Category: Lit Bits
Created: Thursday, 04 October 2012 00:33
Written by Charles Doane
YOU HEAR LOTS OF COMPLAINTS these days about how there aren't enough young people coming into, and staying involved in, the sport of sailing. Modern sailors, with much gnashing of teeth and rending of garments, love to debate the reasons for this. Many heap blame upon the venerable Optimist, the default training dinghy for the last half-century or more, and deride it as being too slow and boring to hold the interest of today's hyperactive media-addled youth. Even at the highest levels, in the exalted realm of the America's Cup, the working assumption seems to be that we must somehow make our sport more exciting and telegenic if it is to survive.
My own experience teaches me this probably isn't the best way to get kids interested in sailing. For children, or anyone, to learn to love sailing, and to get good at it, I think they need, first and foremost, a sense of adventure and/or a desire to connect with nature. Given this, there are then two other important ingredients: access to the water and a boat they can think of as their own. It need not be a fast boat, or a fancy one, or even a pretty one. It just needs to belong to them, figuratively or actually.
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