Building the pathway beyond college
Published on June 5th, 2018
The structure of youth sailing in the USA has an emphasis of age-based competition in youth-only boats. While the opportunity to compete against one’s peers is fulfilling and fun, this schedule can exclude experiencing other options within the sport.
When it’s time to move on from youth or school sailing, it’s critical to know where to go. For Will Kresic, this wasn’t a problem as he raced Sunfish before college and returned to class afterward. Now he is working to help transition others to follow his path.
While I was sailing collegiately, I recognized how there seemed to be a stigma against racing a “rec-type” boat like a Sunfish. Regardless, I held to my belief that the versatility of a Sunfish, and the availability and general accepting nature of its sailors, made Sunfish one of the best boats to sail for college graduates looking to stay in the sport.
To assist this belief, I organized an event to help increase young adult participation in sailing and specifically the Sunfish class. This year we celebrated the fifth annual UConn Spring Sunfish Alumni Regatta which brings together both alumni and current students to network as well as experience a boat that is both readily available, and can be easily raced post college sailing.
This year, fifteen alumni arrived at Coventry Lake hoping for a chance to show ten current students how it’s done. With twenty-five sailors but only eleven boats, early heats divide the fleet with sailors rotating in and out during the day. The combination of the quirky Sunfish and lake sailing always makes for an unpredictable event.
The concept has succeeded in seeing many of the participating sailors buying Sunfish over the past few years and even more having interest in joining the fleet going forward. A few have even sailed in the Sunfish North Americans.
Here’s a video from the alumni event: