Yale President Richard Levin ended a long quest by one of Yale’s best club sports yesterday when he announced that sailing will become a varsity sport this spring. The decision is the right one both for the sailing team — which has been trying to become a varsity sport for years — and for the Athletics Department.
The team brings a tradition of success and immediate competitive potential to Yale’s varsity athletics program. Yale sailing alumni have competed at the highest collegiate and international levels, and this year’s team has a chance to qualify for the national championships in Hawaii.
The team also boasts the historic Yale Corinthian Yacht Club, which is currently in dire need of repairs. But thanks to both a large, anonymous gift to the team made this fall and the recent upgrade to varsity status, the yacht club should be fixed soon.
Finally, the sailing team brings something few would think of at first. There are about twice as many female sailors as male team members, which means that integrating sailing into the varsity program moves Yale toward fuller Title IX compliance.
Whatever the final reason for the University’s decision, yacht club Commodore Michael Renda ’04 was right when he said this is the best thing that has happened to Yale sailing in a long time.