PSU Sailing

The Portland State sailing club is one of the best-kept secrets on campus, but one that all PSU students and faculty can be a part of. Sailing offers a rush that few other campus clubs can match, and PSU has formed its own close-knit sailing community.

Commodore Brie Busey, left, shows new member Heather Wilson the ropes on Wilson’s first day with the club on April 12. Photo by Miles Sanguinetti.
Commodore Brie Busey, left, shows new member Heather Wilson the ropes on Wilson’s first day with the club on April 12. Photo by Miles Sanguinetti.

The Portland State sailing club is one of the best-kept secrets on campus, but one that all PSU students and faculty can be a part of. Sailing offers a rush that few other campus clubs can match, and PSU has formed its own close-knit sailing community.

Team commodore Brie Busey is looking forward to getting people back out onto the water.

“This season we have six or seven members,” Busey said. “Usually we have around 12, but winter can be a hard season to sail in…We are looking to build the team even more and have a great experience.”

The team spends weekends throughout the year traveling to regattas (races) all along the West Coast. Destinations include Seattle, Bellingham, San Francisco, Canada and the Columbia River Gorge. There will be a regatta held right here in Portland April 27–28.

The sailing club’s members have formed a bond with one another as members of a team, but they also love spending time with friends from other colleges, even if those friends also happen to be the competition.

“It’s always fun getting to hang out with everyone from the district,” Busey said. “When we travel, whoever is host we usually stay at their place. We are all close—what happens on the water stays on the water.”

The club does not discriminate against people who have never sailed before. Heather Wilson, a first-time sailor, showed up to the Willamette Sailing Club the same day I was there and put on a life jacket and hopped into a boat with the team. She was shown the basics of how to sail and was eager to get started.

“Everyone supported me today,” Wilson said. “I am excited to see what the race is like. I saw this was a great opportunity for me and thought, why not? I started today and will be sailing tomorrow.”

Students don’t have to wait for the beginning of a new term to sign up.

“We accept people at any time during the year,” team captain Alyssa Staples said. “People who compete with us have to be full-time undergraduates, but everyone’s allowed to sail…faculty, postgraduates, anyone.

“[We] want people to learn how to sail,” she continued. “We want you to love it.”

The team typically sails in two-person boats for competitions. The cost to join is $150 per term, and the club covers all travel expenses. Interested mariners can even come down and sail first before paying, just to make sure it’s right for them.

“Racing and traveling are some of my favorite parts about sailing,” Busey said. “It’s also a challenge, and I learn new things all the time. It’s an experience unlike any other—wind moving, water spraying everywhere, boat going fast…[it’s] a high-adrenaline sport.”

Meetings and practices are held at the Willamette Sailing Club, at 6336 SW Beaver Ave., every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 3 to 6 p.m. If you would like to get involved in PSU Sailing, visit sailing.groups.pdx.edu or email [email protected]