When Ren Chock, a rising senior at New College of Florida, was 13 years old, he taught himself how to sail on Catalina 25s, a 420 Class Dinghy and a 12-foot plywood boat he built with his dad. The sea, in all its wildness and fury, captivated him—as did the need to conquer it. “Knowing that you can use a sail and a couple ropes to travel wherever you want is just the most amazing feeling in the world,” he says. When college decisions rolled around, Chock—a rural Vermont native—knew he wanted to be near a beach. His guidance counselor suggested several schools, including New College of Florida. Chock liked the beach part, but what really hooked him was the sailing program. With the help of a part-time coach hired by the student body president, the New College sailing team had just competed at nationals, and in November of 2014, won the Sugar Bowl Regatta in New Orleans. But when Chock arrived the following August, the tides had turned, hastened by the coach’s sudden dismissal, a chronically limited budget and a rogue boat that broke loose from its moorings during a storm and careened into Ringling Museum’s seawall, cracking tiles. Following the incident, the administration took the rest of the boats out of the water. But for the next two years, Chock and the team worked tirelessly, scraping barnacles off hulls and using any spare parts they could find to repair the several boats that had been left stranded. Today, Chock, now team captain, looks forward to a promising final season. The college has hired seven teaching assistants at the waterfront, a significant increase from previous years, funded a new full-time staff position to manage the waterfront and will unveil a new dock this fall. A plan to replace two of the current 420s each year is in the works, ensuring an eventual fleet for regatta competition once again. And for Chock, who says he wouldn’t be at New College if not for the sailing team, perhaps past expectations finally match reality.