Sailing won’t get you into college

Published on April 10th, 2018

by Chris Klevan, Airwaves
One afternoon in early June 2013, the Head Coach of the Boston College Varsity Sailing Team, Greg Wilkinson, sent an email to Zack Leonard, Head Coach of the Yale sailing team. The email contained an attachment, an open letter titled, “Dear Youth Sailing Parents.” The first line of the letter reads, “We’re writing to apologize for misleading you.”

Mr. Wilkinson hoped that all the college sailing coaches would sign the letter, aspiring that the leaders from college sailing, collectively, could save the readers from themselves. Unfortunately, this letter was never sent.

The letter echoes the sentiments felt by many coaches across college sailing. It was written to try to flip the misconception about youth sailing’s impact on any given sailor’s future in college.

True, junior sailing can help one hone some of the skills needed to get ahead of the steep learning curve that is college sailing. There’s no doubt that most of the best in the game today have had success in sailing prior to arriving to college.

However, skipping your SAT prep class to crisscross the country building the “perfect” sailing resume is a terrible misstep. Moreover, to suggest that there is any one class of boats that is more relevant due to the attention coaches pay to it is totally off base.

“We are NOT looking for class champions from any one particular class,” stated Wilkinson. “You would be ill advised to counsel your sons and daughters to sail a particular boat because ‘that’s the boat that the college coaches pay attention to’. That single boat does not exist.” – Full report.

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