WhyKidsShouldSail

About Me

I’m an eighteen-year-old college student at Santa Clara University. I was brought up around boats, both sail boats and power boats. Though present in my upbringing, my first real interaction with sailing was when I started going to the Seattle Yacht Club (SYC) Sail School during the summer.


My first summer I was seven years old and I spent the week in a 420 (also known as the Club 420) with two or three other kids my age, as well as an instructor. I attended SYC Sail School in the same boat another summer, but the following summer I moved into a different boat called an Optimist or Opti. The Opti is a boat that was designed for the purpose of teaching young children how to sail and is an excellent way to learn to sail by itself. Its design is simple and slow, making it very forgiving and hopefully not too overwhelming, all because ideally it would have just a single youth sailor in it. Again, I sailed the Optimist for another summer before moving into a different class

An Optimist Fleet

A Laser Fleet Start

This next class sailed three different boats one of which is the 420, which I had already sailed before, but this time was intended for only two or three of us sail school students. I also started sailing Lasers and Bytes. I took one more year of this last sail school class before I decided I wanted to start racing.
Breaking into racing at twelve was not easy, the existing kids were a tight knit commiunity. This will be true anywhere, but hopefully with a little more preparedness and understanding, will come confidence and comfort. The boat that you sail when you race is determined by how much you weigh. I went into racing when I weighed about 120 pounds, which is the lower limit for sailing a Laser Radial (a "dailed down" version of the Laser.)

My first regatta was the Seattle One-Design Centerboard, and Keelboat Series (or SOCKS.) This was a regatta that was open to both youth sailors and master sailors (sailors over 19) and though they are scored separately, the competition was still unnerving, especially for an undersized and inexperienced sailor such as myself at the time. I finished terribly, too poor to remember, but over the course of the regatta I had spent time with many of the members of the race team and no longer felt alien to the team.


I continued to compete in regattas though not uninterrupted. Many times I was hesitant to return to the race team after a break, apprehension from uncertainty or unfamiliarity. Each time I eventually retuned thanks to the persuasion of my parents or my friends. It took more than a year for me to really be comfortable with both racing and the race team.


When I turned fifteen I applied to be a Junior Instructor at the Seattle Yacht Club. This is a volunteer position, and is mostly a precursor to becoming a regular Instructor, which would follow the next year for me. After turning sixteen I took the Level 1 Sailing Instructor course, which for anyone who is really interested in teaching sailing, should be fairly easy. I was a Junior Instructor for one summer and I just finished my third summer of being a full instructor. Being a sailing instructor is much less competitively demanding than racing, but requires a whole new set of skills that I would liken to that of a babysitters, most notably, tolerance for just about everything.


I am now starting off into the world of college sailing, and plan to continue to instruct for many summers to come.

 

Pictures on this site were taken for educational purposes from Pacificfog.net