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RBR Sailing Team Asks School Board for Recognition

Board members express concern over cost of making sailing a varsity sport

The Red Bank Regional Sailing Team wants recognition after years of success in competition.

Several team members spoke Wednesday at the RBR Board of Education's meeting and asked for recognition as a club and varsity sport at Red Bank Regional High School

“[Sailing’s] a well-established sport at the Jersey Shore. New Jersey is probably one of the top five or six breeding grounds, if you will, for sailors in the U.S.,” John Garth, one of the team’s coaches, told the Board, adding that sailing is a co-ed sport that can be considered a life skill for people of all ages.

Garth also stressed that high school sailing prepares students for collegiate competition, and the activity can help students stand out on college applications.

Four of the 10 students currently on the team showed up to the meeting to show their support of being recognized — seniors Caroline Garth, Gabi Neubelt and Max Neubelt, as well as sophomore Derek Arnheiter (whose parents also came to the meeting in support). They all have been sailing since childhood. Former coach Stuart Vanwinkle also attended the meeting.

The sailing team members and their parents were the only people to come to the open board meeting Wednesday night.

Although they said they liked the idea, board members expressed various concerns over the inclusiveness of the team and the financial hurdles it would have to overcome if recognized. The coaches insisted that the team’s recognition would not cost the district anything, as the team already has most of its own equipment and the current two coaches are willing to work without a stipend.

However, board members pointed out that all official teams are required to have bus transportation to and from competitive events, which would come at a cost, and there may be additional things to pay for, as well. Another potential obstacle is that coaches for varsity teams must be approved by the board and certified, and while anyone can apply to be a coach, priority is given to current Red Bank Regional faculty and staff members.

At one point board members said that the fact that all student participants would be required to swim would “be a barrier” to the team getting recognized. However, Mike Neubelt, the other team coach, simply responded, “If you want to swim on the swim team, you have to know how to swim.”

The team finished third in the state championships last year, and Neubelt won the non high school regatta championships in the same year. Kendall Vanwinkle, coach Vanwinkle’s daughter who graduated this past year, won the state championships with another team member in 2009.

“The point is this program has been turning out great sailors,” Garth said.

The board asked Garth and Neubelt to meet with them at a date to be determined.

The board’s next regular meeting will be on Sept. 5.

Dentss Dunnagun August 23, 2012 at 06:16 PM
I'm sure the senior citizens of the towns that support RBR with their property taxes won't mind to continue eating cat food so " we can turn our good sailors " ...
John Garth August 24, 2012 at 01:21 AM
One of the main points in our request to the Board was that the sailing team has been, and will continue to be, self-sufficient from a cost standpoint, meaning that there would be NO cost to the school. To the extent that making sailing a recognized club or team results in increased cost, that additional cost will be borne by the participants.
Dentss Dunnagun August 24, 2012 at 09:11 AM
Thanks for setting me straight ....I sail love to sail I've always a kid can't get into trouble ( drugs ) on the water . But I'm still a little annoyed that RBR did away with useful courses like automotive shop or wood working because it didn't fit it .They are useful courses that one can use through life you don't have to go into the trade to be handy .....just like sailing ...
Roberta B August 24, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Unfortunately, it is not that simple.  Even if there is currently a group of parents who are willing to cover the costs of uniforms, entry fees, transportation, etc, what  happens when their children graduate?  What if other RBR students, who do not belong to the Shrewsbury Sailing and Yacht Club and do not own boats, want to join the HS team?  Who is going to cover their expenses?  What about insurance and liability? I applaud the achievements of these young sailors, as well as the many other RBR student-athletes who excel at their sports, including those who participate in other non-school-sponsored sports such as snowboarding, gymnastics, crew, skiing, martial arts, fencing, skateboarding, and others.  Unfortunately, the school simply can't support teams for every sport.
Dentss Dunnagun August 24, 2012 at 07:15 PM
this expense would be a non issue if schools were funded by a income tax as is supposed to be . LS average property tax is $11,500 what percent of ones income do you suppose that eats up 10% 20% ? that is if your lucky enough to have a job .what happens when you lose your job but your tax is still due ? It's is a outdated ,outrageous system that time has for a change .Does anyone honestly believe our kids will be able to afford what we have burdened them with ? only a select few at best
Linda Ensor August 24, 2012 at 08:30 PM
I agree. New Jersey's insistence that schools be funded out of local property taxes and its funding formula have led to glaring disparities among districts, onerous tax burdens on ALL property owners, and the need to create special programs (Abbott districts) to support the poorer districts. Furthermore, the litigious nature of the state's population has led to school districts' jettisoning shop programs. (Liability insurance is prohibitively expensive, and lawsuits would certainly impact property taxes.) If we could fund schools in the manner that at least 48 of the other 49 states do, perhaps we could offer more opportunities to the students in our schools. Likewise, if people would begin to assume more responsibility for themselves and accept the consequences of their actions without jumping into courts to sue others for damages, we might find ourselves more willing to support programs for students and adults.
John Garth August 26, 2012 at 11:58 AM
Roberta, the sailing team is open to any student interested in sailing. The student does not need to be a member of SSYC, or any sailing club for that matter, in order to be on the team. Three of our sailors are certified instructors and can teach non-sailors to partcipate as a crew in a very short amount of time. Also, the students do not own the boats - HS sailing events are held in boats owned by several local colleges and community-based sailing clubs. The cost to the students is nominal, the cost to the school / taxpayers is ZERO, and we plan to keep it that way. At this point only 4 of our 10 sailors are seniors, so the team will continue after graduation next year, and our hope is that recognition by the board will help us to attract more kids in the future.
John Garth August 26, 2012 at 12:02 PM
PS SSYC has excellent sailing programs for both juniors and adults that are reasonably priced and are open to non-club members using the club's boats.
Barb Cook September 25, 2012 at 01:39 PM
It would be wonderful for these fine sailors to be recognized by RBR! Best of luck!

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