Youth Sailing FAQ

Below are some commonly asked questions from parents who don't have previous sailing knowledge. 

Does my child have to be a strong swimmer?
Water safety is critically important and for this reason floatation aides are compulsory for any on the water activity. Your child does not need to be a champion swimmer, but at least be water wise. 

I'm (or my child) is frightened about capsizing
The capsize drill is one of the first things that is taught and once the kids have got the hang of it they have quite a lot of fun capsizing on purpose! The vlei is shallow in most parts and the kids can normally stand which helps build confidence and get over initial fear. There is a drill and our training boats are designed to be brought backup easily.

How old should my kids be to start?
Girls relaxing between races at club Sunday Sailing.
A lot depends on how mature your child is, but from experience 9 or 10 is a good age to start. Having said that, we have had a 7 year old and a 70 year old on the same course! A good way to find out is to contact us or Linsay at Fergie Sailing Academy and make a time to bring your child down and show what sailing is all about. A good time is on a Sunday when the club is active and other kids and members are around. We could get your child on a boat for a fun sail and see if they like it. No doubt they will be hooked.

Do I have to become a member of the club to do sailing lessons?
Nope, your child is welcome to take part in learn to sail courses and not be a member. Membership to the club has advantages in that you get preferential rates on boat hire outside of the sailing lessons. Also, when your child wants to start taking part in club regattas (sailing races), they would need to be a member to be eligible for prizes and trophies. Our club fees are on the Membership page.

How much does it cost?
Lindsay of Fergie Sailing Academy runs various courses for various ages. The fees include floatation aides (life jackets), use of the boats, and access to the club and club's changerooms. Membership to the club is not included and not required for learn to sail courses. 

My child loves sailing, what now?
Two boys sailing together on a Dabchick at Imperial Yacht Club
No doubt, this is going to happen! Get in touch with anybody on the committee and we will help you and your children into the sport. Sunday is a good time to come down and chat to us, find out more.  There are lots of questions that you will have, and are more easily answered face to face.

What happens at club sailing on Sundays?
We have good, wholesome, family fun! Members arrive around 9.00 am and head straight to the galley for a cuppa coffee, egg and bacon roll, or something delicious. Then rig their boat while chatting with friends. 

Around 9.45am there is a skippers briefing where the days events are discussed, important notices communicated, and a short discussion on some sailing rules and tactics by one of the experienced sailors. 

Then we head out onto the water for the mornings sailing races. Typically we have 2-3 races then break for lunch around 12.30 or 1.00pm. Races are started from in front of the club house and head up and around the vlei and finish again outside the club. Great spectator position for eager parents to watch.

We break for lunch for an hour and the head out again for another couple of races. We are all done around 3.30-4pm and come in and relax with a hot shower and some refreshments. This is a great time when kids sit around and chat about the days sailing and learn from each other. The adults typically talk just as much nonsense.

The late afternoons are a great sundowner time with a fantastic view over the peninsula and the mountains.

My child is not competitive, do they have to race?
Two young girls having fun sailing together on a Dabchick
Not at all. Club racing is all about having fun, participation and learning. We do not force kids to race, and no stigma if your child doesn't want to. However, the friendly chatter and joking from the youth sailors between races, at lunch and at the end of the day is infectious and eventually almost all kids join in. It's not about coming first, or not coming last, it's just that your child will learn so much from each other and other sailors are more than willing to share.

If you have any more questions, pleas drop us a line admin@imperialyachtclub.co.za and we'll get straight back to you.

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