Sailing School is Fun (Finally!)

Published on August 14th, 2013

By Tim Zimmermann, Sailing World
Despite my own love of sailing, I’ve never had much luck getting my kids (11 and 8) interested in sailing school. Sure, they’ll come sail with me (if I beg, threaten, or plead, depending on the circumstances–it’s enough to make me fantasize about Burwicking them). But it has been clear that an affinity for sailing, and a desire to learn how to sail, hadn’t quite displaced their modern inclinations toward Percy Jackson books, Minecraft, Dragonvale, and Instagram.

I didn’t sweat it too much because they get plenty of exposure to the sport, and I figured it would either take or it wouldn’t. But, clearly, whatever I was trying – mainly taking them on weekend cruises, with some daysailing thrown in – wasn’t quite doing the trick.

Luckily, this summer-mostly, because they wanted to do what the other kids were doing-they finally gave sailing school a shot. It was a slightly exotic sailing school, being located in the pretty village of Glandore on the southwest coast of Ireland (we make semi-annual pilgrimmages to Glandore during the summer because it’s hard to pass up cool, rainy, weather, the Irish landscape, and real Guinness draft). But my patience was rewarded. They liked it.

The Glandore Harbour Yacht Club Sailing School delivered. My kids say they want to do it again. They seem to have brought their enthusiasm for sailing back across the Atlantic. And in a world that is always trying to figure out how to get kids interested in sailing, I am now trying to figure out why. – Read on

Editor’s note: Tim is based in Washington, D.C. with a Beneteau 36.7 as the family platform. In the event you don’t read the full article, we did not want you to miss this nugget that is further into his review…

“Learning without knowing you are learning is always the best way. And while I don’t have much experience with American sailing schools, my impression is that there is more emphasis on preparing kids for the cutthroat world of Opti sailing and junior competition. That seems like a recipe for potential burnout. If a kid wants to race, first the kid must love simply being on a dinghy out on the water. And I am happy with any sailing school that emphasizes that part along with safety and seamanship.”

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