No easier way for fun youth sailing

Published on March 22nd, 2023

by Craig Leweck, Scuttlebutt Sailing News
The goals of every youth sailing program are to teach the skills and instill a love for the sport that can serve as a foundation for the future. However, most programs showcase just one pram-type boat for those first 5+ years, which is not the best way to achieve the goals.

If a kid doesn’t like the pram, they quit. If the kid is the wrong size for the pram, they quit. If the kid likes a different social experience, they quit. More so, the best way to learn how to sail is to sail a variety of boats. While the basics are the same, the differences heighten the skills.

I live in a very small sector of the planet not yet overtaken by the Optimist Class. The Naples Sabot is the dominant youth option, though the O’Pen Skiff has made inroads, and I overheard a young parent describing how their kid races the Naples Sabot but sails the O’Pen Skiff for fun.

At that age, if they were into racing, it would be better to race the boat that is more fun. Not everybody trophies, but everybody can have fun. I was reminded of this when I saw the 2023 O’Pen Skiff North Americans were coming to my corner of the country, and how the charter boats were getting snatched up for the event.

My pal Nevin Sayre is involved and told me about the 40-foot container sent from France with 55 boats to meet demand, and how there are ten or so boats still available for charter. He is hoping to sell all the boats too, but my guess is there’s no easier way to have some fun than at this event on April 19-23 in San Diego, CA.

Aside from divisions for U12, U15, and Open (no age restriction), the top male and top female overall and a third sailor randomly drawn from the entry list will receive free charter boats at the 2024 O’pen Skiff Worlds in Kaneohe, HI.

Before I say ‘variety is the spice of life’, this is about finding the fun in sailing. Ice cream stores have lots of flavors for a reason. Kids need to be exposed to the options so they can find their fun, and this looks to be some pretty good ice cream. For details, click here.

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