For BU’s Sailing Team, the Charles River Is Home
Club sport is both physically and mentally demanding, requiring respect, communication, and cooperation
There’s nothing more tranquil than watching a sailboat moving across the Charles River on a clear autumn day. It may look easy—it’s not. Just ask the members of BU’s sailing team, also known as the Boston University Dinghy Sailors, or BUDS.
The team, which currently has about three dozen students, practices and competes in all kinds of weather, battling rain, sleet, even snow, as well as wind and changing currents, as they navigate their boats—Flying Juniors, or as the team calls them, FJs—on the Charles River. For more than eight decades, the club, which competes at the varsity level, has earned a reputation as a fierce competitor. The BUDS have won an impressive seven national titles and produced more than 50 All-Americans.
The season is divided in two: preseason practice begins in August, with regattas being held September through November. The team then takes a short hiatus before resuming practice and competition from February through May.
The club operates out of a small boathouse next to the BU Bridge. Most of its regattas are across New England (the club competes in the New England Inter-Collegiate Sailing Association), but the sailors also travel to interconference regattas with schools across the country, and spend each spring break at different venues practicing for spring races.
Ask any BUDS member and they’ll tell you that the sport is both physically and mentally demanding and requires respect, communication, and cooperation in order to compete at the top level of collegiate sailing. But as a sport that involves two people in a boat under often rough conditions, it also forges close relationships.
“You really understand people once you’ve sailed with them and you’ve seen them in high-stress situations,” says team member Megan Blagden (CAS’20). “Every emotion possible is felt—and felt more intensely—on the water, so you really understand what’s going on with the other person.”