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  #11  
Old 03-22-2011
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Here are a couple more things to consider.

First, you might want to get them out on the water in a sailing dinghy in a controlled situation where the wind is light and you can beach the boat quickly if you need to abort. Sail with them one on one. Make sure that the boat you pick will be difficult to turtle and if you swamp it it will float and can be bailed (but if the wind is light this should not be a worry). Once you have them getting an interest give them the tiller. Let them build a sense of control and a sense of balance for being on the water and having fun. You can even move up to them solo sailing the dinghy at some point when they are confident handling both the helm and the sheet.

When it comes to sailing a keelboat, remember that below decks is much more disorienting than above. If the boat has any heel, the room is tilted and if there is chop the boat feels like it is bobbing and moving in a very uncontrolled way. Many sailors who are not seasick above decks become very seasick when spending time down below. So keep this in mind; the safe refuge you refer to might be worse than trying to keep them calm above decks.

I think you should contact someone at BAADS; it's the Bay Area Association for Disabled Sailors. I'm sure they could point you in the right direction for finding someone who has experience training kids with Autism. There are many junior sailing programs in the SF Bay Area and I'm sure that many instructors here have dealt with this very situation before. I'm pretty sure there is a sailing association here that is youth specific; but I don't know the name of the group. Someone at BAADS should be able to help you.

BAY AREA ASSOCIATION OF DISABLED SAILORS

When I was an officer in the local Sea Scouts unit we had a kid who was an avid sailor and I am sure he was on the autism spectrum. His parents were avid sailors and he was quite experienced at sailing a dinghy at the age of 13. I'm sure he was trained at one of the local yacht clubs. I remember one time was sailing a small dinghy in 20kts of wind with the sheet in his teeth and cutting in and out of powerboats who were struggling with the river current while he sailed circles around them!!
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  #12  
Old 03-22-2011
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KathyInKY View Post
Minnewaska, I wanna live where you do when I grow up!
Hi Kathy,

I'm not sure whether you misinterpreted my comment. I really like the ComPac boats and think the 19 is attractive. In fact, I've looked at an old 17 to put on the lake near my house. Their newer Sunday Cat looks great too, but goodness sake, they're expensive. These all have very confined spaces down below. I don't know if that is good or bad for your boys, which is why you are best to decide.

As far as where I live, I've moved six times in the last ten years. You're welcome to it.
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Old 03-22-2011
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Though you are looking for trailerable sailboats, with two autistic boys, it might be more than a handful to have to launch and retrieve every time you want to go sailing. Rockyfork Lake State Park in Ohio, not too far across the border from Kentucky, has relatively inexpensive seasonal slip rentals. This way you only need to launch once for the season. Winds tend to be light to moderate most of the summer...so less "tippiness".
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Old 03-23-2011
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Kathy:
Welcome. I would suggest considering a larger boat. I think you will find a 19' boat to be extremely small and tight quarters, especially for boys that need a getaway place. This will become even more pronounced as they get older. They will be getting bigger very soon. This will happen so fast you will be astounded. Nay, you will be shocked. You will wake up one morning very soon and find that there are a couple of very large and gangly young men living in your house.

Good luck. You are a peach of a parent.

Carlos
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Old 03-23-2011
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Would it be worth considering a catamaran? I don't know much about the price/size of catamarans with a cabin, but that would overcome the stability issue, and would seem to give more deck space.
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