top of page
  • Writer's pictureElyse Marie

Sailing For Kids!

A little known activity with a lot of knowledgable coaches right here in Texas is the sport of sailing. Moving from Islands on the East Coast, I never thought sailing would be even BETTER (for us) here in Texas than there (on the East Coast) where water sports were everything. Honestly, without already knowing sailing was an option for children ages 8+, I never would have researched further. Luckily, my daughter fell into the sailing world a few years before our move. She had enough interest at the time of our move where finding an option here in Texas began to be a priority. And I'm so thankful sailing did became such a priority for us.

Little did we know, we'd be joining a sailing team with such knowledgable and caring leaders. We began by finishing out last season in an Opti sailboat which is a smaller boat designed for children typically ages 8-15 and with a weight range of 80-125 pounds. This smaller boat gives children the chance to learn the ropes and rules of sailing, while being able to also control their boat. In the smaller boat, the kids have time to build confidence through beginner regattas and later soar with more advanced levels of Opti sailing if/when they are ready.

This season, we began a new sailing adventure, in a larger boat. We purchased a Laser for our daughter about a week before this season began, and managed to order all the extras we needed in time for the second regatta of the season. As a parent (especially one who does not know much at all about sailing) it has been such a joy to watch this kid out on the water doing something I know almost nothing about.

Why choose sailing as a sport? For the child... independence and problem solving. Our daughter struggles with anxiety. Being out on the water alone in her boat but still out with her team as a whole and coaches on the water gives her a sense of independence. Even better, she has to work through problem solving and decision making on her own. When she first started sailing, anxiety bubbled over often! Let's be honest, being on the water in the wind can be VERY intimidating! She still bubbles over in anxiety at times, even this last weekend with higher winds, she just could not bring herself to conquer her fear. However, every time she's out on the water, she becomes more confident in herself. More than learning decision making and problem solving as it pertains to sailing, she is learning to TRUST herself in making those decisions which is worth its weight in gold when trying to build the confidence of an anxious child.

Another great skill is patience. setting up or 'rigging' and breaking down or 'de rigging' a sailboat takes time. It takes learning, repetition, and patience. Just like setting up your tent if you're camping, then packing up. Patience in following a step-by-step process is a golden life lesson.

Another great benefit is the family time. Some regattas offer 'free' camping options. If you've registered and paid for your participation in the race, then some boat clubs say bring a tent/RV and hang out for the weekend. Often, they'll make an affordable 'food pass' option which will feed you through the weekend. Your sailers food is already included typically in their participation. Even better, some clubs go as far as having a band join one night, a BBQ, or another type of dinner which is just a great time to put your phone down and network with some other parents in your circuit. For me, an awkward duck from birth, it's been great to get over my OWN social anxiety's and go meet some great people then end the night, I kick back with my family and sleep under the stars. There's no need in this sport to be 'all dolled up' or dress to impress so camping is perfect, lounge clothes through the day are more than acceptable, and the overall feeling is just really casual and relaxed for the most part (unless you're going to the big times... but we're absolutely not there.... yet) . :)

Last great point for me, would be the time on the boat. I love being on the water, my spouse does not... the great option is many regattas will have a decent view from shore so bring some shade and chairs, a pair of binoculars, snacks, and you're good to kick back. For me, I typically try to jump on a boat somewhere and watch a little more up close. It's up to you, but the community is just fantastic and someone will probably let you hop on if they have room and you'd like to be out on the water with them!

Where do you start? Google 'sailing near me' or 'boat clubs near me'. If you have a decent sized lake, you may have a sailing program that you didn't know existed!

So, get out there and try something new! Sail a bit, maybe it's the sport your kiddo has been looking for this own time. But remember to ALWAYS have a trained coach, ALWAYS wear a life vest and even a helmet, and NEVER go out on the water alone!

Happy Sailing-

I have made rash guards for teens/adults. You can purchase here, if you're interested!


Educational resources for sailing groups:

Fantastic packet of games to help build boating knowledge:

Parts of a sailboat and how sailing works:

More in depth sailing info:


13 views1 comment

Recent Posts

See All

1 commentaire

Muhammad Bilal
Muhammad Bilal
19 sept. 2022

You explained it well but I think sailing for kids is not safe. Since they do not properly follow safety SUPs like adults. But if someone supervises them during the sailing then it can be safe. However, If you want to know about sailboats.

Post: Blog2_Post
bottom of page