The U.S. Naval Academy has abruptly cut its summer sail training program for midshipmen in favor of time on standard Navy warships. The decision was made by the 163-year-old Academy’s Superintendent, Vice Admiral Jeffrey L. Fowler and supported by Navy Capt. Stephen Evans, director of the Professional Development Department. “We are a nation at war, and the U.S. Naval Academy is here to develop officers to serve on warships at sea,” Evans said.
Critics of the Navy’s decision to cut the sail training program include both alumni and civilian sailors, including filmmaker and former America’s Cup sailor Gary Jobson. Proponents of the sail training program stress that it offered midshipmen exceptional leadership and teambuilding opportunities through hands-on experience aboard the Navy’s fleet of Navy Mark I 44-footers.