Covid ends sailing at Stanford

PALO ALTO—We have less 75 days remaining in 2020, by the time most of you read this latest edition of Fast Facts – and the ripple effects of what happened this year will be felt for many months, if not the rest of this decade. Covid-19 has no doubt touched every aspect of our lives. There are a few college sailors who won’t have the opportunity to compete against their fellow athletes – ever!

Stanford University, in July, announced the cancelation of several sports – including co-ed and women’s sailing teams. Both teams will stop competing by the end of the 2020-21 academic year.

Other sports canceled at Stanford were men’s and women’s fencing, field hockey, lightweight rowing, squash, synchronized swimming, men’s volleyball, and wrestling.

The Stanford sailing team was involved in the “Varsity Blues” admission scandal. The team’s coach, according to news reports, allegedly received bribes in exchange for identifying certain applicants to the university as sailing team recruits.

Canceling the varsity sailing team, however, had nothing to do with the allegations. The university stated each of the teams cut were the result of limited funding.

Stanford’s sailing team won six championships in its history: the ICSA Team Race Championship in 1997; ICSA Match Race Championship in 2019; ICSA Men’s Singlehanded Championship in 1963 (Basil Twist) and 2006 (Emery Wager); and the ICSA Women’s Singlehanded Championship in 2000 (Anika Leerssen) and 2018 (Christina Sakellaris).

George Washington University in Washington, D.C. also canceled its sailing team because of Covid-19.

No word on whether the college sailing programs at these school will return.

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