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Get Your Kids Sailing

4: Getting started

What if I canít swim?
Everyone who sails has to wear a buoyancy aid, which will help you swim and stay afloat if you fall in. Itís also helpful if you can swim, but itís more important that youíre confident in the water. The club or centre at which you take your course will lend you a buoyancy aid, and a wetsuit as well if you need one.

What happens the first time?
On your first sailing course youíll normally sail a small boat by yourself, or with a friend, with an instructor nearby. The instructors make everything easy to understand, show you what to do before you start, and tell you everything you need to know while youíre afloat.

How wet will I get?
If the wind is light and youíre in a larger and stable boat you may only get a few splashes. However, if itís windy, or youíre on a smaller boat thatís close to the water, youíll probably get quite wet. This is when a wetsuit is a good choice as it helps to keep you warm even when youíre soaking wet. In any case youíll need warm clothes, a pair of old trainers and a waterproof coat ó itís always colder on the water than on the shore.

Will the boat turn over?
Thereís a chance that the boat will be blown over by a strong wind and capsize, but for your first few times the instructor will do everything he or she can to make sure the boat stays the right way up. Eventually youíll fall in and get wet ó when you do, just remember to hold on to the boat. Pretty soon youíll be jumping in for the fun of it!

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