Published: Feb. 15, 2017 By

While sailing might not be the first outdoor sport you think of trying in Colorado, the co-captains of the CU Boulder Sailing Club urge you to give it a try.

Doug Hamilton, a sophomore studying film production and creative writing, and Ryan Davis, a junior in aerospace science, are leading a recruiting effort and crowdfunding project.

Hamilton grew up sailing in Maine and was on the sailing team during high school in Connecticut. He’s also held various sailing jobs.

Sailing in Colorado“A lot of us on the Boulder team grew up sailing,” he said. “When we came to CU, we sought it out and found a scrap of team that we’re trying to build up. It’s a euphoric feeling—the wind and the splashing water and knowing it’s all you making the boat go fast.”

Davis learned to sail in his home state of Texas. 

“Sailing has always been a part of what I do,” Davis said. “It’s exhilarating, fun, relaxing and even scary sometimes. My most memorable moment sailing in Colorado was on a ripping day with wind blowing at 20 knots. There was another person in the boat with me and we were really cruising along. The rush of moving fast in the water, purely by wind, is wild. There’s nothing like it.”

The club has 15 active team members and they want to recruit more students to join them. Their practices are held in the afternoons and early evenings at the Boulder Reservoir. The team races in regattas held in other states, including at Baylor University and the universities of Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. Other than travel expenses, there is no limit to where the team can race and they are hoping to attend regattas on the West and East coasts.

It has not been consistently smooth sailing for the club, the only collegiate sailing program in Colorado. Started in 2007, the club dissolved five years ago, leaving students high and dry. Recently relaunched, the sailing team was again racing in regattas in other states. 

Just as the current club was gaining momentum, it had to retire its aging boats due to cracked hulls and split seams. Although the team can’t race its own boats, it can still compete out of state by borrowing other colleges’ boats. Relying on the generosity of other colleges is a temporary fix until the team can raise enough money to buy its own boats.    

To be viewed as a legitimate team in the South Eastern Intercollegiate Sailing Association, the team needs to be able to practice consistently to maintain a competitive edge, as well as host events in Boulder and compete in sailing events across the country. 

To do that, the club has launched a crowdfunding effort to raise $17,000 to buy six two-person sail boats called 420s, so called because the boats are 4.2 meters long. With these resources, the club can also recruit other CU Boulder students and provide opportunities to sail with the team to interested students and members of the Boulder community.

“Once we get our new boats, the possibilities are endless,” Hamilton said. “You can learn how to sail, you get to hang out with fun people and go to regattas.”  

For more information, visit the CU Boulder Sailing Club crowdfunding page