The commodore begins each session by quizzing his new sailors on the different parts of the boat. Asking questions about the boom vang, the different uses of the term ‘tack’ and which direction the wind is blowing.
First time sailors soak in the new vocabulary and eagerly await the opportunity to sail by themselves.
The water shimmers under the setting sun. The waves beat gently against the side of the laser and the small fleet of sailboats head out of the marina into the wind.
These students call themselves the UMHB CruSailors. They are a new organization on campus who share a common passion for learning the art of sailing.
Under the leadership of Lake Belton Yacht Club commodore Charlie Daniel, students are learning the terms and craft of sailing Olympic class one person racing boats (Lasers), Collegiate Performance 420 board-boats and Daniel’s personal Elite 37 racer/cruiser. He is eager to teach students the fundamentals of sailing in hopes of preparing them for regattas (boat races).
“You never know how much fun sailing can be until you’ve tried it a couple times,” Daniel said. “You should complete at least four or five sailing lessons before you decide if you want to invest your time in this sport.”
Junior international business major Tobin Davies was given the title UMHB commodore. He founded the CruSailors last semester because he was interested in learning more about water sports.
After researching many different options he decided that he wanted to bring sailing on campus. From the drafting of the constitution to the recruiting of members for the club, Davies is learning right along with the other students. He enjoys being out on the water and wants to take advantage of the nearby lake.
“Surrounded by cliffs, Lake Belton is one of the most beautiful lakes that I have seen in Central Texas … It is about three miles away from campus, yet many students do not get to enjoy the beauty and potential for recreation that it has,” he said.
Daniel, along with the Lake Belton Yacht Club, wanted to partner with UMHB to form a sailing group. They have set aside funds to purchase more collegiate boats and reduced the cost of the yearly membership fee to $50 in hopes of allowing students the opportunity to sail and enjoy the lake.
Junior cell biology major Keaton Koch has sailed twice with the club and thinks it’s the perfect outlet for anyone with an adventurous spirit.
“Our instructor (Daniel) was really good about teaching us all about the boat and how to get started. He let us learn by experience and by coaching us out on the lake,” he said. “By the end of the first day, I had basic technique down, and I was hooked.”
Daniel wants interested students to come to the hands-on training sessions at Frank’s Marina, but also to attend the regattas and work as crew for other yacht owners, which is how he learned to sail. In fact, he learned by showing up at races and asking different captains if he could join their sailing team for the day.
The commodores have set high goals for the organization. They hope eventually to become a racing team that one day will send a team of CruSailors to compete in the national championships. To find out about sailing sessions contact commodore Davies at (281) 782-0721.
Daniel encourages students to “learn enough about sailing to enjoy surfing across the lake on your Laser with the wind in your face, teeth gritted, and waves splashing across you while the boat is skipping across the waves like a jet ski, except with no motor.”