North Texas Daily

UNT club sails to new heights

UNT club sails to new heights

UNT club sails to new heights
February 14
00:20 2019

The UNT sailing club placed No.8 in the Harris Kemper Intersectional competition this weekend in Galveston. Four years ago, the UNT sailing club was refounded by current vice president and media arts and psychology senior, Shelby Thornton.

The UNT sailing club is a part of the South East Interscholastic Sailing Association (SEISA), a conference within the Inter-collegiate Sailing Association (ICSA). While the team competes against other SEISA teams during their regattas, UNT competes with other conferences within the ICSA during an intersectional. 

(From left to right) Club vice president Shelby Thornton, club president Elizabeth Batton, and public relations director Brendan Frederick stand at the docks at the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club. Image by: Will Baldwin.

The club’s president and integrative studies senior, Elizabeth Batton, said the team has been having a good season and is looking forward to the next year for the club.

“Our season is going pretty well so far,” Batton said. “Right now in the club were at a place where we’re trying to rebuild and prepare the team for the future for when [Shelby Thornton] and I graduate. Since we have a lot of experience we are just trying to get others up to the level we are at right now.”

Four years ago, the UNT sailing club was refounded by current vice president and media arts and psychology senior, Shelby Thornton.

Thornton has sailed since she was a child and was excited to join the sailing club. When she learned the team disbanded after 30 years of being an established club,  Thornton was determined to bring it back.  After the fall of 2015, Thornton was able to get the club back on its feet with connections on campus and the help of the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club (DCYC).

“I had just asked every link I could find like ‘Where’s the sailing club? I know it exists!’ since I had been sailing for so long,” Thornton said. “Then someone here at DCYC who actually knew my father and me when I was really little, helped me get it started I got my boyfriend to help me and we did a bunch of recruiting during the summer and at orientation.”

Video by: Jessika Hardy

The club practices three times a week for around three hours each time in order to better their individual skills and their team as a whole.  The club’s public relations director, Brandan Frederick, emphasized the amount of practice required for the mental and physical parts of the sport, describing it as a game of chess on the water.

“I’m a biochemistry major and last semester I was taking 21 hours,” Frederick said. “It was very stressful, but every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, or whenever I could actually make it out, it’s nice to just sit out on the water. Especially when the sun starts to set and you get that orange glow over the horizon, why wouldn’t you like to do that? This has been some of the greatest time of my life. It definitely contributed to the majority of my happiness in college.”

The club is split into two teams — a competitive and a recreational team. The club is always accepting new members during the semester, no knowledge of sailing required. The club starts novice sailers on the recreational team for one semester. This way, experienced members can teach them the ropes before they join the competitive team.

Junior Brendan Frederick raises the mainsail before casting off onto Lake Lewisville. Image by: Will Baldwin.

“Sailing is absolutely a sport,” Batton said. “You’re moving around in the boat a lot, constantly adjusting your ropes. When the wind is heavy, you have to do something called ‘hiking’ where you put your feet under these straps and lean your body out of the boat backward, basically holding yourself parallel against the water with your abs. You wouldn’t think it would be that intense but I’ve come home from competitions with bruises all over from just being slammed around. It is definitely a sport.”

The UNT sailing club has recently received a $25,000 donation from the Hub Isaacks Foundation, which they are putting towards a new fleet of six boats. This is the first big transaction the club has handled and is in contact with the DCYC in order to use the money in the best way possible. The officers hope this will help grow the club for the future. The club also does at least two fundraiser events a semester to help fund the clubs necessities like jerseys, ropes, travel expenses and more.

“This is a really exciting time for the club,” Batton said. “We are hoping the six new boats allow us to have more people to join our club and just continue to grow the organization, which has been the goal since we were re-established.”

Featured Image: Senior Shelby Thornton and junior Brendan Frederick navigate a sailboat out of the Dallas Corinthian Yacht Club onto Lake Lewisville. Image by: Will Baldwin. 

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Bayleigh Swanton

Bayleigh Swanton

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