First taste of sailing for some young Manly kids

by Chris Kameen on June 11, 2013

First time sailingYesterday morning we introduced the fabulous sport of sailing to a number of kids down at Manly 16 foot skiff club. It was the perfect day, very light winds and a group of 9 kids, 4 boats and plenty of parents relaxing on the beach! A number had been sailing before but for the majority this was their first experience of getting out in a boat on their own.

For many sailing parents there is a real challenge in getting their children out on the water without pushing them, and so this was the ideal opportunity. Bic Sport Australia had provided 3 brand new O’pen Bics and one of the members their own Manly Junior which gave us a number of boats to play with. The unsinkable O’pen Bic was perfect for bundling as many kids as possible on to the boat and for the kids to get a feel for the motion of a boat. Paddling races and swimming around the boat races provided plenty of entertainment. This was all done in the shallow waters with me as the instructor directing by wading around, with the ever watchful rescue crew in close just in case.

At this age kids don’t want too much direction they just want to mess around and learn by themselves which is exactly what they did. They soon figured out what the tiller did and kind of worked out how to steer!

Fot the next stage in the proceedings many instructors will now start talking about where the wind is coming from  and how sails work. My thought on this is that this is too much information and that really it is about making sure that the kids understand the danger of the boom and what it is like to capsize, so that’s what we did! Within a few minutes boats had capsized been righted and everyone understood the importance of staying with the boat and helping each other get back on board. Without any fuss everyone was now sailing on their own!

To me it doesn’t matter that they don’t understand where the wind is coming from yet.. this will come … maybe next time or the time after that.. but eventually. At the moment this is about having fun!

As for the parents, well my first objective was achieved, all the kids want to go again.. the perfect result in my book!

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