Lifelong Lessons at The Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta

In the August, 2012 issue, you might have read a story about my first time flying a spinnaker in a college regatta.  I returned to the same offshore regatta in Larchmont, New York, this year, excited to perfect the craft of downwind speed.
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 The author (center) with crew

The author (center) with crew

In the August, 2012 issue, you might have read a story about my first time flying a spinnaker in a college regatta. I returned to the same offshore regatta in Larchmont, New York, this year, excited to perfect the craft of downwind speed.

For a club team like mine, opportunities to sail on boats like Sunny Side Up, the J-105 out of Huguenot Yacht Club in New Rochelle are few and far between. The Storm Trysail Foundation, which coordinates the Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta in Larchmont every fall, is one of few organizations of its kind that actually make that possible. Owners lend—yes, you read that right—their beautiful boats to college kids for the weekend, putting their faith and their financial investments into our hands. It’s a pretty big leap of faith, but what Storm Trysail has proven is that by giving students the chance to race like the big kids, they’re more likely to stay involved and interested in the sport.

Storm Trysail’s mission is “To effect, promote and enhance the education of young sailors in safety at sea, safe boat handling in all conditions, and safe blue water racing and passage making, through the hosting of seminars, regattas, and other on the water training, and through the making of grants to other institutions to foster similar training.”

This organization is created around the idea of securing a future for the sport of sailing. By training young sailors on “big boats,” organizations like Storm Trysail help bridge that large gap between dinghy and blue water racing. This year’s collegiate regatta hosted a record 425 college sailors from 38 schools racing 45 boats—not only Js, but Benteaus, Expresses, Farrs, and C&Cs, to name a few. The level of participation made the IOR the largest collegiate regatta in the world.

 The author (third from left) and crew

The author (third from left) and crew

We didn’t place as well as we had hoped this year at the IOR. But that’s part of the sailing world that can only be learned through experience. We all have poor takedowns, bad wraps in our kites, sloppy gybes, and cranky crewmates. But, without the Storm Trysail Foundation many college sailors, like me, would have never had the chance to practice and learn those lessons. I will graduate from college in just a few short months, and I have no idea where I’ll be working or what city I’ll be living in. But what I do know is that I will be sailing—on lakes, rivers, or oceans, on boats big, small, or in between—until I’m as old as my salty Dad.

The Storm Trysail Foundation is a non-profit, 501(c) 3 organization. To find out more, or to donate, visit stormtrysailfoundation.org

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