Many people are surprised to learn that Bates College is represented on the sea with our very own sailing team. The Bates sailing team is a student-run club that competes around New England. The team practices 15 minutes away at Taylor Pond in Auburn, Maine. They store their boats at a storing barn that is located on campus.

The team is coached by Peter Garcia and composed of an impressive 42 members of different experience levels, including first-years, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. In the fall of 2017, the team competed in ten regattas. There are no tryouts, so anybody can have the opportunity to sail if they are willing to learn.

The captains of this year’s team are Dylan Whitcraft ’19 and Claire Deplank ’20. Eleven first-years also joined this year’s squad: Ella Cameron, Genevieve Dickinson, Lily Edelman-Gold, Emily Entner, Caitlyn Fitzgerald, Joyce Gong, Sarah Herde, David Ingraham, Katrina Johnson, Hannah Lucas, and Monica Luna.

The team sends between eight and twenty sailors to regattas in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island on the weekends when they are in season during the fall and spring. Although the team got off to a tough start after losing the Maine Maritime regatta at the Penobscot Bay Open on September 9, on October 28, at the NEISA Dinghy Tournament in Providence, Rhode Island, the Bobcats came back strong and placed third out of nine teams. On the first day of the competition, Bates sailed a grand total of eight races and rewarded themselves with a well-deserved pizza party at Pepe’s Pizza. The next day, they secured their third-place finish with Whitcraft, Deplank, Kat Schell ’19, and Ian McNally ’20’s final races. The Middlebury College Panthers took second place, and the Massachusetts Maritime Academy Buccaneers sailed into first place.

Hannah Lucas ’21, a first-year Batesie from New York City, joined the sailing team when she arrived to Bates. I asked her to take me through a typical day as a Bates sailor.

“Practices are Monday through Thursday from 4:00 p.m. until sunset. We meet up at the boat barn on Frye Street every day and drive over to Taylor Pond, 15 minutes away, in student cars,” Lucas says. “Our coach’s name is Peter, and he comes to practice every day on a completely volunteer basis. We run drills Monday through Wednesday, and then on Thursday, we run a bunch of races and keep score throughout the season.” Lucas also notes that after every practice, the team drives back to Bates and eats together at commons.

The sailing team has been practicing since the fall. Their first regatta of the spring will be held April 24 at Boston University.

Lucas credited her teammates for making the sailing team a highlight of her Bates career so far.

“I have loved meeting some really great upperclassmen on the team. They were so welcoming and willing to help the freshmen with life at Bates as well as on the sailing team,” Lucas says. “However, it is so relaxed, because you can go to practices as often as you like, and the practices are more fun than intense!”

She enjoys spending time on the weekends with the team, as they frequently get together outside of practices and races.

“Sailing isn’t for everyone, but you will never know unless you try!” she says.