After winning all three national qualifiers by huge margins in April, the Wisconsin Sailing Team is now competing in the 2016 College Sailing National Championship May 24-June 4 in San Diego.
The sailing team, which is part of the Wisconsin Union Hoofer Sailing Club, includes both co-ed and women’s competitive teams consisting of 45 sailing team members.
According to Head Coach and Program Manager Dave Elsmo, winning all national qualifiers is very unusual in the competitive sailing community—especially for a team from the Midwest.
“Because we have to work so hard, it’s never been handed to us, so we don’t take it for granted,” team member Tate Castro said.
The team continues to succeed despite Wisconsin’s winter weather conditions. The team participates in a nine-day training session in the spring each year. This spring, the sailing team traveled to Florida where they sailed anywhere between six to nine hours each day.
“Everyone constantly pushes themselves on and off the water,” Castro said.
The sailing team is self-funded, an example of one of many student-led initiatives at the Wisconsin Union. Funding sources include private donations, club and team dues, and team member contributions.
Team members also conduct multiple fundraising efforts each year that contribute to travel expenses, equipment, hosting events and coaching.
“The thing that brings it all together is that students are in charge of everything from clothing to fundraising,” Elsmo said.
Additional funding would allow the team to fly instead of driving long hours to regattas. This would allow to the team to compete in more regattas during the off-season.
Next year, the team will co-host the College Sailing National Championship Chicago. Members are conducting a significant fundraising effort to make this possible. The team plans to buy 18 new boats for the championship and is seeking sponsors for these new boats.
For more information on supporting the sailing team, visit http://go.wisc.edu/3q2mrt.