“I sailed in high school, and I wasn’t going to go to college specifically for it, but I wanted a sailing school,” Formella said.
He said he met a few other students interested in sailing during his freshman year and enlisted the help of Recreational Sports. The group had a couple of callout meetings and used sidewalk chalk to advertise.
“It was something that snowballed pretty quickly,” he said.
Formella added that the club now utilizes the Recreational Sports Fair to recruit members.
The IU Sailing Club had its callout meeting Aug. 29. The club is experiencing a resurgence since 2009 after being dormant for several years.
Formella also said the club enlisted the help of School of Public Health faculty member Bob Kessler, who teaches the sailing courses offered at IU. Formella said Kessler helped the club secure equipment rentals and a leasing plan at Lake Lemon.
“Working with him has been great,” Formella said. “As he has gotten to know us, he has gotten to trust us.”
Formella’s fellow club member Jesse Magaña followed a different route to the club.
“Coming from high school, I didn’t know anything about sailing,” Magaña said.
He said he learned how to sail in the summer following his freshman year while taking E164: Sailing. He later joined the email list and decided to participate in the club.
“I went (to) the Marquette University regatta and absolutely loved it,” Magaña said.
The regattas are races held between different colleges. Formella said he always wanted to get into the racing aspect of sailing when he and other students were trying to revive the club.
He said that as the club gained more members and became more organized, the group petitioned the Midwest Collegiate Sailing Association for a race team. Now, the club has that team and serves as a recreational club for members.
The club’s race team participated in its first regatta in March 2010. Currently, the race teams participate in four or five races per semester.
Formella said the club signs up for regattas at the mid-winter conference in January at the Strictly Sail Chicago Boat Show. He also said all the Big Ten schools go to this event, as well as smaller schools like Notre Dame.
From Sept. 15-16 the race team participated in the inaugural Old Oaken Rudder with Purdue, which was organized by IU alumna Jess Lawhead and the Indianapolis Sailing Club. The regatta was at Geist Reservoir.
After the first day of competition, the score was tied. The second day, the teams could not sail due to calm conditions with no wind, Magaña said.
“The lake was so calm, it looked like glass,” Formella said.
The teams decided to end the inaugural event in a tie.
“The creepy part was when someone mentioned that the football teams tied nearly 100 years ago when the Old Oaken Bucket was first awarded,” Formella said.
IU was allowed to keep the Old Oaken Rudder due to a better rendition of Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.”
Magaña said it started out as a joke, but when he realized people were serious he tried to perform his best.
“I was up, dancing, snapping my fingers and making my voice really high,” he said.
Both Formella and Magaña said they want the club to start its own regatta in the future.
“Right now we need to get newer, more uniform boats before we can do that,” Magaña said.
Formella also said he would like to see the club expand membership and add a sailing house, a place club members can use as a residence during the school year.
“A sailing house is something that brings the sailing culture together at all these other schools,” he said. “But for now, I want to get kids to see sailing and how easygoing and fun it is.”
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