Moose and Kris McClintock have been intimately involved in high-end sailing their entire lives. In this report, Moose shares how they introduced the sport as parents:
When we had our daughter, we were anxious for her to take up some kind of sport to socialize and stay healthy. We had her take tennis lessons, played soccer, tried swimming, played softball, and ran cross country and track.
For each sport, it was all with no intention for it to become an overwhelming part of her life, but rather to keep her engaged and in the hope that she would click on one of them (she still runs every day).
Since we were surfing all the time, we decided that she should learn that too, not so much that she would become a runner, but that we could do more things together, and understand why dad kept disappearing for weeks (or months) at a time. time.
He took beginner Opti classes at a local facility, and I was very disappointed with the result: he could barely sail at the end of the summer and didn’t enjoy it.
The following summer we transferred her to a local yacht club to Kris’s workplace, where the four kids were put in a boat on a Cape Cod Mercury. Each boy rotated through the jobs on the boat: one steering, one main, and one each jib sheet. The boats are very stable with keels and the fear of capsizing is gone.
Within a week, she was twice as sailor-like as she had been after a summer of Optis…and she loved it.
He continued in this program for another year, then gravitated to his cruising class where they would sail to a local island, or around another, learning about sailing and anchoring, a more well-rounded education for a lifelong sport.
She then did a summer sailing 420 at another facility, but the only pleasure for her in this was windy days when they stretched out and went fast. She had absolutely no interest in racing and we were fine with that.
The following summer she volunteered at a sailing camp near our home, and worked there in the summer for the next three years as an instructor. The kids loved her and she enjoyed spending summers on the water while her friends worked at Subway; a good experience in every way.
Now, he loves to sail, but has no interest in racing. However, she has all the skills to get on a moored boat, navigate to a destination, dock or anchor, and return; that’s all she wants to do.
The lesson here is that the problem is integrating children into competitive sports for the sake of competition. We credit the years of sailing on the Mercury to the best of his training. If he had gotten competitive, he would have quit, like he did with tennis, soccer, swimming, and softball.
Sailing is a lifelong activity; racing is not. Kids should be given the option to do something other than go out and eat hot dogs their whole lives (when I was coaching in college, we’d sometimes finish a practice run around an island and head back to the pier; even for the runners on the university, this was the highlight in practice).
When I was younger I would sail Narragansett Bay, a different yacht club in the bay hosted a regatta every weekend. The highlight of my summers was sailing to those clubs on Friday afternoon with my parents and sailing back on Sunday afternoon.
The race was another thing I didn’t understand but I enjoyed it even though we weren’t competitive. The regattas were very well attended (mid 60’s, different eras). I eventually started competing, but I never really captained anything until I was in college. Now I can’t live without sailing.
The point is, teach the kids to sail and let them decide if they want to compete. If we are concerned that the candle is dying, this is one way to revitalize it.