Sailing World - - Starting Line -

Jade Fors­berg ( se­cond to left) was the re­cip­i­ent of the James Rous­man­iere Stu­dent Lead­er­ship Award in the In­ter­col­le­giate Sail­ing As­so­ci­a­tion Hall of Fame in 2017. She was rec­og­nized for her help in cre­at­ing the New Eng­land In­ter­col­le­giate Sail­ing As­so­ci­a­tion (NEISA) Team De­vel­op­ment Hand­book, as NEISA vice pres­i­dent, and for her lead­er­ship on the Middlebury College Sail­ing Team.

The Middlebury team is a club sport at the college, run by a stu­dent ex­ec­u­tive board and a coach. The team has 12 FJS and cur­rently prac­tices on Lake Dun­more, a 20-minute drive south of cam­pus. The sailors work out to­gether two to four times per week de­pend­ing on the season, and sail four days per week, with at­ten­dance re­quired at least twice per week.

When Fors­berg joined the team, she saw a need for small, de­vel­op­ing col­le­giate teams in the NEISA con­fer­ence to be con­nected with a re­source to help them get started and thrive.

“At the re­gional level, I felt like we had some very dis­tinct lev­els of com­pe­ti­tion and team or­ga­ni­za­tion, and I wanted to make sure we had a voice for small­er­club teams that are in the ear­lier stages of de­vel­op­ment within the con­fer­ence,” says Fors­berg. “I think it makes for much bet­ter com­pe­ti­tion when you cre­ate a more in­clu­sive en­vi­ron­ment and en­able peo­ple to de­velop within the sport, re­gard­less of whether you go to a top 10 ranked school or are just starting a team at your uni­ver­sity.”

Fors­berg is fu­eled by her pas­sion for sail­ing and ex­cite­ment for the sport at the college level to be­come more in­volved with the con­fer­ence and give back to the or­ga­ni­za­tion that helped the Middlebury team come to­gether.

“My ex­pe­ri­ence def­i­nitely in­spired me to cre­ate a tan­gi­ble doc­u­ment that com­piled knowl­edge from a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent sources and back­grounds so many teams can ben­e­fit from it,” she says. “[Dart­mouth College head sail­ing coach] Justin As­sad and [NEISA un­der­grad­u­ate pres­i­dent] Han­nah Lynn were huge driv­ers in the ef­fort; both were ex­tremely sup­port­ive of see­ing NEISA de­velop and help­ing make that more pos­si­ble for smaller teams.”

With a full aca­demic work­load, sail­ing prac­tices, re­gat­tas and NEISA projects, Fors­berg had her plate full, but she still man­aged to fit in ev­ery­thing and grad­u­ate in May 2017 with a ma­jor in neu­ro­science and dou­ble mi­nor in com­puter science and ge­og­ra­phy.

“Manag­ing ev­ery­thing was def­i­nitely the big­gest chal­lenge,” she says. “For the most part, be­ing in season would help me keep up with school­work even though I had less free time. I couldn’t wait to get to prac­tice each day, and that mo­ti­vated me to get a head start on my school­work so I could then fo­cus on prac­tice and get­ting ready for the week­end’s re­gatta.”

Through pri­or­i­tiz­ing her fo­cus to be on sail­ing only while on the wa­ter, and off the wa­ter di­vide it among school­work, the sail­ing team and NEISA projects, Fors­berg found her sys­tem, set dead­lines, and even though it was not al­ways per­fect, she found her groove.

“It was amaz­ing that de­spite our aca­demic work­loads and going to prac­tice ev­ery day and com­pet­ing each week­end, we still had enough en­ergy to push for what the team needed to de­velop and en­sure ev­ery­thing was run­ning smoothly,” Fors­berg says.

“Be­ing on our par­tic­u­lar club team was at times chal­leng­ing and frus­trat­ing, but also very re­ward­ing,” she ex­plains. “We of­ten met a lot of bu­reau­cracy from the school and fre­quently strug­gled to get them to un­der­stand sail­ing as a dis­tinct sport with its own unique re­quire­ments, even at our level of com­pe­ti­tion. At the end of the day, we’re get­ting a lot bet­ter at manag­ing and build­ing a bet­ter re­la­tion­ship and un­der­stand­ing within the school.”

Her hope is to see the Middlebury team grow and con­tinue to im­prove within the con­fer­ence.

Fors­berg sees her hard work pay­ing off. “In NEISA, I hope to see the con­fer­ence con­tinue to grow, and mostly I hope to see smaller teams im­prov­ing and hope­fully shak­ing up the com­pe­ti­tion in the con­fer­ence,” she says. “I hope that our ef­forts are help­ful for smaller teams.” Gill’s Per­for­mance Sail­ing Shorts are de­signed with the ac­tive sailor in mind. Con­structed us­ing hard­wear­ing Ny­lon Tac­tel fab­ric, the Uv50-plus rat­ing pro­vides added sun pro­tec­tion, and the durable wa­ter- re­pel­lent coating al­lows them to dry quickly. They fea­ture a re­in­forced seat panel with in­ter­nal pock­ets with Vel­cro clo­sures to ac­com­mo­date op­tional Gill Short Pads ($16) for cush­ioned pro­tec­tion. A semi-elas­ti­cized waist with belt loops pro­vides ad­di­tional com­fort, and there is a se­cure leg pocket for con­ve­nience. Avail­able in sil­ver-gray and graphite in size XS-XXL, they re­tail for $95.


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