The UMBC Sailing Club began to form in the Fall of 1998 with the
meeting of Assistant Vice Provost of Research, Mike Breton, and
Freshmen Jeff Janos. Mike had a son who was getting ready to start as
a student in UMBC in 1999 and wanted there to be a team for him to
sail with. Jeff had just come to the University after turning down
offers from St. Mary’s College and Washington College. Both were keen
on having a competitive sailing team at UMBC.
Over the next few months, Mike and Jeff worked together to establish
the UMBC Sailing Club as a student-run organization and secure funding
for a small fleet of Flying Juniors. They recruited students through
various campus events and networks during the “formative year” of the
club. As President of the Club, Jeff worked to establish a Board to
help run the Club’s daily business.
At the end of the Spring of 1999, the UMBC Sailing Club was a
fully-functional club, had a fleet of boats, a partnership with the
Loyola College Sailing Team, and several talented sailors. The Club
was granted provisional status in the Mid-Atlantic Intercollegiate
Sailing Association (MAISA) and was able to sign up for it’s first
regattas for the Fall of 1999.
The Fall of 1999 was the first on-the-water season for the Club and
saw the arrival of two experienced skippers, Dylan Breton and Greg
Miernicki. The Club’s debut was at the 1999 Washington College Open
with a promising top 10 finish, showing that they had what it took to
compete at the collegiate level. The very next regatta, both
divisions had a strong showing and qualified for the fall district
championship, the War Memorial regatta.
The small size of the team meant that every member was able sail most
weekends of the season and attend some of the higher level regattas
that are typically unavailable to freshmen and sophomore sailors. This
allowed a sharp learning curve and kept the team competing at a high
level and improving quickly. Due to this, the team was able to
continue a streak of attendance at district championship regattas and
intersectionals while maintaining a reputation of one of the most
competitive Club Sport teams in the district.