Congratulations to Cameron Newton from Alton, Hampshire, aged 10, who passed his RYA Competent Crew course with us last week. Cameron is the youngest person to have passed this course with us to date.
We need a lot of persuading to allow someone as young as this to do an RYA course. The RYA recommends 13 as the minimum age. In order to pass you need a certain amount of strength for the ropes and winches, the ability to concentrate when steering or keeping look-out, and the patience to learn knots and nautical terms.
You certainly don’t get awarded the certificate for just putting out a few fenders!
Like the Gordon children, who passed their Comp Crew with us last year aged 11 to 13, Cameron had two things in his favour.
He impressed his instructor by already knowing his basic knots when he arrived. (He was well up on our average adult student in this respect!)
Cameron, like the Gordon children, had previously sailed dinghies. This helped him to understand things like points of sail.
We would recommend dinghy sailing to anyone who wants to become a good yachtsman or woman. Small boats give you a much better ‘feel’ for the way the wind and sails interact. They are also far less forgiving so you learn quickly or get wet!
This is Cameron with his parents, Paul and Fiona, and younger sister, Kerensa. They are posing on the cannon that sits at the harbour entrance of Aegina Town with George Burton, our Principal, who was their instructor for the six day course.
Although Kerensa was too young to complete a Competent Crew course we were able to award her the RYA Start Yachting certificate for her sailing knowledge and contribution as a member of the crew.
She enjoyed using the RYA Go Cruising book with the accompanying Go Cruising Activity Book for young sailors aged 7 – 12. These books may be of interest to you if you sail with children so I will put up an article on them soon.
Thinking of taking a Sailing Course with Your Family?
When we first started the school we were reluctant to include children on courses. Last year we decided to give it a try. We were pleasantly surprised to find that, with some changes to duration and time-tabling, it worked well.
Our instructors all started sailing as youngsters and really enjoyed the experience of introducing children to the sport.
Once our main season has finished I will write a post for those who are contemplating a family sailing holiday. Sign up to our newsletter if you want to be kept informed about when this article appears on the blog.
My main piece of advice is to allow more days to get through the course schedule. For instance, Cameron and his family spent six days on board instead of the usual five allowed for a Competent Crew course. This makes the pace just a bit more relaxed. You can make shorter trips each day so the younger crew members don’t get bored and have plenty of time for swimming & snorkelling but your total mileage will be sufficient to cover the syllabus.
Did you learn to sail with your children? Maybe you taught them yourself or sail regularly with them.
If you have any stories or tips on sailing with children please feel free to comment.