A new adventure: Experiencing DePaul Prep’s sailing club

Ivy Frater, Staff Writer

A little over a month ago, I got my first taste of high school sailing.  I had sailed a little before, but I was not prepared for the challenges that were about to face me.  That first day, I couldn’t rig (set up the boat) to save my life.  I barely knew how to man the sails, and I knew absolutely nothing about racing.  When my brother and I tried to get out of the harbor for the first time, we didn’t even get 100 feet before having to turn around.  Then, I was placed in the Sonar Sailing group.  There were kids in there that had been sailing for years, and some that had never stepped on a boat in their lives.  It was there that I really felt my skills grow.  

The sailing team was started by four DePaul Prep students: Nate Moyer, Aiden Martin, and Charlie Gallagher.  As Coach Katie Tinder says, “The three sailors and families have been participating in sailing for a long time, and when they realized that they had enough students to start an interscholastic program, they decided to join in the fun with the over 6,000 students who participate on 587 high school teams around the United States.”

On our first day of practice, we started out with the basics: points of sail, rigging, basically everything you need to know before getting on a sailboat.  Then, we got out onto the lake. On some days, the wind was barely blowing, and our boat was relaxing, moving at a glacial pace.  But, other days, we were being whipped around.  At some points the boat keeled so far that it felt like we were going to capsize.  After a couple practices, I was racing, driving and manning the sails, learning more and more everyday.

When your skills have advanced enough in sonar sail, you have the opportunity to move up to the JV or Varsity levels.  That’s where it gets more competitive.  Instead of the big five-person sonars we use,  higher levels use smaller J-22s with only two people, a skipper and a crew.  There, you can compete in regattas and races all around the country.  

High school sailing can teach you more than just controlling a boat.  When asked about how sailing has helped her in her real life, Katie Tinder, coach of Sonar Sail, said it taught her that, “Hard work pays off – I was not always the best sailor, but my determination helped me to improve my skill sets tremendously. I sailed against some of the best sailors in the US when I was in college and realized that I needed to be on top of my mental and physical game and spend as much time in the boat as possible if I really wanted to improve.”

Whether you’ve been sailing once, or for your whole life, the DePaul Prep sailing team has something for you.