The hype of a new Auburn football season makes it easy for Auburn’s other sports to go unnoticed. One group that seems to remain under the radar? Auburn Sailing.
Auburn University’s Sailing Club consists of about 25 members, andis part of the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association. The team competes year-round and is always welcoming new members. “To be part of the team requires no previous experience,” says Samantha Vaughn, the club’s director of programming and social media, “just an eagerness to learn.”
Members enjoy cruising on 22-foot-long Catalina boats in their free time, but for competitions they compete in “420s,” also known as dinghies.
“Competitions are called ‘Regattas,’ and races can be a real challenge when there is no wind,” Vaughn says. While wind is crucial, it also presents the biggest challenge on the water.
“The most difficult thing is reading the wind, especially when you’re racing. If you can’t read the wind correctly you won’t be able to adjust the sails in order to move the fastest.”
The team, which has existed in some form since at least 1959, practices at Lake Martin every weekend, weather permitting. Regattas are held at various universities throughout the southeast.
“College of Charleston is definitely our biggest competition,” Vaughn says. “They are very experienced and rarely lose.”
Host universities must be able to provide dinghies for each team. As it currently doesn’t have enough boats to host a competition, Auburn’s team travels frequently, which according to Vaughn makes for a very close-knit group.
“I didn’t know anyone in the club when I joined, but we have all become so close and there is a big social aspect to it,” she says.
“Joining this organization is one of the best decisions I have ever made.”
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