The Sailing team reached new levels of success when it came in third at the Middle Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association Conference Club Championship on Nov. 7 and Nov. 8.
The Sailing team, part of the larger Sailing Club, faces other schools in competitions, or regattas.
“We have a competitive side to the team,” coach Geoffrey Loffredo said. “But we also have a recreational side to the team for people who want to learn sailing or just have the opportunity to go sailing.”
As coach, Loffredo is in charge of running team practices, scheduling regattas, maintaining the equipment and boats and teaching the art of sailing.
Jason Rose, the sailing team’s Program Director and Faculty Advisor, is also there to help.
He runs all the administration for the club, manages business on campus, promotes the team and recruits new members.
“He’s a big supportive person of the team and someone who really provides us with a lot of guidance,” Loffredo said.
In addition, the team is aided by President Cody Murphy, a senior electrical engineering major, in his third year with the team.
Murphy helps organize the team and makes sure everything is running smoothly.
The three of them have helped make Stony Brook’s sailors a contending force in regattas. Each season, the sailors’ results have improved, allowing them to compete against higher-end schools.
“The Conference is made up of 54 teams,” Murphy said. “42 of them are club teams, and out of 42, we’re third.”
The third place finish earlier this month was the team’s best by far in competition this year in regattas against at least 18 teams, with Stony Brook’s previous best being ninth at the Jack Boehringer ‘52 Memorial Regatta in September.
Loffredo has been an integral part of this success.
“It’s really our coach, Coach Loffredo,” Rose said. “When he came on, we immediately started getting better. Every semester with him at the helm, we have been progressively increasing our rankings and reputation.”
According to Murphy, Loffredo drives 40 minutes each way to host two to three hour-long practices five or six days a week. But he isn’t the only one who shows dedication.
“We have a lot of really dedicated students on the team,” Loffredo said. “It was really nice to see all the time they put into it.”
Founded by four students and Rose, the team held its first practice in February of 2012. It has been growing in number and success ever since.
Around 80 individuals sailed with the team during this semester, with about 25 of them being active members who regularly competed in competitions.
“It’s just so rewarding to see the team so successful after basically starting with nothing,” Rose said.
The team hopes to qualify for the Spring Conference Championship and then qualify for Nationals from there. While this will not be an easy task, the belief is that it can be reached with time and practice.
The team also plans to do more fundraising so it will have the money to attend more regattas and practice against other sailors.
Furthermore, the team’s leadership hopes to continue expanding by recruiting new members.
“We’re raising awareness about the team,” Rose said. “I talk to people all the time who say, ‘I didn’t even know we had a sailing team.’ We’re gonna come up with strategies to promote the team even more.”
One of these strategies involves a new class at Stony Brook starting next semester. “Leadership and Service 102.28: Leadership Through Sailing” will be taught in the classroom by Rose, who is also a professor in the political science department. On-water sessions will be led by Loffredo.
“We basically show how sailing builds character and builds you as a leader,” Rose said.
You don’t need to have ever sailed before to take the class or to join the team.
“Sailing is actually a metaphor for life,” Rose said. “There are things in your life that you can’t control. Well in sailing it’s the same thing. You can’t control the winds that you’re given, but you can control how you deal with them.”
Featured Image Credit: HELEN DUFEL/STONY BROOK SAILING TEAM