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Old 08-12-2008, 06:56   #1
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10 New Sailors

It was my son's 11th birthday party today and once again we did a beach party at the sailling club. Dock jumping, beachcombing, swimming, kayaking and surfboarding one after another. The kids had a blast. The first "premier event", the banana boat was cancelled because they pulled the towing line out of it and sunk it yesterday - ouch. The second premier event, sailing intro, was also in jeopardy.

Last night a sumatra blew through with trees down and so forth. We woke this morning to 20 knot winds and belting rain. Oh, great! We pushed on to the club and while we had 2 cancellations we ended up with 12 kids. They started the aforementioned activities in the rain, then we did lunch, cake, sang Happy Birthday and opened presents.

Our original plan was to rig up 4 Access dinghy's and do a sailing intro - I've mentioned these boats before. They are unsinkable, uncapsizeable, joystick helmed boats designed for disabled sailors. You can teach anyone to sail in 5 minutes in these.

Well with no more delay the kids are asking, "When are we sailing?" Kids have no concept of 20 knot winds and while these things are easy to sail, sending kids out in 20 knots is a bit over the top even for me...

My (sailing) brother from California is visiting so we go to plan B. Plan B is we'll rig two boats and do rides one kid at a time. At this point the kids are a bit disappointed but so far no one is throwing empty beer bottles at us.

We rig one boat, and rig a second boat. Praise the weather gods the wind drops to 6-7 knots steady! game on! We rig a 3rd boat and we plan for me, my brother and my son to do check outs. Launch my brother with 2 kids, launch my son with 2 kids and as I am dragging the 3rd boat out I figure, what the heck. This one kid told me he could sail and I let him take 2 kids. Well sure enough he can sail. My brother hits the beach after checking out this young girl and she takes 2 other girls.

I get the 4th boat rigged and launch 3 more kids. 12 kids, 4 boats, reach to reach sausages with 60-70 meter legs - no dramas!

In 20 minutes we have just taught 10 kids how to sail.

They hung out there for about 2 hours and the post frontal breeze stayed steady in drizzle at 6 knots right on the beach.

The sailor of the day was Alex. He wanted to solo at the end and we let him. He stayed out until the party ended getting 2 1/2 hours in. Good kid.

The other good sailor kid is my 11 Y/O - He was very proud to be one of the "check out" guys and I thought, "Hey cool. My 11 yo is teaching other kids to sail"

That's him first in sail 1296 then after getting out pushing off sail 1296 and soloing Alex back into the channel. Alex has a bit of a death grip on the sheet but not bad for 20 minutes of prep.

What a great day...
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Old 08-12-2008, 07:18   #2
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Old 08-12-2008, 21:52   #3
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w00t! looks like a great time is being had by all!

Congratulations Ex-Calif, a successful b-day party at that age is a major accomplishment. And you've probably introduced a bunch of them to a life-long interest.

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