Sailing To Become Varsity Sport

Sailing, a club sport at Yale with a long tradition of strong undergraduate interest and international success, has been given varsity status, President Richard C. Levin has announced.

Beginning with the 2002 spring semester, Levin said Yale would have both a coed sailing team and a women’s sailing team, bringing the number of varsity sports offered by the University to 35.

“In recent years, both men and women undergraduates have added to the impressive Yale history of enthusiasm and accomplishment in competitive sailing,” Levin said. “These and other important factors led us to consider varsity status, and we are pleased to add sailing to Yale’s varsity offerings.”

The Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, established in 1881, is the oldest collegiate sailing club in the world. Yale’s varsity sailing teams will use the existing club facility, which is located in Branford, Conn. in a harbor superbly suited for the sport.

“This is an exciting step for sailing at Yale,” said Thomas A. Beckett, Yale’s director of athletics. “Yale sailing will be highly competitive on the varsity level and continue to offer a wonderful experience for the talented men and women who participate.”

Yale sailing will compete against several Ivy League schools and other regional opponents, including MIT, the Coast Guard Academy, Tufts University and Boston College.

Yale sailing has produced world champions, Olympic medalists and members of the College Sailing Hall of Fame. Two alumni - Jonathan McKee ‘93 and J.J. Isler ‘85 - sailed on the U.S. Olympic team in 2000. Two others - Louise Van Voorhis ‘91 and Elizabeth Kratzig ‘96 - made the Olympic trials.

The varsity sailing program has been fully endowed through an anonymous gift that will also support renovation of the sailing facility in Branford.

The examination of sailing for varsity status coincided with the development of a general policy statement that guided the University and will be utilized when it considers adding varsity opportunities at Yale. A copy of the policy statement, which suggests many of the factors that should be taken into account, is attached.

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