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Sailing sits out fall, plans big spring return

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Sailing sits out fall, plans big spring return

The DePaul sailing club has partnered with Chicago Sailing in Belmont Harbor to provide them access to gear and boats.

The DePaul sailing club has partnered with Chicago Sailing in Belmont Harbor to provide them access to gear and boats.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUL SAILING CLUB

The DePaul sailing club has partnered with Chicago Sailing in Belmont Harbor to provide them access to gear and boats.

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUL SAILING CLUB

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEPAUL SAILING CLUB

The DePaul sailing club has partnered with Chicago Sailing in Belmont Harbor to provide them access to gear and boats.

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Part sailing and part social, the DePaul sailing club puts itself in the running for one of the best clubs on campus. Members meet once a week to head out onto Lake Michigan for a late afternoon sail, followed by a group outing for food and drinks after they’ve docked.

But as most university sailing teams across the country took to the water this fall, the DePaul sailing club was noticeably absent. Due to a change in the way funding is now allocated for club sports at DePaul, the sailing club wasn’t able to secure its funding in time to get out on the lake this quarter.

“I’ve had people texting me asking when we’re going out,” said club president Ryanne Braun, adding that while the team could have fronted their own money for boats and gear rentals and waited to be reimbursed by the school, they decided to sit this season out without guaranteed funds.

Still, the club’s hiatus hasn’t deterred member enthusiasm. Even with the absence of sailing this quarter, Braun and the rest of the club are excited for the upcoming season, especially now that funding has been finalized.

“We have big plans for spring,” said Braun, who is in charge of planning, budgeting, and organizing the club’s boat charters. A reorganization of club funds has allowed them a slightly bigger budget per quarter, and perhaps more importantly, given them the resources to sail during the summer, which is a huge season the club has been missing out on the last few years.

Thew funding also means that club members only pay a $10 fee to join for the year, and the club will now be able to charter ve boats at a time, allowing more members an opportunity to sail.

“It’s so much fun,” said Braun. “We go out and relax and the weather is so nice. You meet people who love the water, and you’re on a boat with these people for two or three hours so you learn a lot about them.”

DePaul’s club is recreational rather than competitive, so it attracts a wide range of members with different levels of experience. Braun, now president of the club, didn’t know how to sail before she came to DePaul. She grew up on speed boats, and jokes that because there was no speed boat club at DePaul, she went for sailing instead.

“I love the water, and Lake Michigan provides such an amazing opportunity,” said Braun. “Why not get involved?”

Similarly, team captain Andrew McShane wasn’t into sailing until he joined the club, either. Even though he comes

from a family of sailors, he hadn’t tried his hand at the sport until he was at DePaul.

“We assume a lot of people don’t know what they are doing, so we really like to start at a base level because it allows for the most amount of people to come out and try,” said McShane.

The club has a partnership with Chicago Sailing in Belmont Harbor, which allows them access to gear and boats. Members typically sail in a J-22, a popular 22-foot racing sailboat that accommodates up to ve people. Chicago Sailing also gives DePaul a discount — boat charters that would usually cost about $100 are only $82 because the club is university affiliated.

“We’ve built up a really nice relationship with them the last couple years,” said McShane about Chicago Sailing. “They love DePaul students because we take care of their equipment and we tend to know what we’re doing out there.”

When new members join the club, they

typically sail with the team captains for about eight hours, and then receive their certification through Chicago Sailing. e certification involves a test course with a certified Chicago Sailing instructor, which assesses the basics of operating the boat by yourself and includes safety measures like a man-overboard drill.

Director of operations at Chicago Sailing, Graham Sauser, said that DePaul is currently the only university that the company is affiliated with, and so far, it’s been going well. “ ey respect the equipment and they are a good group of sailors,” he said. “And it’s a great, affordable way to get started in the sport.”

All team captains are also certified and trained through Chicago Sailing so they can help coach the new club members, no matter their skill level.

“It’s a really chill environment, Chicago Sailing included,” Braun said. “Everyone makes it a place where anyone can learn.”

Unsurprisingly, the club is a popular one, and there’s usually a waiting list for weekly sailing outings.

“In the past, the first 20 people to email after 6 p.m. on Monday get spots on the boat to sail on Thursday,” said Braun. Even though new funding allows the club to start chartering ve boats instead of four, space is limited with a boat capacity of only ve people.

Still, the club captains encourage everyone who’s interested to come out when the club kicks back into gear in the spring, usually around May, for a new sailing season and the club’s first ever funded summer outings.

The DePaul Sailing Club can be contacted at DePaulsailing2016@gmail.com.

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Sailing sits out fall, plans big spring return