Download the
entire article
as a PDF

Get Your Kids Sailing

3: Starting to race

The timing of when it’s best to move onto racing will vary for each individual. Some are very keen to get racing as soon as possible, whereas others may want to spend some time just pottering around, having fun before starting to race. Each child will provide cues as to how quickly they want to develop their skills — some kids loved to be pushed, while others are happier to progress at their own pace, and may be put off if they are pressed to move too fast.

If your child is hesitant, find out why and try to allay their concerns. In a competitive club it can be quite daunting to pitch yourself against others who’ve been racing for some time, knowing full well that you’re likely be at the back of the fleet. Again it can help if a couple or group of friends start racing together, or a fun race at an end of holiday regatta may be enough to take away some anxiety. Alternatively, crewing for a more experienced child can be an excellent way forward.

The RYA’s racing department works hand in hand with the training division, and plays a role in coaching some of the more advanced elements of the Youth Sailing Scheme. The racing department also looks at spotting and developing talent through its high performance programme. This identifies youngsters with potential in clubs and offers them a comprehensive training and coaching programme.

Previous page:2 When to start

Let each child develop at his or her own pace, without pushing too hard

Next page:2 Keep the momentum going

Joining a club is of paramount importance

More articles on starting sailing or racing