ARE YOU TEACHING YOUR CHILD TO SAIL?
As a sailing coach for children I come across low water confidence in kids all the time. Often, I have to go right back to basic water confidence. I don't want these kids to become an Olympic sailor like I was, I just want them to have the opportunity to see the ocean as their playground; a place where they can explore, think expansively, grow from challenges, support others, learn how to relax, get strong, get better balance and get fit.
Some fun ways to do this?
- Games with boats upside down, jumping off boats, jumping from boat to boat
- Standing up on or walking around the edge of boats, making the boat rock around, swimming under a boat.
- Towing the boat behind another dinghy - get kids to get used to the balance and then stand up and balance
- Sailing in pairs can give a less confident child a way onto a boat with more support or fun.
- Sailing with an adult can accelerate a child's confidence and learning
The most important thing with teaching someone to sail is that the process is a gentle one. The kids will pick up confidence and concepts at their own pace according to their level of water confidence and coordination. It is very hard to get a child back onto a boat after a bad experience!
Make sure before you put your child in a boat, that he/she can right the boat by themselves after a capsize and they can get back in.
In a TIWAL Inflatable sailing dinghy, getting back onto the boat after a capsize is easy! And the great thing about the TIWAL.... it does not not fill up with water, eliminating yet another opportunity for panic.
If a child has lost confidence or got frustrated learning in an Opti, I often put them on the TIWAL with a friend and they are soon enjoying things again. It works a treat!
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I am a New Zealand sailor who learned to sail in the beautiful Malborough Sounds and then went onto represent NZ at the 2000 Olympics.