Nov 1, 2006, 6:47 AM
Post #3 of 6
From Emma Paull:
Re: [Alicia] Lessons from messing around in boats
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As a 30 year old female who is nuts about sailing I agree with Dave Doody (letter in 2210) that you don't see enough children simply messing around in boats but have you thought why? One of the reasons is because the parents of these kids don't do their own exploring as much anymore, and the kids aren't given the chance to just go sailing.
I have spent my whole life in boats, my parents met buying a boat from one another, but both my parents came from non-sailing parents. To start sailing they individually begged, borrowed and built their own boats. Both used to tell me their own stories of dodgy sailing trips in very small boats with no engines around the Solent when they shouldn't of because the weather, tide or boat just wasn't up to it. But they did it because they never had anyone saying you can't do that, its too dangerous, and they proceeded to learn valuable seamanship lessons with each mistake they made. When I sailed with them in various size and shape boats, I was slowly taught the basics - like always go upwind or up current first depending on the strongest so you will always get home again, never be afraid to stop somewhere early and wait until conditions get better, and my favourite, always take a 10 pence piece so you can ring for help when it all goes wrong!
Growing up on the Arthur Ransome series of books (a must for any sailor) my friends and I started exploring our local river and then the Solent from the age of 11 in our Toppers and Mirrors until I got the racing bug which I still have today, My boat handling and seamanship skills at the age of 15 were far superior to the rusty ones I have now, and you would be amazed how often the rowing skills I learnt as a child have come in handy trying to get home from the pub!
From this great childhood, my philosophy is if you want the kids to sail for fun, make it fun, show them what’s out there, give them the skills and the knowledge to be safe and able to get home again and then send them out to explore and make their own mistakes. You’re not a bad parent if you let your child go sailing without you, a coach or a safety boat and you would be amazed how much their racing skills will improve from simply messing about in boats.