The members of the Dalhousie Tigers Sailing Club have their sights (and sails) set on France.
The university’s sailing team has qualified to represent Canada at both the 2011 and 2012 Student Yachting World Cups. The Tigers earned their way to the 2011 event by defeating a team from the University of Guelph in a national-qualifying regatta in Oakville, Ont. in May and won the right to represent Canada again at the 2012 world championships by squeaking out a victory over McMaster in the Canadian University Keelboat Championships in Halifax, N.S. last weekend.
The Student Yachting World Cup is an International Sailing Federation-sanctioned week-long world championship event, organized annually by students at École Polytechnique, a French engineering school. The event attracts the best student crews from all over the world and will take place October 21-28, 2011 in La Trinite-sur-Mer, in the Brittany region. A date and location for the 2012 event have not been finalized.
“Both qualifying regattas were mentally draining,” says David Castle, president of the Dalhousie club. “During our final races, wind conditions were very light so we had to be extremely focused; we knew simple boat handling wouldn’t be enough to win and that our decisions on the water would either make or break us.”
Dalhousie is only the second university to represent Canada at the Student Yachting World Cup – Queens University competed in 2007 and again in 2010, placing sixth out of sixteen teams, Canada’s best finish to date.
“The teams from Britain will no doubt be top contenders, since they won last year. We know the competition over there will be fierce but we’re training hard and plan to compete just as hard. We couldn’t be more excited about this opportunity or more proud to be representing our country and our school.”
Besides stiff competition from the 15 other teams competing for the title, the seven-person crew from Dalhousie faces another obstacle in the quest for a World Cup - they are trying to raise the necessary funds to help them cover their costs for both trips.
The Dalhousie Sailing Club estimates it will require nearly $26,000 (or approximately $3,700 per sailor) in order to compete in France in 2011 alone. Expenses include transportation, boat rentals, food and gear.
The club is currently looking for sponsors and is also hoping to hold various fundraisers to help earn the funds required. They leave for France on October 19.
“Fundraising is obviously extremely important to us. This trip is a huge financial commitment for the members of the team, when you take into consideration that we are all university students, with tuition to pay and all the expenses that go along with being a student,” explains Castle. “We are hoping some members of the local business community may be interested in supporting us, to help us defer some of the costs.”
Team members representing Canada and Dalhousie University at the 2011 Student Yachting World Cup include David Castle, Hugh Goodday, Justin Hall, Valerie Keast, Ted Murphy, Catherine Richards and Jacob Chaplin-Saunders.
The Dalhousie Sailing Team is a member of the New England Intercollegiate Sailing Association (NEISA) and competes in regattas throughout New England in the fall and spring against schools such as Harvard, MIT, Dartmouth and Yale. The team races with Club 420s out of the Royal Nova Scotia Yacht Squadron in Halifax’s Northwest Arm.
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