There is no other sport in the world that will give your children as much preparation, knowledge, and opportunities in life like sailing. Imagine your children crossing oceans and getting paid to do it! Sailing teaches important life skills, such as awareness, patience, and respect. Learning to sail can also lead to meeting and becoming friends with yacht owners, which is a great network to have.
Every parent wants to see their children succeed. Teaching them skills such as cooking, cleaning, and money handling are great ways to set them up for life. But sports, music, and art also play a huge role in shaping a child’s future. We believe that sailing can be a unique and significant factor in shaping your child’s future. Learning to sail is straight forward; learn how the wind interacts with the sail and away you go. But mastering sailing takes a great amount of patience. Everything from parts of the boat, to weather patterns, to sail trim must be taught. Learning the small intricacies of sail trim can take years of practice. Tell me, do you know what a leech line is, and what it does? Or what the traveler does to the sail shape, and how that affects your angle of attack? Learning these small adjustments not only takes patience, but it also teaches awareness.
No other sport teaches people to think in a 360-degree circle. Sailors must be aware of their surroundings all the time. What’s ahead, astern, to port and starboard. We can’t forget what is above and below the boat as well. No other activity requires this much awareness. This type of awareness will help children when it comes to learning how to drive, manage a school or work load, even with future relationships. It will also instill a sense of community, most sailors rely on each other, and when help is needed there are always enough hands.
Sailing also teaches us respect. Respect for the wind and how it can change at any given moment and force us to adjust our course. It teaches respect for other people’s equipment. Whether that be the boat you chartered for the day, or for other boats on the water. We must take care to avoid crashing and breaking expensive equipment. Sailors also learn to respect the earth. Water is a precious resource; we cannot taint it with garbage or allow pollution to destroy our favorite sailing spot. Sailors learn to take care of the environment, for they spend an awful lot of time enjoying what it has to offer. Respect is a universal language, learning respect early will only set you up to achieve great things in the future.
Teaching your children to sail will also set them up with a huge networking advantage in the future. Imagine, if you will, your kid goes to college on the coast. My piece of advice would be this:
Find the local yacht club and go down there on Wednesday evening. Wednesday’s are for racing at most yacht clubs. Jump on a boat and show up, every Wednesday for 4 years. Mingle with the yacht club members, become friends with them and their kids. After 4 years you’ll have job offers lined up from every member. You’ve just proven that you are reliable, teachable, and willing to work. Think about the type of people who belong to yacht clubs. What kind of job offers do you think you’ll be getting?
How does that sound? It sounds like an investment in learning to sail at a young age can lead to many benefits. Those benefits include, learning patience, awareness and respect. They also include a built-in networking system, a system that can lead to professional success for life. To me, there is no better opportunity in the world than learning how to sail.
Want to learn more about youth sailing programs? Check out our sister company Colorado Watersports (www.coloradowatersports.com). We offer weeklong summer camps for kids to learn how to sail! Opportunities to sail in the CSYC Youth Regatta (www.CSYC.org) in the summer, and eventually learn to sail bigger keelboats (www.victoriasailingschool.com).
The only people that still talk about why Celestial Navigation is needed are grizzled old sailors, and us. We still talk about it because, the old tried and true method of navigation can’t let you down. It is a great way to learn and enjoy a new skill while sailing and gives you a backup plan in the worst case scenario.
The first argument that comes to mind is, what if your GPS fails? This is a reality that cannot be ignored. Saltwater and electronics get along like pigs in mud. On a boat we marry expensive electronics and saltwater together. Not only do you need to worry about keeping your equipment dry and clean, you also need to make sure they stay charged. If your generator or engine stops working due to bad fuel, lack of compression, electrical gremlins or any other myriad of reasons, you lose access to your GPS. Now what?
At this point you might be thinking ‘Yeah well I don’t have time to learn about Celestial Navigation’. Celestial Navigation is easier to learn and understand than most people think. You need a pencil, paper, a sextant, an Almanac, and a watch. And of course, your pick of celestial bodies. Dive in and learn a skill that helped old world conquerors cross oceans without any electronic guidance. Just a belief that the sun, moon, and stars would guide them safely home. As a sailor, you chose to avoid commercialized ways of travel, to get away from it all. So why not jump in all the way and really escape it? Learn a technique that will make you more confident on the seas, but also put you in the upper echelon of sailors! How many sailors do you really know that can whip out a sextant and plot your course? At worst you’ll learn a beautiful new skill, at best you’ll save your boat and crew from disaster someday.
Finally, the worst-case scenario. Your GPS is hacked or spoofed. I know this may seem like an out of this world problem, but it is happening with more and more frequency. Just this year, a flight from Hong Kong to Manila lost their GPS systems and the pilots were told to find the runway with their eyes (https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/gps-is-easy-to-hack-and-the-u-s-has-no-backup/). Do you think you could find land without destroying your boat if you didn’t have GPS? There have been over 50 cases of jammed GPS signals at Manila airport alone. So why does everyone rely on a system that can be so easily overridden? Even the US Navy has gone back to teaching Celestial Navigation to it’s cadets (http://www.astronomy.com/news/2016/09/celestial-navigation-is-returning-to-the-naval-academy-cirriculum). Take a page from the Navy’s book and learn to have a backup. Any prudent sailor should always make sure to collect and learn all the possible resources needed to make their journey a safe one.
Check out our video below on the basics of time and how important it becomes when navigating using celestial bodies
Learn more about Celestial Navigation with Victoria Sailing School’s ASA107 (Celestial Navigation) and ASA117 (Celestial Endorsement) classes. Our online classes can be taken from anywhere, at any time. We have live webinars starting in February every year, but students can also follow the course on their own time any time of year.