It’s said that pes­simists com­plain about the wind but real­ists adjust their sails — which is what Northeastern’s Club Sport Sailing Team did to make this one of the most suc­cessful sea­sons in its nearly 100-​​year history.

They tacked and jibed their way up the New Eng­land Inter­col­le­giate Sailing Asso­ci­a­tion (NEISA) rank­ings, sur­passing well-​​established var­sity teams, and advancing from 21st place to 17th, an unheard of achieve­ment in NEISA.

We’ve been looking for coaches, trying to get people to come to prac­tice, and then people did and we got a coach, and we started doing really well,” said Michael O’Brien, a senior psy­chology major at North­eastern. “The math just worked out.”

The team placed high enough to be invited for the first time to sail in the Schell Trophy regatta, named for Erwin Schell, a founder of col­lege sailing in the United States. Only the top 18 schools in NEISA sail in the race.

North­eastern sailors were ranked 16th and fin­ished 15th in the com­pe­ti­tion, qual­i­fying to com­pete next in the Atlantic Coast Tour­na­ment. There, they placed 10th out of 18 of the top boats in New Eng­land, clinching the spot by a mere one-​​point margin.

We are looking to con­tinue our progress in the spring season and have a top-​​half finish at we move onto the national stage,” added team­mate Sydney Rey, a third-​​year Eng­lish major and lin­guis­tics minor.

Engi­neering pro­fessor Jeff Doughty, an avid sailor, has been fac­ulty advisor to the club sailing team for nearly 15 years and is working with the stu­dents on a project to piece together the team’s his­tory. “If we want to have great suc­cess in the future, one of things we want to do is con­nect to our past suc­cesses,” he said.

Sailing began as a stu­dent activity and became a club sport about seven years ago. The stu­dents are hoping to com­pete someday as a var­sity team — an idea that seemed, as O’Brien said, almost laugh­able until the season ended a couple of weeks ago.

The team accepts sailors of every skill level, including first-​​timers, but hopes to recruit tal­ented high school-​​level sailors and North­eastern stu­dents to con­tinue their suc­cess next season.