Sailing: Marco Island’s Up-and-Coming Sport

On Saturday afternoons at the Marco Island Community Sailing Center, a unique group of students from Marco Island Academy, Lely High School and Marco Island Charter Middle ready themselves to race in regattas across Southwest Florida. These sailors put aside their differences, whether it be their age or school, in order to succeed in this sport. Similarly, they have to place trust in their skipper and crew in order to work with the ever changing wind and current conditions.

“Sailing tends to be a bit more dangerous than other sports because if you get injured, you can’t have people come carry you off the field or court when you’re out in the middle of a body of water, especially if you’re alone,” Grace Roloff, a sophomore and sailor from MIA, says. “You can’t just stop the boat the same way you can stop a game if someone gets hurt.”

These sailors are completely devoted to their sport, along with their coaches and beloved sailing center. MIA freshman Hughes Herrington spent a week sailing through The Bahamas on The Cour Volant, a 44 foot Jeanneau yacht, and every Saturday the sailors spend about three hours practicing out on the water.

Prior to Hurricane Irma’s landfall on Marco Island, the sailors took time out of their days to prepare their beloved sailing center by tying down the 420 sailboats, Lasers, and Opti Prams. Afterward, they put MICSC back together again, all so they could sail again.

I feel as if the hurricane really brought us closer together because, although the facility where we would normally meet was destroyed, it united us because we all felt a loyalty to the sailing center and we all felt the need to fix it,” Roloff tells The Wave. “This team has become family to me and we’ve stuck together through the good and the bad.”