People and Community Sports

Sailing ’Canes cruise to national success

The club sport has launched from the local waters of Biscayne Bay onto the national stage. Having shown exceptional skill and determination navigating challenging courses, the fleet now will compete at the Intercollegiate Sailing Association championships.
Sailing Canes Natalie Elder and Atlee Kohl

Natalie Elder and Atlee Kohl are members of the University's sailing team.

It’s no secret that the ’Canes have been making waves in the competitive world of college athletics. So too, however, has the University of Miami’s sailing team, one of the many club sports on campus. 

With their unwavering commitment to excellence, the team has achieved remarkable success, consistently finishing at the top of various regattas and recently qualifying for a national championship. 

Its current ranking as one of the best collegiate sailing teams in the country comes as no surprise to those who have followed the team’s impressive performance throughout the season. Since being selected as South Atlantic Conference of Intercollegiate Sailing Association’s (SAISA) Sailors of the Week, the group has shown exceptional skill and determination, navigating challenging courses and fierce competition with finesse and strategy. 

"I grew up in a family that's always sailed, so when I decided to come to this school, sailing was definitely a big part of it," said Natalie Elder, a sophomore in the Miami Herbert Business School from Boston, Massachusetts. "It felt right then, and it feels right now. I'm really proud of how we've come so far and I'm excited to be a part of this team's future,” she said. 

The University’s sailing team boasts a roster of talented and accomplished sailors who have demonstrated outstanding teamwork, sportsmanship, and skill. The Sailing ’Canes is unique with Coach James Davidson volunteering to lead the student sailors, combined with the resourceful “8 Flying Juniors” coming together to beat some of the best ranked teams in the SAISA league and rally support from other students. 

“Even though we’re an athletic program it really feels like we all came together and made it a personal effort,” said Atlee Kohl, a sophomore on the team hailing from the U.S. Virgin Islands. “[Coach Davidson] was volunteering his own time to help us, but the students were also the ones who worked so hard, and we ended up performing really well in our conference.” 

Recently, the sailing team made an unprecedented upset at the SAISA Open Conference. The ’Canes took home first place in the Team Race event, beating top opponents including College of Charleston and NC State. They also garnered another win, finishing second place in the Fleet Racing competition, qualifying them for the Intercollegiate Sailing Association National Championships. 

“Everyone jumped in the water and started to flip over the boat when we won, we were so excited,” Kohl said. “We were kind of the underdogs going into our conference. And knowing that, we worked so hard to beat some of the top schools. It was so rewarding.” 

As the members of the University of Miami's sailing team celebrate their well-deserved national recognition, they continue to set their sights on the future. As they gear up for the national championship to be held May 26 to June 4 at the United States Merchant Marine Academy in Kings Point, New York, the student sailors are poised to continue sailing away to victory. 

“I think we’re more than ready to take this on, and we’re really proud of how far we’ve come,” said Dominic Canonico, a senior on the team. “I’m glad I get to close out my experience at the University with us having accomplished so much, and we’re ready to keep going.”