By Devon Ravine

Students from the University of Minnesota’s sailing team spend spring break plying the waters of Choctawhatchee Bay.

Most college spring breakers along the Emerald Coast are here for the beaches. But for a small group from University of Minnesota, the big draw is Choctawhatchee Bay and the opportunity to sail on water that isn’t covered with ice.

Cailin Oakes, right, pushes fellow University of Minnesota sailors Hannah Morris and Ben Bachan off from a Fort Walton Yacht Club chase boat as they take their turn sailing one of the club's Club 420 sailboats Monday aternoon on Choctawhatchee Bay. [DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]
Cailin Oakes, right, pushes fellow University of Minnesota sailors Hannah Morris and Ben Bachan off from a Fort Walton Yacht Club chase boat as they take their turn sailing one of the club’s Club 420 sailboats Monday aternoon on Choctawhatchee Bay.
[DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]
“It’s been really cold and snowy all winter in Minnesota” said Cailin Oakes, University of Minnesota student and member of the school’s sailing team.

Oakes and 16 of her fellow teammates drove here from Minneapolis, arriving Sunday to spend the next five days honing their sailing skills with about a half-dozen Club 420 sailboats provided by the Fort Walton Yacht Club.

The group will be joined by sailors from area high schools, who are also on their spring break.

This wasn’t quite the sunny Florida that I went to as a kid,” said UM freshman Owen Luterbach. “But anything is warmer than Minnesota right now.”

Ben Bachan watches some of his fellow University of Minnesota students sailing on Choctawhatchee Bay near the Fort Walton Yacht Club Monday afternoon. [DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]
Ben Bachan watches some of his fellow University of Minnesota students sailing on Choctawhatchee Bay near the Fort Walton Yacht Club Monday afternoon.
[DEVON RAVINE/DAILY NEWS]