The Syracuse University Sailing Team is a club sport of Syracuse University. We are a full member of the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate Sailing Association (MAISA). We travel to regattas everywhere from Canada to Virginia. The team was founded in 1937 but has since been on-and-off until fall 2010 when the club was re-started.


Our club focuses on competitive sailing, but welcomes people of all different levels of sailing experience. We practice at Willow Bank Yacht Club, on nearby Cazenovia Lake. We own a fleet of 8 FJs and also sail 4 club 420s.


Practice is held most weekends during the fall. During the spring, practice depends on how fast Cazenovia Lake un-freezes. Time commitment to the team is fairly flexible. People who regularly attend practice and team meetings generally have preference when going to regattas.


The Syracuse University Sailing Team began as the “Syracuse University Yacht Club,” in 1937. The team was inactive in WWII, but was re-activated in 1947 by J. Gordon Bentley. Bentley (1929-2004) graduated in 1950. He was inducted into the National Collegiate Sailing Hall of Fame in 1971.


In the 1940s and 50s, the team was an associate member of the Intercollegiate Yacht Racing Association (ICYRA). The ICYRA would later become the present-day Intercollegiate Sailing Association (ICSA).


In 1953, the team used the Onondaga Yacht Club to sail a fleet of 10 dinghies, purchased with money raised through boat fund bonds. In the 1956 Onondagan, the club is reported to have “a fleet of six dinghies at Lake Onondaga used for pleasure and intercollegiate regattas.”


The team was added as a varsity sport by the athletic department in 1953.


In 1954, the MIT Tech reports that the SU Sailing Team “captured the first place of the two-day series for the McMillan Cup,” which was sailed in 44-foot Luders Yawls. Syracuse finished first on the first day of racing, but dropped back to fifth, overall, after calm winds on the second day. Harvard won the overall race in 1954. The McMillan Cup is still an annual intercollegiate regatta.


Much like the current team’s “Learn to Sail” program, the 1950s club had a “Shore School” program, taught by members of the club. The 1956 Onondagan description of the club states “The club is open to all those interested in sailing – both those who wish to learn and the more experienced, who enjoy informal sailing and intercollegiate racing.”


A gap in knowledge exists from the late 1950s when the team was no longer mentioned in the Onondagan. We do know that the team used Onondaga Yacht Club to sail and practice in 1973. Our knowledge gap extends until the 1980s when we know several alumni who sailed on a team. A gap between the 1980s and mid 2000s also exists until the club was restarted in 2010 by a group of 5 Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF students.


Selected documents from the Onondagan, Syrcuse University's yearbook. Click to view a PDF.


The team was re-founded in the fall of 2010 by 5 students from Syracuse University and SUNY-ESF. The team started initially with around 20 members - most with strong racing backgrounds.

Chad Walz

(SUNY-ESF '12)

Ryan Kossler

(Syracuse Law '11)

Louise Browning

(Syracuse University '12)

Sharon Burke

(Syracuse University '12)

Harmen Rockler
(Syracuse University '13)



Willow Bank Yacht Club

27 Forman St.

Cazenovia, New York 13035




Syracuse University Sailing Team

241 Archibold Gymnasium

Syracuse, NY 13244



Syracuse University Sailing Team

241 Archibold Gymnasium, Syracuse NY 13244


Designed by Harmen Rockler, 2015