While vacationing in Williamsburg, Colleen McGowan thought it would be fun for her children to test the waters of Virginia.
“They’ve grown up on boats, ever since they were babies. But they’re never been on a sailboat, so I thought they should learn. I have a 28 Silverton that we run in New Jersey. It’s still under shrink wrap from the winter, and I need to go back this weekend to tear it off. I can’t wait to get out on the water.”
Her children Joshua and McKenzie traded on and off on the helm and proved natural sailors. They learned to extend the sail while motoring into the wind. They exploited the close reach by making five tacks down the York River toward the Chesapeake Bay. We were flying and having great fun,
Well out to sea, we turned and made a long downwind tack to test the broad reach. They found that the helm is much more sensitive downwind and requires greater focus. Therein lies the ultimate guide to sailing: concentration.
On the way back to port in the channel, I sent them up to the bow for a sort of victory lap. I sometimes have trouble teach teenagers how to sail because they get distracted or want to check their phone every five minutes. These two showed intense dedication to the task and learned quickly. McKenzie is 11 years old.
Let’s Go Sail, to Learn
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