Hodson Boathouse hosts weekly open sail to teach inexperienced students

By Mikayla Silcox

Web Editor

Washington College’s location on the Chester River allows the campus to offer something that many other colleges cannot: its waterfront campus.

To help make this experience accessible and enjoyable to everyone, the Hodson Boathouse staff, alongside the Washington College sailing team are offering weekly open sails.

From 4 through 6 p.m. every Friday, sailing team members take students, faculty, and staff members out on the Chester River for an evening of adventure and learning.

Participants are invited to the Hodson Boathouse, where members of the sailing team will take them out on the boats and teach them how to sail.

The team will equip participants with life vests, followed by instruction on how to take on roles such as skipper and crew with an experienced sailor.

Open sail was started along with the sailing club prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, the sailing team has taken further initiative in getting students and staff out on the water.

“The sailing team has taken a particular interest in open sail. They really enjoy hosting,” Waterfront Director Benjamin Armige said.

The only requirement to participate is a passed swim test.

“You’re in college for four years, you’re here to learn. This is a great opportunity to become a sailor. One afternoon and you’ll get a really good idea on how to work the boat,” Armige said.

Participants can attend as often as they desire. In the past, some loved it so much they have gone on to join the sailing team.

“Open sail was actually how I became a part of the team,” sailor sophomore Nora Beebe said. “I just kept showing up and they took me in. Open sail is what started my love of sailing.”

The sailing team takes a particular interest in sharing their love for the sport and the water with their peers.

“It’s fun. The sailing team brings in their friends who have never sailed into this other world,” Armige said.

A huge part about open sail is getting students to experience the waterfront and the resources the College has to offer.

The waterfront staff has just implemented a new giant water mat, for students to kayak out to and lounge on.

“The waterfront community is always there with open arms for anyone on campus if they wish to sail, row, kayak, tube, or just lounge around on a giant water mat,” sailor sophomore Mia Snyder said.

Snyder feels that students seeking more out of college should try out life on the water, and open sail is a great introduction to that.

“It’s something that a lot of students and faculty have never done or even fathomed prior to attending the open sail,” Snyder said.

Open sail, like other waterfront activities, can be used as a relaxing outlet or an afternoon of adventure. As students and faculty become more equipped and knowledgeable about how to sail, they can take greater charge of their waterfront experience.

The program closes for the season in October. Until then, everyone is welcome every Friday to join the sailing team at the Boathouse to learn a new skill, or even just have an afternoon navigating what the waterfront has to offer.

Photo Caption: Every Friday from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., the WC sailing team invites students to learn how to sail at open sail.

Photo courtesy of Mia Snyder

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