarted in 2004, has found success racing in the competitive NWICSA against fellow Oregon powerhouses U of O and Portland State as well as teams from Washington and Canada. The club finished the 2012-2013 season ranked third in the Northwest, its best finish in years. But Hickman’s not satisfied with that.
“We hope to be in second by next year,” he says, setting his sights on Western Washington University and University of Washington, the two teams ahead of OSU.
The club uses five university-owned Flying Junior dinghies and practices on Tuesday and Thursday evenings in the Fern Ridge Reservoir near Eugene. Competitions take its members up and down the coast from Victoria, British Columbia to San Francisco. They even hosted their own race, the Ranier Cup, in Cascade Locks this past April.
For more information about the club or to join, call OSU Sport Clubs at 541-737-4083 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Ygal Kaufman