A Guide

photo of 420 sailboat

The sport of college sailing is run by the Intercollegiate Sailing Association, an organization that puts on regattas (or sailing competitions) for schools with teams. According to the ICSA website, teams can either be varsity-level teams, which means that they typically have funding from the university and receive instruction from a paid coach, or they can be club teams. The majority are club teams.

According to the ICSA website, there are 218 schools that compete in ICSA regattas, and the ICSA is divided into seven districts based on regions. For example, the University of Florida has a club sailing team, and it is part of SAISA, or the South Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association.

Teams sail in regattas against other teams in their district, and if they succeed, they move on to compete in Semi-Nationals and Nationals. Fleet racing is conducted in two-person dinghies, typically either in 420s or in FJs. There are separate races for sailors who compete in Lasers and J-22s.

According to Yale University's website, Yale established the first college sailing club in 1881, but the sport of fleet racing didn't take off until 40 years later, in 1928. Today, the sport is wildly popular, especially among schools with coastal locations, and often, members aren't required to have very much experience before joining.

This website will give you an inside look into the art of college sailing, the rules, the basic structure, as well as a look at one club team in particular, the University of Florida Gator Sailing Team.