Where Are The Kid's

Thread starter #1




:confused: WHERE ARE THE KID'S :cool:
good question. I am 28. the majority of members of my boat club are my grandparents age. This doeds not bother me. They know a lot about sailing and they have the time and money to get out there and enjoy it. But I do notice a disporportionate numbers of sailors that are older. I hear stories from people in my family of all of the kids that they used to sail with. Most of the clubs around here have very miniscule numbers in thier junior programs compared with the past.
What is encouraging is that it seems like a bit of a revival is taking place. Maybe my observations are just local. But, more high schools are getting sailing teams. Also, I meet more and more people my age who really want to get into sailing. So I doo my best to get them out on the water as much as possible. I don't know what the reason is, but I definately agree that there is a shortage of young people sailing boats.
Hopefully the kids are in school! It is far more important for them to be in class than to be particpating in a sailing event. If the midwinters were able to align with school vacations, you may see juniors attending. Here in Western NY, we get a week in Mid February and a week at the end of April. Then we go until June 24th. It is very difficult to make up missing assignments during the school year.
I think the class should do more to promote Sunfish racing for youth. We were driving home from my daughter's Opti regatta and I asked her...she is only 11 years old and 65# now...what is she going to do after Opti's...sail a Sunfish? She said "no way mom, they are too slow and I'm not sailing with those old ladies". I am 43 and started sailing/racing a year ago so I took offense to that. My point is to the kids there is a bit of an image problem. So many kids in Opti will never get to a Laser because they are either too small or not competitive enough. And after youth regattas it seems that even fewer would be able to hack it in adult Laser regattas. It seems that Sunfish racing is more "inclusive" and friendly than Laser and would be a good choice for lifelong fun racing but you see so few kids. Damien
I understand your concern, but look at it from another point of view. Sunfish, for all of thier strengths, and all of the things that thier owners love about them, are a very old design. There are only a handful of boats that were designed as long ago as the Sunfish was that stay in production and stay active as a class. Sunfish sailors should be honored to be in the same handful of old boats that people still sail as Stars, 505s and Lightnings. These are great boats.
If I were a parent I think I would try to be glad that my chid had any interest at all in sailing. Just think if she turned to you and said "I want to get a paper route and sell my opti so I can buy a jet ski!" sorry for that horrid mental image, but the point is, it could be worse.
I had a Laser when I was a kid. I was not very wild about it at the time. It seemed like everyone else had a Boston Whaler (power boat, not Harpoon) or a jet ski. But, my boat and my bike were my only means of escape so I came to love them. At the time, I would much rather have been at the beach surfing (but I couldn't drive yet) or on a motor boat or jet ski. So as long as she sees a future in competitive sailing there is reason to smile.
Well I would love to go to as many regatas as I can but I cant drive so sometimes I have no way to get there unless my dad wants to go as well. Also durring most of the year I am in school or busy with other things. :(
Thread starter #7
You Don't Get It!!

Kids Will Sail The Sunfish If You Give Them A Venue And Promote It.
What I Was Hopeing For Is Some Suggestions To Increase The Numbers Of Kids In The Fleets. What Are You Doing At Your Club If Anything?

Most Youth Programs Do Not Offer Sunfish As A Choise Of Boats.
I Only Know Of A Hand Full Of Programs Running Kids In Sunfish.
(gulf Port, Pensicola, Venice ) Mostly In The South. What Are You Doing Up North.

Here's What Weve Done. At Jr Regatas We Get Them To Open The Fleet To All Sunfish Sailors To Fill A Fleet Score Overall 1-5 And Then A Trophy To Top Jr's Boy & Girl.

At Local Regatas Score An A&b Fleet Let Them Have A Chance To Sail With Good Sailors And Learn From Them.

