Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Schenectady, NY USA
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Well, we have one daughter who is 16 and she hates sailing. We bought the boat, a Precision 15k 15 foot trailerable, when she was 8 years old. For the first year or two she seemed to enjoy it, especially if she could bring a friend. We would go to boat shows and she would scramble aboard each boat so she could pick out her cabin.
A funny story, once when we were aboard a relatively small boat that had a double berth under the cockpit I told her it was called "the pizza box" because that's what it feels like you're sleeping in. She promptly went aboard a big luxurious center cockpit boat (I think it was an Oyster), walked into the aft cabin and stated "I want the pizza box". "Honey, it's not called a pizza box on a boat like this." ;-)
Gradually though she came to dislike sailing to the point of open loathing.
When we bought the boat I was very new and just learning how to sail. Being insecure in my own abilities I tended to be very demanding of the crew, "Sit here", "Don't touch that", etc. Captain Bligh even showed his ugly head from time to time. On top of that the first mate, when she noticed the daughter's declining interest, purchased (without consulting me first) one of those huge tubes you see being towed behind power boats with people on them thinking this would make it fun for the youngster. I objected to this for two reasons: 1. It's a small boat. I can feel our speed under sail go down just when I forget to tip the outboard out of the water, I can only imagine what a thing like that would do to our performance, and 2. more importantly, if the tube should capsize I was not at all confident in my ability to turn the boat around and rescue the occupant in a timely fashion. So I nixed the inner tube and I'm afraid my daughter perceived that as another example of my being a wet blanket when it came to sailing.
My strategy to deal with the situation was to get her more engaged in sailing the boat, to let her steer when the sailing was easy or handle the dock lines. Unfortunately by the time this strategy occurred to me she was already trying to get out of going at all, "Can't I go stay at Grandma's while you go sailing?"
Now days she stays home while my wife and I go sailing. She says it's boring plus which she tends to get a little seasick. I deeply regret not doing a better job at cultivating her interest, though I never wanted to force it on her. When I took up sailing I had grand ideas of it being something we could enjoy together but that doesn't seem likely now. My advice to anyone reading this would be to learn on your own for a while first. Get confident in your own abilities and be aware of the kids' level of enjoyment. Now whenever I have a novice on board I hand them the tiller and I play with the sheets, confident that if they screw up I can always recover. That wasn't so easy when I was just learning.
Best of luck to you,
Last edited by CaptFoolhardy; 12-16-2009 at 10:13 AM.
Reason: additional idea