e-Veritas Archive | November, 2009

Sailing ’Canes chart a winning course

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.
rcjones@miami.edu

The UM Sailing ’Canes practice four days week, honing their tacking and jibing skills on Biscayne Bay.

The UM Sailing ’Canes practice four days week, honing their tacking and jibing skills on Biscayne Bay.

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.

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Feats of Engineering

From a virtual cloud to a touch-screen interactive console, UM’s College of Engineering has unveiled technological advancements that are keeping it on the cutting-edge.

Virtual lesson: UM President Donna E. Shalala learns about the College of Engineering's new Virtual Academic Computing Platform from engineering student Randy Schwartz.

Virtual lesson: UM President Donna E. Shalala learns about the College of Engineering's new Virtual Academic Computing Platform from engineering student Randall Schwartz.

Scott Widener had never quite gotten used to the early-morning trips to campus. Sometimes, the doctoral student would rise as early as 3 a.m., stumbling out of bed to schlep to the computer labs at the University of Miami’s College of Engineering.

Until recently, those labs were the only place he could go to access the software he needed to solve perplexing problems in industrial engineering.

Now, new technology launched by the college is making it possible for Widener and other engineering students to use the college’s sophisticated software packages and obtain data from any computer, anywhere in the world.

For the college’s faculty and students, the Virtual Academic Computing Platform, or ViAComp, “has allowed for the virtualization of sophisticated software applications while reducing costs,” said Shihab Asfour, associate dean and interim chair of the Department of Industrial Engineering, which led the development of the system.

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