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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

2-26-24 PDF
February 26, 2024
An inside look at Bobby B. Beacon’s insides. Illustrated by Bianca Oppedisano/ Mass Media Staff.
Bobby's Inside Story
February 26, 2024

Hey Guess What? There’s an Ocean Outside


Photo by Andrew Ryan

So, you may have noticed that we have an ocean next door. The campus sits on land reclaimed from the sea, but the fact that it is a peninsula is a luxury often overlooked by UMass Boston students. Junior Abigail Balme is looking to change that. She is bringing boating back to campus in the form of a waterfront recreation club.

This is the first organization of its kind at UMass Boston since 2009. Balme said, “Sailing is the reason that I came here, and they got rid of sailing when I got here.” She added, “In the fall of this year, I tried to go down to the harbor to do some sailing. It’s too complicated, which is why nobody’s going down there, so I think a sailing club will get some traffic.”

Balme is working quickly to get the club organized. She said, “We’ll be tabling near the cafeteria for the first week of March. So far we have a lot of names, but I don’t know the commitment level for everyone. We should have boats in the water for spring break, and by the fall we’ll have a team that can race in regattas against other schools.”

The club isn’t starting from scratch. According to Balme, “We have some 420s, dinky little fat, slow things, [and] we’re bringing in some Lasers, a boat that’s built for more speed. We have tons of kayaks and paddleboards that we can use. […] There are also a lot of boats behind the Clark Center that can be repaired and we can use.”

The boats and other equipment belong to Boating in Boston, an independent company contracted by the university to assist with the waterfront recreation program.

Balme is excited about the possibility of getting UMass students back into sailing. She said, “What we’re doing with this boating club is getting people who are interested in the waterfront down there to experience it. […] Then from that, we’ll pool people from the sailing lessons that we’ll offer, and build a team up from there.”

The ocean is a valuable yet underused resource available to UMass students. That is reflected by the presence of other Boston schools on our waterfront. Harvard, MIT, and Boston College all utilize the space right next door to campus to train their sailing teams, which are all among the best in the nation. With such a great asset, you can imagine how enthusiastic Balme would be about a potential program on campus.

The potential here is nearly endless. If enough interest can be generated, and enough students opt to join the club, then it’s very possible that UMass could be a major player in the packed Boston sailing scene. This is the only campus in the city that sits on the ocean, and students here need to start realizing how lucky they are. While there are recreational boating opportunities already being offered on campus, a boating club or sailing team would generate new interest and awareness of the great location that this campus is on, even if it sits on top of garbage.