Clemson Sailing Club President Ben Burdette

Ben is the Clemson Sailing Club president and he is a Environmental Engineering major finishing graduate school from Mount Pleasant, SC!


1)     What is your favorite part about being a part of Clemson Sailing?

The opportunities it provides.  As far as the social side goes, members have the chance to be a part of an organization that has a great learn to sail program, tailgates, events, and brings in people from all walks of life.  On the competition side, even beginner sailors have the chance to travel around the Southeast for intercollegiate competition.  While we have our regular regattas nearly every other weekend during the Fall, this year we were able to send an all-girls team to Miami to compete, as well as our elite group to Annapolis for a national competition this past spring.


2)     What is your favorite thing about Clemson?

It’s a giant family.  I can be in another country and notice an orange tiger paw and know that I could walk up to that person and have something to talk about.  Young or old, once a Tiger always a Tiger. The identity and values have spanned generations and I will always be proud to stand as a part of the legacy.


3)     What do you do as Sailing's president?

In a nutshell, I help to guide the club in a direction that embodies the spirit in which the club was founded.  I try to spread the love of sailing through education, competition and social activities.  That being said, none of it would be possible at all without an amazing team of officers and club members that I can trust and who work non-stop behind the scenes. They do most of the grunt work and too often go unrecognized. They do everything from setting up a tailgate at 3:30 in the morning to running practices and learning to sail several days a week. It’s that kind of effort that keeps Clemson Sailing amazing and can only be accomplished by people who do it for a love of the organization.


4)     What has been your most memorable activity as a part of Clemson Sailing? 

Sailing during the snowstorm last winter was amazing.  The thought of building a snowman on the bow of a sailboat, while under sail, had never occurred to me before that.  I was pretty heartbroken when he fell overboard, although I’m not sure wearing a life jacket would have helped.



5)     What is your favorite Clemson tradition?

Tailgating.  Clemson transforms on home-game weekends and it’s amazing.  People are everywhere, smiling, eating and playing games.  Some of my earliest memories are of my family’s tailgate.  I’ve had friends rearrange their trip to the United States so that they could be here for a game simply from hearing me talk about it.  They did not leave disappointed!


6)     Why should students join Clemson Sailing?

One of the reasons that makes Clemson great is that there is something here for everyone.  In this way, the Sailing Club is an extension of the Clemson family I spoke of before.  It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert racer or have never touched a boat, there is a place for you in the club.  We teach our members to sail, everything from the basics to intercollegiate racing.  We also have tailgates, oyster roasts, pig roasts (we like to eat as much as sail).  It’s just an amazing family and we are always looking for new members!


Photo Credits:

Saling photos taken by Emily Baron, Student Affairs Publications.