NMU sailing stays “Seasoned by Superior” through late fall


GALES OF SEPTEMBER—The NMU Sailing team poses for a picture. Even when temperatures dip and the wind picks up, you can find the sailors navigating the waters of Lake Superior. Photo courtesy of Kenadee Torres.

Dallas Wiertella, Staff Writer

Lake Superior is one of the biggest parts of Northern Michigan’s culture and many new students have come to know the lake by its adversity and bitter temperatures. While the end of the swimming season comes right around the beginning of fall, the NMU Sailing team shows that they aren’t scared of a little water.

Right out of Lower Harbor, the sailors gear up and head out into the waters despite the ever-dropping temperatures. Returning to competition this year after having last year off due to the pandemic, the team is ready to get back out there.

“Our first regatta is actually our home one in Marquette, it’s called the Dinghy Free For All,” senior captain Nicole Fassnacht said. “Michigan Tech is really the only one [school] to come out, but the entire yacht club comes and it is open to anyone.”

Sailing is an activity that comes to mind as a cruise in paradise or a relaxing non-competitive activity. With the unique situation of the U.P. weather, the team knows the feeling of always being in a competitive mindset, working hard to perfect their skills even in the most adverse times. As the seasons change, the right gear allows the sailors to show no fear with winds picking up in the late stages of the season. 

“When you think of sailing you picture sailing in the Bahamas and everything is awesome,” Fassnacht said. “We’re sailing when it’s 40 degrees out, we take advantage of any time in the water that we can get. We sail long enough until the yacht club tells us to take the piers out. It tends to get windy into late October-early November and we are still falling into the water and tipping our boats so we make sure to wear our dry suits.”

The sailors invite all students to come out and participate, hoping to share the chance of sailing the world’s largest freshwater lake by surface area. The level of commitment is up to the individual because practices and regattas are completely optional. 

“None of the practices are mandatory, but it’s highly recommended,” senior Kenadee Torres said. “If you’re looking to casually sail and make friends without participating in the regattas then you don’t have to make a huge commitment. I don’t regret any minute of it, it’s one of my favorite things to do now and it keeps me busy. Building these friendships and relationships with everyone on the team has been an insane experience for me.”

Although sailing can be intimidating, there’s a huge opportunity for students looking to broaden their experience at NMU with a chance to compete on Marquette’s waters.