The Sailing Club is putting a lot of wind behind its sails and encouraging Portland State students to get involved. It is one of the nine sailing clubs in the All Northwest Region. It competes with other institutions, such as University of Oregon, Washington State University, University of Washington, Western Washington University and the University of British Columbia. The Sailing Club has been doing very well for the past year and has overcome many humps in the years that it has been at Portland State University.
The club has been at PSU since the mid-1980s, when it was established by Tony Norris. He managed to acquire some boats for Portland State and establish a relationship with the Willamette Yacht Club, a local yacht/sailing club that sits on the Willamette near the Sellwood Bridge.
During that time, the Sailing Club was very active and did many things in the world of sailing. Carry Poe, current Sailing Club coach, and Chris Bittner put on a campaign for Olympic sailing while they were on the PSU team. Former PSU student Caleb Borchers was also involved in the club and took part in the America’s Cup race. Borchers is now a professional competition sailor.
The Sailing Club was very active until 1996, when it was faced with a transitional stage in which many of the active members left or graduated and nobody was around to take a role of leadership. It then faced a four-year period of inactivity; a period that almost resulted in Portland State getting rid of the boats and dropping the sailing program entirely.
The club was re-established in 2000, when Katie Leonard found a team and managed to receive funding from the Student Fee Committee.
Since then, the Sailing Club has been in full force, competing in Northwest Regional competitions, going to many out-of-state regattas and building a very good membership base. With great leadership from team members Anika Olsen, Jeff Causey and team coach Carrie Po, the Sailing Club has been making waves in races.
“I started sailing last year, and Anika has been here about two years,” Causey said. ” Last year was really when the team took off in terms of being competitive and being able to fill boats on a regular basis.”
This past year has been a very positive for the club, with Jeff Causey winning the All Northwest Skipper of the Year award and Anika winning the All Northwest Crew of the Year award. The Sailing Club also qualified for the Sloop North American Championships in Long Island, N.Y., and finished in 10th place.
The team encourages students to get involved in all of the activities that it puts on. Students who are interested in sailing can check out the club’s Web site at www.sailingclub.pdx.edu. Student interested in becoming a member of the team will pay a $50 membership fee and will have full access to the club’s seven boats ( two flying juniors, five Lasers) and have the opportunity to be trained to sail and compete in intercollegiate racing for a whole year (summer to summer).
Causey encourages students to participate with the Sailing Club: “We encourage students to check out the Web site, that has just had a facelift,” he said. “We hope students check out our sport and just get involved.”