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Boats for Young Sailors

Printed From: Yachts and Yachting Online
Category: General
Forum Name: Olympic Sailing
Forum Discription: The top end racing in our sport
Printed Date: 22 May 22 at 10:18pm
Software Version: Web Wiz Forums 9.665y -

Topic: Boats for Young Sailors
Posted By: Starsailor12
Subject: Boats for Young Sailors
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 3:38pm
My two sons, ages 3 and 5 have just started to take an interest in sailing and boats.

I would like peoples thoughts on the best way to get them on the water - in a dinghy or perhaps in a small trailer- sailer or bilge keel yacht, and what types people would recommend?

Both can swim. I want something safe but enjoyable for both of them

Budget is a bit limited - cú2/3k

I currently sail single handed dinghies on the North Kent Coast but have my day skipper theory and crewed on 'big boats'

Posted By: Starsailor12
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 3:46pm
And before anyone points it out, I have posted this in the wrong section - it was not meant to be in the Olympic Sailing Forum. Sorry I am new to this business.....

Posted By: Noah
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 6:21pm
At that age probably Oppies for the elder and a Cadet or Mirror with someone older and capable for the younger, but VERY GENTLY to begin with. Don't want to be scaring anyone off now, do we? I would also recommend an RYA 1 / 2 course if you can find one locally. They will be mixing with other kids of their age and all starting out on this wonderful road we walk.

D-Zero 316

Posted By: sawman
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 6:30pm
in the OP's position, I got a miracle, and took them both out at the same time, although they were a couple of years older. For kids that small, I would probably find an inland venue


Posted By: andymck
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 7:08pm
We have found cheep oppi's good from age 6 or so. Before that family trips for ice cream in a cheap and cheerful 2k.
The slightly older kids at our club have gone mad for open bics.
If you want very small ones in an oppi you may need to get in yourself. One of ours has a longer mast to allow this. You can get an extension.

Andy Mck

Posted By: smurfer
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 10:03pm
3 and 5 are very young to be putting in a boat on their own. My daughter has sailed with me in a Mirror since she was 3 and until this year (9) she was very nervous when put in an Oppie.
She did her Stage 1 last year in an Oppie and it's not until this year that she's been smiling when in a boat on her own.
She's just done her Stage 2 in a Tera and is grinning from ear to ear when in it. Please don't rush to put them in single-handers.
The Mirror has been a fantastic boat to introduce my daughter to sailing (as a crew) - and when it's been too windy to take her out I've had a blast three-sailing it on my own! She's now happy in the Tera, as well as helming (with me as crew) in the Mirror - best of both worlds!

Posted By: Starsailor12
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 10:10pm
Thanks for the replies everyone!

Whilst I currently sail a single hander, I was going to change to a double hander at first - I would not want them alone at first!

Posted By: Rupert
Date Posted: 03 Aug 15 at 10:12pm
They can crawl all over the deck of the Mirror, too. Mine had a wonderful time at this age playing in one.

Firefly 2324, Lightning 130, Puffin 229, Minisail 3446 Mirror 70686

Posted By: patj
Date Posted: 04 Aug 15 at 6:30am
We always find that children who grow up sailing double handers are much nicer as they learn teamwork and communication whereas those in single handers are much more selfish.

Posted By: JimC
Date Posted: 04 Aug 15 at 8:22am
Bethwaite made an interesting point in his last book. He commented that (changing the language) in initial aviation training the pupil always uses a two hander and even when sailing solo has regular checks with an instructor on board so that incipient faults may readily be spotted and corrected. He suggested that we are not very good at this in conventional training because it is so much more difficult to spot and correct faults from a passing RIB, and that one of the motivations for his on shore trainer was exactly so such checks could be readily instituted.

I see the point. If you put the sailors in two handers and swap round then they have half the sailing time that they would in singlehanders. But if you don't regularly put the sailors in two handers with an instructor your ability to correct incipient faults is greatly reduced. It seems to me that there's an argument for one instructor to spend a large chunk of every session in a two hander, swapping all the pupils into it one at a time so as to be able to correct incipient faults far more readily than is possible shouting from a RIB.

Posted By: about a boat
Date Posted: 04 Aug 15 at 9:23am
Cadets and Mirrors are great for kids. I would go for a Mirror. Get a cheap one because they might try it and hate it. Upgrade a couple of years later if they still like it. You seem to get more boat for your money with a Cadet but a Mirror will give more room if going out with the both of them. Also you need to think about what your kids might like to do themselves. My seven year old wants to sail solo - an oppie. My ten year old wants to crew and does not want to sail solo. Think about sheet loads. Boats a bit bigger might be too much for them at this stage.

Also I have found that sailing with a couple of water pistols can make the sail more fun too. Especially if there friends around who will reciprocate.

Where on the North Kent coast are you?

Posted By: Starsailor12
Date Posted: 06 Aug 15 at 9:33am
In Thanet - lots of good clubs around, although all sea based. I'm not sure if there are any clubs based on lakes, which may be better for the children

Posted By: NickM
Date Posted: 06 Aug 15 at 4:57pm
Redoubt Sailing Club on a small lake near Hythe is probably your only inland option.

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