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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Smooth Sailing

Smooth Sailing

On September 30, the UMass Boston Sailing Team embarked on what would be their greatest victory in their 32 year history. The UMB Sail Team entered the Second Annual Boston Harbor Island Regatta with two 27 foot, Spinnaker class, three manned crew, Soling boats named Lord Bryson and Ragtime. In this open race against professional, collegiate and club sail teams our UMB Sail Team captained by sophomores Andrew Dunne, Chris Campbell, Mike Magni, and Jake Tavakoli took home four out of a possible five trophies. The team took first and second place in the Beal trophy, first in the Mayor’s Cup Fleet 2, and first in the Challenge Bowl. Sailing Team Head Coach and Sailing Program Director Jason LeBlanc said, “These guys have met every expectation I had of them and beyond.” Sail Club President and Sail Team Captain Mike Magni was quoted saying, “I am very excited that we one this race. This is not just a great victory for us as a team, but also for the Sailing program at UMass Boston and the school itself.”

I had the privilege to have a one on one conversation with Club President Magni and Head Coach LeBlanc to get there view on the Sail Club’s progress and future here at UMass Boston. Coach Jason LeBlanc was hired in 2004 to take over a stagnant and under funded Sailing Program here at UMass Boston. He revamped the entire program by bringing in new dedicated sailors and training them to be professionals like him. Coach LeBlanc is certified by the U S Sailing Association and received his sailing star here at UMass Boston. Before taking over here at UMass Boston, he was in the sailing industry itself in various capacities. Coach LeBlanc credits his success here at UMass Boston to the group of young men and women he has around him. “These guys deserve all the credit in the world for making this Club such a success this year,” Coach Leblanc.

Club President Mike Magni has been on board since the spring of 2006 and has high hopes for this very special group. Sophomores Chris Campbell and Jake Tavakoli started to rebuild the Sail Club last year, but gave Magni the helm when they saw his great leadership abilities. The Sail Team is the only coed sport on campus and has and membership of 15 plus. Since competitive sailing doe not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCAA, the team has to receive funding from Student Life for support every semester. They get minimal funding from the Athletic Department and are practicing with the same equipment that the school purchased for them when they first started the club in 1974. Still, this group has put in all of their time energy and even their own money to building a team that is now rivaling Division I schools such as the Coast Guard and The United States Naval Academy, all of the Maritime Academies, and even Harvard and Yale. Also, the Sail Team has not experienced the problems that most of the other Athletic teams on campus have faced with recruiting and maintaining members. Captain Magni credits his knowledge of sailing from working with Coach LeBlanc as a work study instructor and the success of the Club on the fraternity of the Team. “We sail everyday before after and sometimes during class. We eat together drive to meets together and sometimes we’re crashing on each others couches because we have to be somewhere early in the morning,” Magni.

This weekend the Sail Team travels down to Larchmont, N.Y. on the Long Island Sound to enter what is know as the “Super Bowl of Intercollegiate Sailing,” the Stoneham Trisail Club Intercollegiate Offshore Regatta. Captain Magni admitted to being a bit apprehensive about this event, but still had confidence in his team to do well. Coach Leblanc had this to say about the upcoming event and all other events in the future, “My guys work hard. The people we have in the Club work hard. We have a great school with a beautiful view of the harbor were people can see the races. We are always looking for new people to help us out and win. I see no reason why the group of sailors I have right now can not be placed in the top ten in any race against anybody in the country.”