The Amherst Sailing Team has officially been in existence since 1946, though the first regatta ever sailed was a match race with Williams in 1937, making Amherst one of the fifteen oldest sailing teams in the country. In the 1960s, Mount Holyoke and Smith each formed a sailing team, and UMass formed a team in the 1990s. Hampshire students have sailed intermittently as well. As early as the 1970s, sailors from the five colleges were sailing with and against each other. In recent years, the independent teams have grown even closer, to the point that sailors from all five colleges consistently practice and race with one another. This recent arrangement has enabled us to add additional sailors of all calibers to the team, to increase the usefulness of practice, and to increase enthusiasm for the sport of sailing. In an effort to promote the five college consortium, we have developed a five college website for our five-college team.
Lake Arcadia, the current home of the Five-College Sailing Team, is located on the edge of Belchertown, just a few miles east of the college campuses. We keep our fleet of 10 FJs, 1 420 and 1 Laser at the Belchertown town beach, which the town generously lets us use during their off season. Although the lake is small, it is known for its gusty, shifty winds that challenge even the most experienced sailors.
The fall sailing season runs from September through November. Over the winter, we have bi-monthly meetings and sometimes hold team events. The spring season begins as soon as the lake melts - generally just after Spring Break - and we sail until the end of school in May. We meet for practice at 2:30 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays and sail until sundown. We welcome sailors with any amount of experience and will teach you how to sail if you would like to learn. Lifejackets are provided. We sail in approximately 30 regattas a year. Click here for our regatta schedule. Regattas are held all over New England on the weekends and sometimes we travel even further for a more competitive event. Regatta slots are open to any member of the team who shows interest and who displays a dedication to becoming a better sailor.