Invite An Opti Salor To Your Next Club Race See What Happens They Will Get Bit On The Sunfish
Got to agree with Cookie, there are about 6 "youth" sailing programs around here and not one uses fish. Laser radials, for single handed sailing once the kids outgrow Opti's, and 420's, YJ15's, and believe it or not Flying Scot's for "crew served" boats.
Kids gravitate toward what's available and what they see in college programs their older sibling are sailing.
No one likes to be the odd man out, even on the water.
I agree that the boats used in junior programs aren't the best choices for the kids (aside from the opti). But it is the promoters of the Nation level events Sears, Bemis and Smythe cups from the juniors that determine the boats to be sailed. When I sailed the Smythe Finals, quarter finals where in a laser, the semis where supposed to be in sunfish( it turned out I had the only one) it ended up in lasers. The finals were in sunfish. I really wish that more junior programs would start to realize that the fish is a great training boat for smaller sailors. I don't think the smythe finals have been sailed in sunfish since (1989)then????
What's up with this?
The Sunfish is a great training boat, and a fun boat you can sail, recreationally for life.
I have owned the same Sunfish for 38 years, and after not sailing it for 10 years, returned to sailing it last year. I still find the Sunfish enjoyable, but I realize my Sunfish is not a competitive boat with todays changes and for me, a recreational sailor, the cost of upgrading it to race is not worth it nor is buying a new boat.
The problem I see is that the Sunfish seems to be have been and is being redefined for racing. Changes have been made that have changed the performance of the boat, thus, for all practical purposes taking the Sunfish out of the "one design" catagory.
If I were conducting a sailing program I would not want to use a boat that changes making it necessary to upgrade my fleet to be competitive or be faced with using equipment that is outdated placing the participants in my program at a handicap when placed in a fleet with updated equipment.
It just seems to me when you split a class into two groups, racing and recreational, you narrow your focus and it hurts the class overall.
without some of those racing upgrades i dont think i would have started racing sunfish. so on the flip side if it wasnt for those upgrades some people wouldnt ever buy a new fish and just go sail a laser...
I agree. The upgrades give the Sunfish more speed and better handling for racing but again, it puts a split the fleet between recreational sailors and and serious racer that can not be crossed easily.
( I have never sailed a Laser, and don't know what the Laser fleet has done or not done to maintain "one design integerty".)
I think many people chose a Sunfish for its versatility and reputation. It is a boat kids and "old men" like me can sail. I don't think a Laser is as "family" friendly as a Sunfish. It seems that the Sunfish has been chasing the Laser since the Laser was introduced. Remember the Super Sunfish?
We all have to make choices. If the upgrades to the Sunfish for racing were more for convience, like a block instead of a hook, and a sail with differenet cut, then the boats would be more interchangable, but when a change alters the performance, and we have seen from another post that the Portsmouth for the Sunfish has gone from 113 to 99 (or somewhere around these numbers, that is a big change.)
I think it is hard to expect people to jump into a boat that they will have to do substantial changes to if they get serious about racing. Ideally, people should buy a boat for what it is, not what they want it to be. In reality, if people do not buy new boats, companys will not make the boat, so to continue to be competitive companys have to "keep up" with the competition. (trust me-I own a Comet). It is a two edged sword.
Hate to see this thread die, as I to notice the lack of Sunfish in my area. As I am just getting back into sailing my Sunfish I don't have a lot of current observations to go on. My past observations, when I sailed on a public reservoir in upstate NY, were that of the 100 small boats that would be trailered in nearly 50% were sunfish. As the reservoir was restricted to a max powerboat of 10HP, sailing was the predominate water recreation there. I no longer sail in that area during the summer. This is what I see now where I sail.Perhaps others will share their observations.
I sail on a bay on Lake Ontario. The bay is 2 miles long. I have only seen 2 other sunfish on the bay. There are 2 free launch sites, and 2 pay launches, but I rarely see a Sunfish launched. Most of the boats launched are PWC and 18'-26' powerboats.
Question: Do you see many sunfish sailed by land owners on the water you sail on? Do you see many Sunfish trailered in and sailed on the water you sail on?

I do not beleive the Sunfish I see on the bay belong to the Yacht Club. Do you see many Sunfish being sailed on the water you sail on that do not belong to members of a Yacht Club?
Do you know of Sunfish Fleets that are not affiliated with Yacht Clubs?
Thread starter #14
As far as finding a fleet, Go to the sunfish home page follow the links to fleets.I know they just up dated them after the master's. call aruund .Their are many public sailing clubs.
Place an add in the paper for a get together if you can not find a fleet see what happens.

How to promote Sunfish sailing for kids?

1. Don't whine about the problem.

2. Don't expect someone else to solve the problem - do something yourself.

3. Start a program to teach kids to sail in Sunfish.

4. Start a fun program to keep kids involved in Sunfish sailing with lots of games and other fun activities as well as racing.

5. Take kids to regattas.

6. Run a junior regatta yourself.

7. When you buy a new boat, sell your old one to a kid.

8. When you buy a new racing sail, sell your old one to a kid who is struggling with a worn out recerational sail.

9. Help kids on the shore and on the water with advice on rigging, trim etc. etc.

10. Don't whine when all the kids you have mentored turn out to be faster than you and beat you in the club races.