THURSDAY, APRIL 16
OKLAHOMA CITY — In the wake of tremendous success with its rowing program, Oklahoma City University has launched another nautical sport — sailing.
The OCU Sailing Club is not yet a full-fledged competitive sailing team, but founding member and coach Glede Holman said the course is charted for quick growth at its Lake Hefner headquarters thanks to the help of various groups.
“We’ve had a lot of interest from people who have ties to the university, including several students here now,” Holman said. “Alumni, faculty, staff — the interest for a sailing club came from all directions. And with support coming from other groups, we knew it was time to get going.”
Within a month after its first meeting in February, the OCU Sailing Club had 21 people ready to join, the Oklahoma City Boat Club offering to help and it even participated in its first competition, the Bedlam Regatta hosted by Oklahoma State University on Lake Carl Blackwell March 21. The club became an Intercollegiate Sailing Association member and obtained a couple of practice boats through donations.
Holman said the club is hoping to build a “standard fleet” in a few years that would allow the university to host its own regatta at Lake Hefner, which is one of the best sailing lakes in the world. A standard fleet is made up of enough matching competition boats to support participating teams so that no team will have an advantage when it comes to the equipment.
In the meantime, the competitive side of the club is planning to participate in regattas this summer and in the coming school semesters, as Holman pointed out there are opportunities to compete almost any time of year. Some members of the club are in it for the recreational experience only, and Holman said it is even open to those who have never been on a sailboat.
“You don’t have to be a sailor to join, but you do have to be a sailor to operate the boats,” he said. Perhaps because of his official duties at OCU — as the university risk management official — Holman insists that everyone who operates a boat be trained to do so. But he added that the experienced club members are eager to help beginners through the process. Formal classes, utilizing the U.S. Sailing curriculum, will be scheduled for this summer and fall.
Sailing club fever has spread to other universities in the region. Holman said OCU is working with the University of Central Oklahoma to get that club re-established with the possibility of sharing some resources. The two schools are also working with a club at the University of Oklahoma to spark more interest throughout the area. There is hope that Southern Nazarene University and Oklahoma Christian will follow suit.
And Holman doesn’t expect getting more interest will be too difficult.
“It’s easy to get hooked on sailing. There’s a lot of tradition behind it,” he said. “Sailing demands good sportsmanship and fairness. It’s a test of skill in how to manipulate all the controls of a boat with the given environmental conditions in order to get to where you want to go in as little time as possible.”
OCU Sailing Club meeting- Collegiate Team
Cutline for linked photo: Members of the new OCU Sailing Club return to the docks at Lake Hefner during a recent outing.