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Sailing Club begins practice after a delayed start to the season

| Tuesday, October 6, 2020

The Notre Dame Sailing Club has adjusted to new COVID-19 rules and regulations, both on and off the boats, and is now setting sail into its third week of practice.

Meghan Cappitelli | The Observer

The Notre Dame Sailing club started their practices three weeks ago.

As a RecSports-registered team, Sailing Club was not permitted to begin practicing until Sept. 14. In the spirit of safety, the club took an extra week to devise a practice plan that adheres to necessary health guidelines.

This plan includes wearing masks while sailing, staggering entry to the boathouse area, spraying down the gear and boats post-practice and practicing in eight “pods.” Each pod has 10 members.

Senior and vice commodore Peter Pillari said these measures and the nature of sailing itself allows the team to conduct practice in a safe manner that closely resembles the way in which the team used to practice.

“Sailing is a distanced sport inherently because we are all on different boats,” Pillari said. “We are able to get out there and do many of the things we normally would, like teaching new members about sailing.”

However, there is one major difference between practices pre-pandemic and practices now, senior and commodore Chloe Frentzel said.

“Normally our practices are pretty free-flowing, and people just come when they are available,” Frentzel said. “This year, because of contact tracing, we have to assign groups and times, so people might not be able to come four times a week like they usually would.”

While practices have resumed in a semi-normal way, the team will be unable to compete in regattas this semester. For Frentzel and many other team members, not attending regattas is disappointing, as the events are typically a team-favorite.

“It’s nice to get to see the new sailors at their first regattas and also host teams here and show them around,” Frentzel said.

The club hopes to compete at some point during the year, but at this time continues to adhere to University policies, as well as the policies of other teams in the conference. In the absence of regattas, the club has been making efforts to foster an atmosphere of team bonding in other ways, including team dinners after practices.

Sophomore and vice captain Hope Gallagher described her favorite aspect of Sailing Club as the community, noting that the social part of the club looks a bit different this semester.

“A big part of the sailing club is the social piece, and a lot of years we get a handful of social members,” Gallagher said. “We try to host team dinners after practice to kind of build up some of those relationships, especially with the freshmen.”

For Gallagher, the lost opportunity of sailing in the warmer weather earlier this year was a significant disappointment.

“A big bummer of COVID was that in the time it took to coordinate everything, we lost a lot of time and warm weather,” Gallagher said. “We didn’t get to start until about two weeks ago, which is unfortunate since we were here for a good part of August.”

As the semester progresses, the Sailing Club hopes to continue practicing and get out on the water as a team.

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