Summer Sailing for Kids

With Memorial Weekend behind us, summer has all but arrived. With it comes family vacations, trips to the beach, picnics in the park and the all-too-real possibility that your kids could get bored. Luckily, if you’re keen on introducing your children to sailing at a young age, community programs abound to transform their summer from average to adventurous. From Optis to windsurfers, there are
Author:
Updated:
Original:
SUMMERSAILING.interior1

With Memorial Weekend behind us, summer has all but arrived. With it comes family vacations, trips to the beach, picnics in the park and the all-too-real possibility that your kids could get bored. Luckily, if you’re keen on introducing your children to sailing at a young age, community programs abound to transform their summer from average to adventurous. From Optis to windsurfers, there are sailing centers around the country that educate kids both on and off the water.

These clubs represent some of the best sailing instruction in metropolitan areas, but for parents of future sailors, we also recommend checking out your local yacht club.

California

SUMMERSAILING.interior2

The Lake Merritt Boating Center out of Oakland teaches children as young as seven how to sail, kayak, windsurf, row and even dragonboat! During the week, younger and less experienced campers may learn how to chart the lake in pedal boats and kayaks, while older sailors race in Optis, Hobies or Sunfish. In addition, a tall ships camp and a keelboat camp take junior sailors out of dinghies and into big boat sailing in the San Francisco Bay. A key perk for parents: both early morning and after-program care are available.

Wisconsin

The Geneva Lake Sailing School operates out of Lake Geneva Yacht Club, one of the country’s most renowned clubs and a hub for Midwestern sailing. Over the course of seven summer sessions, children as young as four can learn to sail on an inland lake in Optis, 420s, O’pen Bics, windsurfers and even Sonars. Experienced sailors, ages 12 to 18, can also learn to trim spinnakers and manipulate the trapeze.

Texas

Texan sailors are lucky enough to have youth sailing programs available year-round, but the number of sailing programs doubles in the summer. At the Austin Yacht Club, sailors as young as four start their sailing careers in Optis and Picos, while older children experience Lasers and FJs, all in preparation for events associated with the Texas Sailing Association. A key perk for parents: Wednesday and Thursday nights feature informal racing programs for those sailors who hope to race with their children.

Florida

Home of the Orange Bowl Youth Regatta, Coral Reef Yacht Club is as established as they come in the world of Miami sailing. But many parents may not realize that youth sailing programs are open to children of non-members as well. With a focus on racing tactics, more experienced racers learn fleet racing as well as team racing skills, while every sailor learns how to both single-hand and double-hand Optis and 420s. A key perk for children: on-water time includes ample amount of play time in the pool.

Massachusetts

In Boston, Courageous Sailing Center’s summer youth sailing courses operate by lottery registration for a reason. With a fleet of over 60 boats, the not-for-profit serves over 1000 area youth between the ages of 8 and 18 for free. While all education is focused around sailing and being on the water, the program also emphasizes team-building, environmental awareness and community. Key perk for parents: did we mention it’s free?

Related

Waypoint.image.cd

Say No To Waypoints

Ever since they first appeared in my navigational toolbox decades ago I have been wary of waypoints. They certainly do seem helpful, these electronic flags we plant in the ether to guide us to where we want to go. But I noticed early on they also tend to distort our perception. ...read more

Lead-shutterstock_429247

A Cruise up Florida’s St. Johns River

The chart showed 45ft of vertical clearance, and I knew the boat should be able to pass under the bridge. Still, there was that nagging voice in my head that wouldn’t let me be. “What if your air draft calculations were wrong?” it said. “And if you’re just a little too high the ...read more

pic00

Installing a Helm Pod

Our 1987 Pearson project boat came with an elderly but functioning Raymarine chartplotter, located belowdecks at the nav station. Since I usually sail solo or doublehanded, it was of little use down there—it needed to be near the helm. When I decided to update the plotter along ...read more

Panamerican

Pan American Game Success

Team USA’s young sailors went to the quadrennial Pan-American Games in Lima, Peru this summer with high hopes, and returned with a good haul of medals—two Golds, three Silvers, and two Bronze. Gold medals went to Ernesto Rodriguez and Hallie Schiffman (Mixed Snipe) and Riley ...read more

190916-AC75

U.S. Team Launches First America’s Cup Boat

Fast forward to around 2:25 to see the boat in action. First day out and already doing full-foiling gybes: not too shabby! Hard on the heels of the unveiling of New Zealand’s first AC75, the New York Yacht Club’s American Magic team has now launched its first America’s Cup ...read more

GGTobCaysHorseshoeColors

Picking a Charter Destination

Picking a destination should reflect the interests of your group, says People often ask about my favorite charter destination, and invariably, I sidestep the question with one of my own: “Well, what do you want to do on your vacation?” Most often I hear an incredulous, “Why, ...read more

sinking

Waterlines: Chasing Leaks on Boats

Chasing leaks on boats is a time-honored obsession. Rule number one in all galaxies of the nautical universe through all of nautical history has always been the same: keep the water on the outside. When water somehow finds its way inside and you don’t know where it’s coming ...read more

BestBoatNominees2020-Promo

Best Boats Nominees 2020

Bring on the monohulls! In a world increasingly given over to multihull sailing, SAIL magazine’s “Best Boats” class of 2020 brings with it a strong new group of keelboats, including everything from luxury cruisers nipping at the heels of their mega-yacht brethren to a number of ...read more