Encourage the Children to Enjoy the Boat

Dreamers

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I have three kids (girls 15 and 13, boy 10), we have 42 foot boat they have decided is 'boring'. We are planning three weeks away as a family in the summer, and before that quite a lot of sailing on the East Coast. I, perhaps naively, thought that if I got them a dingy, windsurfer, submarine, battlecruiser etc etc that they can learn to sail and play with, then they may take more interest and enjoy the whole sailing thing more, thus reducing the potential for grief. I suspect the girls are too big for Optimists, and the boy too small for others, and I need to be able to hoik it onboard without everyone's temper getting frayed. The girls did their RYA courses and have little desire to do any more. There must be a trick here in getting them to enjoy this hobby?

Has anyone got any views on the probable success of this, and if you think this is a good idea can you give me a clue as to what sort of craft to buy and how much I should expect to spend?
 

SimonD

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I also have three of the sames ages so I sympathise/empathise. Getting them out sailing at the end of a days sailing seems contradictory, but a great idea. Getting wet at the helm of a dinghy is a completely different type of sailing (which mine prefer) and may give them an appreciation of 'big boat' sailing.

A topper is relatively small and light and would be great for all sizes of children and available secondhand from £500 upwards. However, I suspect it would still be too cumbersome and heavy to get aboard and store safely.

In which case, have you seen a folding boat called a 'seahopper'. Sounds perfect, often at the boat shows and usually advertised in PBO etc.

Good luck!

Simon
 

suse

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Just be VERY careful about anything that sounds 'absolutely perfect'. I cancelled my order for just such a boat due to delays. Subsequent problems were eventually resolved, but were also much delayed.
 

bedouin

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You should consider a Tinker Traveller - a good compromise that are fun and safe to sail while still being very practical when used as a tender (or even as a liferaft!).

That would give them a certain degree of independence and control that may make it more enjoyable for them
 

robp

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I've had (have). the same scenario. I say had because the elder two (of three) boys, now 19 and 16, inevitably started to see their own agendas at about 14 onwards. I don't believe that there is any stopping this. Their friends are in a different place and they want to hang out with them. We used to regularly invite their friends along and that works to a degree. I'm advised by those who had this and came out the other side, that the kids will go of it and then come back again with their respective girlfiends/boyfriends. My 19 year old son has already said that he wouldn't mind some nice weather sailing this year. Meanwhile I made it special for my eight year old by making sailing HIS thing. He is now proud to be thought of as a seaman and has skills to match.

Yes competitive dinghy sailing will be great for them. They need that, as opposed to cruising. But remember that the two disciplines will both need time. Could you strap a Sail Board along the rails?
 

DanTribe

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When our two kids were the age of yours, we used to drag a topper and a windsurfer around the east coast on our 26 footer.The Topper is great fun and suitable for adults who may also want to escape for a while.A problem with windsurfers is that as soon as they have mastered a basic model the kids want a more challenging one.Be aware that if your kids get seriously interested in dinghy sailing they may want to race which will limit your cruising ability.
If you get as for as the Deben call into Waldringfield S. C. to see how kids sailing should be fun.
 

billmacfarlane

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I don't really want to pour cold water on your hopes but if they find the 42 footer boring there's a chance they might find sailing itself boring. They're human beings ( as much as any teenager is human ) , with their own dislikes and likes and the older they get the firmer their views become , and one of the views they might have is simply that they don't like sailing , for whatever reason - missing their mates , missing out on other activities at weekends etc. If they've done the RYA bit and don't want to do any more , are you sure they want to sail anything ?
I , and I suspect others on this site have been through or are going through the same thing. When my 2 daughters were aged in single figures , messing around inthe tender and learning to row , both actually could row by the time they were 4 , passed many a happy day. When their hormones kicked in I didn't find any one thing that kept them interested. I tried the Tinker Tramp and the Topper route , one of my daughers being a more than competent dinghy sailor. There's a danger going down this route in that after the excitement of the Topper , they might find the big boat even more boring. The strategy we had the most success with during their hormonal years was that we sailed to places that had interesting things for them to do when we got there . Whether it was water parks , zoos ( Jersey ) , no matter how boring the sailing was , they had something to look forward to. The interest doesn't have to be in the port itself as you can always hire a car to go somewhere. This worked adequately enough until our oldest could be left at home to do the usual teenage things , ruin the carpets with beer stains , cigarette ( I hope ) butts etc. , when you're sailing at weekends. Good luck and I hope this helps and remember that there is no boat big enough , not even cruise liner , for a sulky teenager.
 

jimi

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My experience is similar with the two eldest girls 12 & 14 enduring the sailing as long as there is something interesting to do at the other end. I also tried the Optimist etc route but this only had the effect of them classifying me as a complete obsessive! The 8 year old on the other hand is as keen as mustard, it'll be interesting to see how long that will last though. I'm also trying to get them involved in the navigational side to give them something to do. They do enjoy playing with the GPS .... anything with a screen!
 

