Weronika Grabowska ’17 leads weekly sailing expeditions as part of her work study position with College of the Atlantic's <a href="https://www.coa.edu/our-community/student-activities/" target="_blank">Student Activities</a>.Weronika Grabowska ’17 leads weekly sailing expeditions as part of her work study position with College of the Atlantic's Student Activities. Credit: Hannah Breisinger ’19

Blue skies, open waters, light winds, and salty sea breezes greeted College of the Atlantic students out for a sail on a recent Friday afternoon.

COA’s Outing Club provides a plethora of outdoor activities for students, including sailing trips in Frenchman Bay, off of the COA pier. Whether students have sailing experience or are just trying out their sea legs, all can hop aboard COA’s sailboat to learn the ropes or simply enjoy the ocean air.

College of the Atlantic's location directly neighboring the Atlantic Ocean provides students, faculty, and other community members invaluable opportunities for sailing.College of the Atlantic's location directly neighboring the Atlantic Ocean provides students, faculty, and other community members invaluable opportunities for sailing. Credit: Hannah Breisinger ’19

Leading the sailing expeditions is Weronika Grabowska ’17. Grabowska and her sister got into the sport while they were growing up in Poland, following the footsteps of their father, who was a competitive sailor. To this day, the family sails together every summer to keep the tradition alive.

“My dad sails, my grandfather sails – it’s a family thing,” said Grabowska.

Grabowska sailed at COA as a hobby during her first two years of college, and she now leads the sailing trips as part of her work study job for Student Activities. Some of her other tasks include helping out with orientations, activities for students, resident advisor (RA) training, and helping transfer students settle into the school.

“I’m basically an off-campus RA,” she laughed.

A College of the Atlantic student enjoys the end-of-the-week sailing expedition as provided by COA's Outing Club.A College of the Atlantic student enjoys the end-of-the-week sailing expedition as provided by COA's Outing Club. Credit: Hannah Breisinger ’19

Like most COA students, Grabowska’s interests are varied. In addition to sailing as a hobby, working for the school, and being enrolled as a student, Grabowska also works for The Jackson Laboratory, in Bar Harbor, where she conducts research on Alzheimer’s disease, and has even had her work published.

“The opportunities I’ve received here on Mount Desert Island have been great,” said Grabowska. “I’ve met mentors through the lab, and for a while I didn’t even realize that having your work published as an undergraduate student is rare.”

Sailing expeditions through College of the Atlantic's Outing Club last for up to three hours, and provide remarkable opportunities for sightseeing.Sailing expeditions through College of the Atlantic's Outing Club last for up to three hours, and provide remarkable opportunities for sightseeing. Credit: Hannah Breisinger ’19

If weather permits, sailing trips leave from the COA dock every Friday at 2:30 p.m. and run until 5:30 p.m., through the fall. The trips are open to any student who’s interested, and if there is enough interest, Grabowska is open to the idea of offering a weekend session to accommodate all.

“Sailing is really a lot of fun, and I want to give everyone a chance to try it out,” said Grabowska. “It’s a great opportunity to get outdoors before the weather drops below zero!”