TEAM SPOT­LIGHT: UNITED STATES MER­CHANT MA­RINE ACADEMY KINGS POINT

Sailing World - - Starting Line -

Kings Point has a his­tory as a pow­er­house in col­lege sail­ing, but the sail­ing team con­fronts an ex­tra chal­lenge when mak­ing this pos­si­ble. The team loses a num­ber of its sailors for a pe­riod of time through­out the four years of com­pe­ti­tion. Kings Point is a mer­chant ma­rine academy, the mid­ship­men earn their U. S. Coast Guard third mate or third en­gi­neer li­cense, which re­quires the sailors ac­quire a year of sea days.

“They do this by go­ing out as a cadet on a com­mer­cial ship. Ba­si­cally that means, in our trimester sys­tem, when they are a sopho­more they go out dur­ing the win­ter trimester at the end of Oc­to­ber through March, and again as a ju­nior for the win­ter and spring trimesters, Oc­to­ber through June,” Coach Michael Collins ex­plains. “There is no other school that does this.”

Sim­i­lar to a five-year pro­gram where stu­dents earn an un­der­grad­u­ate and mas­ter’s de­gree, Kings Point grad­u­ates earn their un­der­grad de­gree and their U.S. Coast Guard li­cense. This sets them apart from even the U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Coast Guard Academy.

Se­niors at KP take the li­cense ex­ams right around the same time that the spring col­lege sail­ing na­tion­als are sched­uled. The up­side is that fresh­men and sopho­mores have an op­por­tu­nity to com­pete at a high level on the sail­ing team im­me­di­ately.

“Ob­vi­ously we still have se­niors on the team, but they haven’t sailed since the pre­vi­ous fall, so we rely heav­ily on un­der­class­men to step up and go to big re­gat­tas,” Collins says.

What the sailors and mid­ship­men learn at the wa­ter­front di­rectly re­lates to what they will pur­sue in their fi eld of work.

“Whether out on a ship, or in a 420, learn­ing about wind and cur­rent, it’s go­ing to make the job work­ing to­ward be­com­ing a cap­tain bet­ter,” Collins says.

The wa­ter­front at KP is for ac­tual train­ing and learn­ing. The Depart­ment of Wa­ter­front Op­er­a­tions and Train­ing at Kings Point is re­spon­si­ble for the var­sity sail­ing team, but also the var­sity row­ing team, power squadron, sail­ing squadron and var­sity off shore sail­ing team. The sail­ing team uses the Yocum Sail­ing Cen­ter as its main fa­cil­ity, which con­tains ev­ery­thing the team could need, and more, in­clud­ing locker rooms, team rooms, boat bays, class­rooms, ma­chine shop and rig­ging shop.

The dinghy team has fl eets of 20 Z420s, 20 FJS and 20 Lasers, as well as mo­tor­boats at the cen­ter. There is also a new pier at the wa­ter­front that docks a 175- foot train­ing ship, an ex-navy YP boat, and other train­ing ves­sels used by all of the academy.

“We have our own ded­i­cated main­te­nance staff at the wa­ter­front, which is es­pe­cially handy dur­ing re­gat­tas,” Collins says. “If we have a break­down dur­ing a ro­ta­tion, we can pull the boat out, and it will be fixed and back to use for the next ro­ta­tion.”

While the goal of the sail­ing team is to com­pete at the high­est level and do the best they can, it’s also an es­cape from the reg­i­men of ser­vice- academy life.

“Mid­ship­men may wear uni­forms and square cor­ners, but the sail­ing team mem­bers also en­joy four years of com­ing out and sail­ing as a break from life ‘ up the hill’ at their bar­racks. It’s also a nice place to come, not just to be a sailor, but also to pur­sue your ca­reer,” says Collins.

RANK­ING NO. 1 , IS­SUED SEPTEM­BER 22, 2017

COED 1. Ge­orge­town 2. Yale 3. Bos­ton Univ. 4. Ho­bart/wm. Smith 5. Bos­ton Col­lege 6. Charleston 7. Har­vard 8. Tufts 9. Navy 10. St. Mary’s 11. Stan­ford 12. MIT 13. Dart­mouth 14. George Washington 15. Bow­doin 16. Brown 17. Coast Guard 18. Roger Wil­liams 19. Con­necti­cut 20. Ford­ham (tie) 20. Kings Point (tie) WOM­ENS 1. Yale 2. Bos­ton Col­lege 3. Coast Guard 4. Rhode Is­land 5. Dart­mouth 6. Ge­orge­town 7. Bos­ton Univ. 8. George Washington 9. Charleston 10. Stan­ford 11. Brown 12. Con­necti­cut 13. Tufts 14. Har­vard 15. MIT 16. Penn­syl­va­nia 17. St. Mary’s 18. Ver­mont 19. Ho­bart/wm. Smith 20. Bow­doin

Kings Pointer, Lib­er­a­tor, – Jen­nifer Mitchell

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