UNO Sailing Club competes in first invitational regatta

Jamie Lloyd, Staff

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The University of New Orleans Sailing Club participated in their first-ever invitational regatta hosted by RICE University in Houston during the first weekend of October. Three UNO students from the club (senior Emily Digiovanna, sophomore Nigel Watkins, and club president Morrgan Haack) were selected to compete and gained some valuable experience in the process, having placed fourth overall in their first regatta, beating out nationally-ranked universities.

Morrgan Haack, junior in NAME (naval architecture and marine engineering), said he is proud of their achievements in the world of SEISA district college sailing. “This is the best that UNO’s done since Katrina. It’s been awhile since UNO’s raced that well.”

The regatta, a series of competitive boat races, is an alumni event dubbed by RICE as “Owlpalooza” that largely draws in teams from high-profile state colleges in the region, such as Texas A&M and Baylor; however, other teams closer to home, such as Tulane, made appearances alongside UNO. RICE alumni supported housing and travel costs for all teams that participated, making it an affordable event for competition and camaraderie among the university sailing community in the SEISA district.

Haack hopes to expand the sailing club in the next few semesters to take on more exciting challenges, training students into sailors. “We get people that don’t know how to sail all the time…any person that’s at UNO can join, even if it’s advisors. For students, if you have a student ID, if you know how to swim, you’re good to go. It’s open to the public, we teach you how to sail if you don’t know how to sail, and it’s really fun.”

The sailing club has been around since 1962, making it one of the oldest clubs affiliated with the University of New Orleans. The club operates spring and fall semesters with a $35 fee per semester for frequent members.

As for future endeavors, Haack hopes to take the club to new heights never seen before in its 54-year-old history, which means racing in official races (such as another SEISA regatta hosted by Southern Yacht Club on Oct. 22), and with some practice, getting the club to nationals.

“Our goal for this next semester is to try to get into nationals, to get nationally ranked. For that, we need to be in the top two boats, the top two teams in SEISA.” Haack explained that the top two teams in the SEISA college conference are guaranteed to race with other national conferences.

The club also plans on going back to the Owlpalooza regatta. “If they ever do another invitational like that, we’ll definitely be interested.”

“Hopefully we can get there—I believe that we have the talent to do it—we just have to put in some dedication and some time, and I think we’ll do it.”

For more information about the UNO Sailing Club, check out the UNO student organization page online or attend the regatta at Southern Yacht Club on Oct. 22 to see the Sailing Club in action.

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