Despite an all-volunteer coaching staff, limited travel budget, and borrowed boats, the UM Sailing ’Canes is establishing a reputation for itself, earning a top-20 national ranking from the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association.
By ROBERT C. JONES JR.
Their boats are borrowed. When they travel to regattas, it’s by automobile, not airplane. And to cover their travel expenses to weekly competitions, they can’t simply dip into an ever-expanding budget, but must sell T-shirts and hats with their team logo, and appeal to the local sailing community for support.
Despite such odds, the University of Miami Sailing ’Canes has been able to jibe and tack with the best collegiate sailing teams in the nation, in some races beating powerful programs with huge budgets, vast resources, and full-time paid coaches.
“It’s proof that if you have the drive and the will to make it happen, you can be successful,” David Hernandez, a sophomore skipper on the squad, says of the team’s accomplishments.
After an 11th-place finish at the Atlantic Coast Championships on the Charles River at Harvard two weeks ago, the Sailing ’Canes have wrapped up the fall season ranked No. 13 in the nation by the Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association, surprising even its own sailors, who set out at the beginning of the autumn campaign with a goal of merely cracking the top 20.