Mr Cassandra

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We hade problems with our two ,when we sailed out of Falmouth, Solent,and North Wales . Then I went on a flotila holiday in Greece the kid loved it swiming any time of day ,towing them behind on a long warp Water sking using the main halyard. . its the climate ,that puts a smile on their faces . now own a boat out there. cheers bob t

Bob T
 
G

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When I was 16, and my wife too, we were allowed to borrow the family boat on our own with some friends. Parents retained the right to visit, and we had to telephone home every night, which meant we had to be in a safe harbour.

In the end there were three boya and a girl on board for a week. We had a wonderful time and (surprisingly, but remember we're talking of quite a time ago) it was quite innocent.

Of the two other boys, one became an Admiral, and another a canadian ambassodor to somewhere.

Early resonsibility gets its rewards. Perhaps 15 is a bit young, but is it? Think about letting go.

William Cooper
 

johndf

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Too many Captains spoil the broth

One of my children just loves the boat (boy aged 16), the other isn't too keen (girl aged 14), although as others have said, she is happy when we get somewhere with 'something to do'. If wehave fine weather, then even she really enjoys messing about with the dinghy, swimming, canoeing etc.

The main problemis that my son is of the age when he knows everything much better than his father, so we have twoCaptains, me who knows a bit after 30 years boating and he whoknows it all after about 5 years. -any ideas?...

Bill, maybe my mistake is not doing what you are saying - perhaps i'm not giving him enough responsibility.
 

craigbalsillie

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I have a daughter aged 3 and a son aged 7 weeks, I was thinking about taking up sailing in an attempt to have a hobby we can enjoy in the future "as a family"..

I don't think I'll bother after reading this little lot...
 

DanTribe

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Don't pay too much attention to all the gloom and doom.Many of the problems are a result of adolescence, and you'll have that problem whatever you do_Our two sprogs [now 23 and 26]were brought up with sailing and have enjoyed many family weekends and summer hols on a 26ft boat. It's true that as teenagers they didn't want to be cooped up with the wrinklies but by then they were into dinghy racing and we became Cadet Parents and the yacht a Mother Ship.
In my opinion in a small ship the secret is to allow the kids enough freedom to have fun and try to grin and bear it when they really get on your tits.
It helps if the boat isn't too immaculate and can be hosed out occasionally. Go for it.
 

DavidofMersea

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I found that inviting their friends to be a great help, they become very popular and love showing off to their friends how well they can sail

As for buying a boat, what about a Topper? the boy is probably not to little and the girls will not be to big - no maintantence, and easy to get aboard
 

tcm

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Re: Climate etc

Partly the climate, partly boring is shorthand for "not trendy". Try renting, since you haven't a clue, they don't really know except that they don't like what most would think a fabuolous vessel.
 

castaway

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I read all these posts with resignation and having 4 kids between 8 and 16 yrs have seen it all.

Every so often I get tempted to give up the shift work I do and go 9 to 5 and a 5 day week... then I realise that I would only be able to sail when the familly and myself are home at the week end.....

So I continue to work some horrible hours but a least I have time off in the week to sail with an empty Solent and no kids........ Hate to admit it but its true
 

billmacfarlane

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It's not all bad. We had some great family holidays on boats ranging from 20'-29' . We never sailed too far when they were small , boredom can be a big problem , and had many a happy holiday rock pooling , messing around on beaches , crabbing and fishing. My 2 daughters still talk with great affection about it. The problems being talked about are more to do with their teenage years when they start getting minds of their own and some of them decide it's not for them. My 2 daughters have sailed since they were in the womb , and I never had any problems until the terrible teens were reached. But as I said earlier there's no rule to say they must like sailing.
 
G

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Re: Too many Captains spoil the broth

I'd say so, but then, I do not know the boy. If he thinks he knows more than his father at age 16, that is good, but fairly soon he will have to start making mistakes on the road to discovering that his father is learning fast.

16 is the right age to make mistakes. Unfortunately I was 16 in wartime and had to do as I was told. Perhaps it shows.

William Cooper
 

JeremyF

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Great posting!

I dont have too many problems with the kids yet ( 9 and 7). TV and gameboys certainly help when they get bored. I make sure that the sailing is short, and there's something to do at the other end.

My next stage will be to buy a Tinker Tramp - they seem a genuine 3 in 1 device, and if they get bored of sailing it, its still a great tender and liferaft.

My problem is the wife! She puts up with it, so long as conditions are good, and everything goes smoothly. Any problems arise, and her true feelings towards sailing emerge. Luckily I can blame her for me catching the sailing bug, as she was the one a few years back that bought me a taster weekend!


Jeremy Flynn

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