The Bacow Sailing Pavilion, home to Tufts’ sailing team, is tucked away on Medford’s Upper Mystic Lake—just three miles from campus, but off the radar for most. So, too, are the victories of this powerhouse team, which has been quietly amassing national championships and accolades for more than fifty years. Since 1980, the team has been led by Ken Legler, the longest-tenured coach at the university. “I think sailing is supposed to be fun,” Legler said. “That said, a lot of people spell fun w-i-n.” And win his teams do—twenty national championships in all. Legler’s teams have featured thirty-six female and thirty-two male All-Americans, nine Olympians, and three College Sailors of the Year. And Legler is only Tufts’ most recent standout sailing coach. His predecessor, Joe Duplin, won seven national championships while coaching the Jumbos from 1967 to 1980. Both coaches were aided by the exploits of the Olympic-caliber sailor Manton Scott, who sadly died while only a sophomore, in 1973, but whose reputation drew attention and recruits to Tufts. The team has more than held its own in the crowded New England college sailing scene ever since. Not that Legler lets the success go to anyone’s head. He keeps his sailors among the busiest in the collegiate ranks. “Other schools may have more kids or bigger boats,” Legler said, “but no one takes part in more events, spring and fall.”

­—Helene Ragovin

Helene Ragovin

Helene Ragovin, senior writer at Tufts and editor of Tufts Dental Medicine, can be reached at