Learning the Ropes in Sailing Class

by Tim Sweet

My wife and I are the proud grandparents of 11 grandchildren. This summer, we offered sailing lessons to our 10-year-old grandson, Zachary.

He eagerly accepted the invitation. We hope to grant the same opportunity to the other grandkids, too, if they are interested.

The Sturgeon Bay Yacht Club had a two-week “Learn to Sail” session for students between 8 and 11 years of age. We filled out the paperwork and mailed in a check for $125.

Young people serve as the instructors. The students are given some instruction, but most of their learning comes from being in a small sailboat on the water.

Kids learn how to rig a boat with its sail, lines, rudder, tiller, daggerboard (centerboard), etc. Then off they go!

One day the instructors used ice cream as the source of motivation to get all 12 kids to sail across the bay to the Frozen Spoon where they had a treat before sailing back to the yacht club.

Today’s sailing lesson took the kids west through the downtown bridges. The wind was blowing at a pretty good clip out of the west, which made the boats move right along. Instructors in safety boats were busy keeping an eye on the students and giving tows to those in trouble. Real adventure is what these students got a taste of this morning. They were “out there,” and it was fun to watch.

Another thing I appreciate about the class is the kids are beginning to develop teamwork when it comes time to “de-rig” the boats and put everything away at the end of session.

If you’re looking for a way to help a child you love learn some important life lessons, you may want to look into sailing lessons.

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