Sailing team added to NWF State

This story is courtesy of Savannah Vasquez and Northwest Florida Daily News.

NICEVILLE — Students can sail into the spring at Northwest Florida State College as members of a new sailing team were announced Tuesday afternoon at the campus.

The college partnered with the Fort Walton Yacht Club and the Emerald Coast Sailing Association to hire full-time Sailing Director Paul Beaudry.

“For me it is something that I can give back, from all my years of sailing, to kids who haven’t had the chance to have a program like this before,” Beaudry said.

Beginning in March, students can learn to sail and compete in regattas.

“We believe it is an opportunity for our students that is real exclusive,” said Devin Stephenson, NWF State’s president. “It gives our students another opportunity to be able to express their talents and their skills and the things they enjoy.”

Unlike most sports at the college, the sailing program will compete as a club and not as part of the National Junior College Athletic Association.

Still, faculty advisor Lisa Struck said intercollegiate sailing competitions can aid student sailors.

“There are a lot of scholarships to other colleges that they can get by being a sailor and being in the races,” Struck said.

Beaudry said he is looking forward to sharing his sailing knowledge with the new club team.

“As far as the college, this is something that exposes the youth to working together as a team and competing against other colleges, and it is something that they can do for the rest of their lives with their families,” he said.

In addition to leading the NWF State sailors, Beaudry will teach adult and children sailing lessons for the Fort Walton Yacht Club and Emerald Coast Sailing Association.

“For Northwest Florida State College, he is going to help the student body learn how to sail and then take it to the next level and teach them how to race, and then we are going to host regattas at the Yacht Club,” said Robert Harrison of the Emerald Coast Sailing Association.

For more information about the new sailing club, email Beaudry at

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