Boaters or geeks? Dissecting the world of the Yachting Club

With quarantine still in effect, many students are finding themselves with plenty of free time on their hands that otherwise might have gone to socializing. Now more than ever, an escape from reality seems a life-saver, be it on a fancy boat or into a fantasy world.

When perusing Guilford College’s list of clubs and other such organizations, a bevy of wonderful, yet expected, names appear… until the Yachting Club, which one would be forgiven for thinking was all about million-dollar vessels fit for sailing the ocean blue.

The vice president of the club, Henry Dillon-Whitehead, ironically (or is it aptly?) called the “vice commodore,” started his journey in much the same way back in 2018. Through a combination of word-of-mouth and that year’s respective club fair he found out the truth: the Yachting Club is a central hub for nerds.

Club members engage in all manner of “video games, movies, tabletop games, board games, anime,” confirmed Laura Simon, the commodore of the Yachting Club. There are also physical activities, like Live Action Role Playing, that are celebrated in their weekly meetups.

Of course, given the nature of 2020 and COVID-19, much of what was enjoyed in past years has been severely altered by changes on campus. However, through a clever use of Zoom, fun and interactive sessions have persisted through the pandemic, with the multiplayer smash-hit Among Us being the latest source of entertainment.

In fact, all of the officers of the club, as well as some veteran members who’ve been with the organization for years, agreed that the social aspect of the meetings outweighed the games or activities that may have initially lured them in.

Simon emphasized their effort to foster an inclusive and safe space for any and all who wish to join like-minded geeks, which is made evident by everyone’s immediate friendliness.

The Yachting Club also appears to leave a mark on those who join it, as its long list of alums that have passed through are still largely participating long after having graduated.

This may have something to do with the vast library of games, shows, and movies held by the club, or perhaps the extremely popular club-run event, “WTH!? Con”, which has drawn crowds from all over Greensboro for over a decade.

Currently, the convention, which has hosted events ranging from themed tournaments to auctions, is undergoing a digital overhaul to possibly save it from coronavirus-related cancellation.

When asked out of curiosity what the distinction was between tabletop games and board games, Yachting Club Faculty Advisor Ben Marlin said that “(the former) has a narrative.” Simon confirmed this, further clarifying that a Dungeon Master, the mind and arbiter of the game, is often a requirement to lead the players along. Through that lens, the club’s Dungeon Masters have created a narrative of open-mindedness and entertainment for all.

If you have interests in popular culture, geekiness, or just socializing with a bunch of eclectic and open-minded people, then consider joining the recurring Zoom meetings on Thursdays from 7:30-9:30 pm with the Yachting Club, who can be contacted through their advertisement in the Guilford Buzz or by emailing [email protected]. Be warned, though, they have absolutely nothing to do with boats.