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Old 10-06-2020, 11:07   #1
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Getting kids/teens into sailing?

My family is looking to switch to a liveaboard cat. We have 7 kids (2 in college, so only 5 on the boat full-time), from ages 5-22.

Caroline (22)
James (14)
Alana (12)
Ashlynn (9)
Margot/Will (5yo twins)

Our 14 year old (James) has expressed a lot of interest in sailing, and actually asked to take lessons before our family even started considering liveaboard.

The girls (Alana and Ashlynn) are definitely open to the idea, but they aren’t 100% sold. It’s not so much about social life (they’ve always been best friends, and while they’ll have trouble saying goodbye, I think they feel closer to each other than anyone else.), but I think they’re both a bit scared of change.

Our twins (Margot and Will) don’t totally get the concept? They understand that we would be living on a boat and sailing places, but I’m not totally sure how to get them to really understand the magnitude of the change, if that makes sense.

If you liveaboard with kids, what are your tips for getting the kids adjusted to boat life? How do you find other kid boats? How do your kids pass the time during passages?

Anything helps!
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Old 10-06-2020, 11:23   #2
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Join Date: Mar 2019
Boat: A185F, Mystic 30’ Cutter
Posts: 658
Re: Getting kids/teens into sailing?

Get them a laser

Some basic lessons, including flipping it and righting it, and let experience do its thing.
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Old 10-06-2020, 11:58   #3
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Location: Channel Islands, CA
Boat: 1962 Columbia 29 MK 1 #37
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Re: Getting kids/teens into sailing?

Caroline and Mason: Get them going learning on Hobie Cats after the Laser
James and Alana: Lasers after the Sabot or El Toro
Ashlynn: Sabot or El Toro, though she may be begging for the Laser after she sees her big sister get the hang of it. (By the way, these aren't the only boats, just use them as kind of a measure for the type of boat to consider)
Get all the big kids comfortable with safety procedures and how to work the outboard and the dinghy. They will love the power and freedom that gives them too.
The twins, their own inflatable little kayaks to play in and squirt guns.
If they can take the lessons with a bunch of other kids their age, do it! Yacht clubs and sailing clubs often have summer classes and the kids have a blast and build tremendous confidence.
Inflatable SUP is also a real hit with my 14 y.o. daughter, she is only lukewarm on helping me sail the boat But she loves sailing and being out on the water.
My 9 y.o. son enjoys sailing the boat but going in one direction bores him after a while. He loves his small kayak to go off by himself at the local islands.
Make it easy for them to bring their friends along when possible.
Have dive equipment at the ready and fishing poles.
Get an underwater light meant to attract fish or squid. The kids of all ages will love to see what shows up at night!
Keep it all positive, fun and not scary at first and then ramp up slowly so you don't lose them. Try your best not to yell at anyone for pulling on the wrong line or getting off course. (I still need to learn that.) You have to let the unplanned tacks or NEAR gybes go without a negative comment (though watch the gybe!) and use them as teachable moments.
Then when you find out what works, come back and tell us about it!
Check here too:
Good luck!
1962 Columbia 29 MKI #37
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