Featured Athlete: Nuala Spillane ’15, Sailing

Spillane '15 racing for the Winsor team
Spillane ’15 racing for the Winsor team

-by Juliana Castro and Faith Danglo- Since freshman year, Nuala Spillane ’15 has been a competitive member of Winsor’s varsity sailing team, but spring is not the only time of year she is out on the water. Every summer for the past nine years, she has been sailing at Southport Yacht Club on the Sheepscott River in Southport Island, Maine. When she was six years old, her family bought a summer house in Maine right up the street from a popular summer sailing program, where, at age eight, she first learned how to sail. She fell in love with the sport and has been sailing ever since.

In sailing, you use a rudder and the wind in your sails to steer a sailboat in the right direction. It can be a difficult sport because of how unpredictable the weather can be, but Spillane manages these difficulties with ease. Now an experienced sailor with many years of training under her belt, she also acts as a junior instructor in Maine. She works with younger sailors, teaching them basic skills and maneuvers like tying knots, steering the boat, and learning the names for the parts of the boat. Meanwhile, her passion for the sport persists; she remarked, “It’s a lot of fun getting to be out on the water all day. When it’s windy, it’s especially fun to go really fast and coast across the water.” She also enjoys the company of her teammates because, as she explained, “you get to know other people really well because you are on the water [together] for so much time.”

She and her sailing team compete in various regattas throughout the year. In 2012 and 2013, they went to the Junior Olympic Sailing festivals, where they placed 12th and 15th (out of 40 boats). They also won a smaller regatta last summer and have placed in the top ten at many other events. She was also the third overall girl in the Junior Olympics both years.

She has many hopes for the future of her sailing career. She wants to improve her tactics and strategies and is “looking forward to another fun and competitive season of racing.”