Local News

Racing with kids

When I read Brandon Flack’s article, One to Grow On, at SailingWorld.com, it
really struck a chord with me. I’m part of a multigenerational racing family with
the tradition stretching back to my grandfather’s Snipe racing in the 1950’s. Some
of our best and worst childhood memories came from time spent racing on our
family’s first keelboat, a 1960’s Coronado 25. Summers were quieter back then.
Fast forward to the 2010’s and we are certainly older, and perhaps wiser, about
how to make sailboat racing a family affair.

My favorite race last season was a low profile, low stress “Pizza Race” at my home club.
This was the race that I was going to finally get my kids on the race course. My golden
opportunity was here and I knew they would immediately realize that this was what
they were destined to do. Looking back, I am pretty sure that didn’t actually happen, but
nobody cried, and I am pretty sure all four kids (my two plus two cousins – ranging in age
from four to nine) had a good time.

As I see it, there are the keys to making racing fun for little kids:
1. Make sure the weather cooperates because – Safety trumps all!
2. Don’t worry about the results. Make it about fun.
3. Bring plenty of food and drinks.
4. Make sure the event is a quick one, and be sure to include a fun event after
race activity. For us it was post-racing swimming and pizza.
5. Get them as involved in boathandling as they want to be.
6. Always quit early if things start going south.

Emboldened by our success last year (no tears), I think we will have another
go at it, or two, in 2013!

-Darren Leonard