Two articles I recently read made a lot of sense to me as a parent to two junior sailors and after a summer of trading back and forth between Optimists and O’pen Bics. The predicted happened, which was that my eleven year old preferred the planing, no-bailing, super fun unRegatta set up of the O’pen Bic to his race Opti. That is to say – we forked over decent money for a used race Opti and he spent the summer wanting to race O’pen Bics. It’s a movement not unique to my sailors, as kids experience the thrill of singlehanding a fast, fun boat – casting aside the ill conceived notion that any serious racing sailors must begin, and perfect, Opti racing. Continue reading
This is a fun little interview from an enthusiastic and somewhat expert Optimist sailor. This young lady goes over the whole program – how to rig the sail and what makes her love it and why she races. You can tell that she loves her little “bathtub” opti and takes pride in being able to explain all the parts and pieces to a seemingly less educated audience.
I was recently speaking with a friend about kids and opti racing… and this sage sailor boiled down for me what he estimates to be the difference between the kids who excel and those who struggle or just… sail. His claim is that it’s all about the attention span, and that sending these kids out to race for 4-6 races in a day really requires a serious attention span. And not just to all the boat and sail parts to adjust for increased speed on your boat – also to the race course, the competition, the wind, weather, waves and current. And staying hydrated and rigging correctly and listening to your coach and adjusting quickly to unforeseen tweaks, changes and course alterations based on teammates and fellow competitors. WHEW! That’s a lot to think about for any normal adult, much less the increasingly challenged attention span of today’s kids.
But this lady has it down. Even if it is like “having an internet browser with 50 million tabs open at once,” She seems focused and committed to doing well and being her own commander.
I’d sail with this fine captain any day. (preferably not in an Opti, though.)
A few years ago, when my son was barely able to steer without help on his sailing camp’s Mercury sailboat, he was handed down a pretty beat up Optimist dinghy. It was better than Christmas when we went to drag the boat out of a leaf pile, under the tree of a very lovely fellow Yacht Club family. The mom made some funny comments about the boat repair work her son had attempted on the boat years ago and wished us *luck* with the latest member of our fleet. And just like that an obsession was born. My now ten year old son, Oliver had his OWN boat to work on. He had big plans for repairing the ignored dents and a new paint job and oh my gosh – what would he name it? The ideas and dreams were circling inside his head and such is the story of yet another man (to-be) with big boat ideas and little practical knowledge. Continue reading