As the EYC’s racing program grows, we see more and more EYC parents who want their children to race successfully. Here are a few thoughts on helping your junior race with success.
First, recognize that the definition of “success” may vary from one junior to another. How does your junior define success? Getting around the race course by herself? Winning? Learning and improving? Having fun in the boat with friends? Once you know how your junior defines “success,” you will be in a better position to help. Each race has only one winner, but there are dozens of races in a season, and most juniors recognize that improvement over the course of a season is a significant achievement.
ENCOURAGE. Your child might need encouragement just to show up, or a reminder that racing opportunities exist. Learn the EYC’s racing schedule and make sure your junior shows up on time and raring to go!
EQUIP. Make sure your junior is equipped with the personal gear she needs to race: sailing gloves, proper clothing or foul weather gear, nonskid shoes, a watch with a countdown timer (Flying Scots only), and a PFD which isn’t too nerdy-looking and fits right.
FIND A RIDE. Help your junior get a position crewing for another skipper. Crewing is a great way to learn and to make new friends, but some juniors are too shy to ask adults or others if they need crew.
RIG. If your junior draws an EYC-owned boat to race, help your junior rig that boat. Making sure the rigging is right and that your junior is on time for the start is half the battle in junior racing. If you are not sure of the finer details of rigging, ask other EYC members or staff to help you and your junior.
CHEER. Stay to watch the races, cheer your junior on, and socialize with other parents and grandparents. You might even be offered a ride on someone’s spectator boat, or a cocktail!
SAIL TOGETHER. Sailing can be an excellent family sport. If you are a proficient sailor, your junior can learn from you (just make sure to keep it fun). If you are a beginner sailor, you can crew for your junior, a rare opportunity for your junior to play the role of the knowledgable teacher while you are the learner.
LEARN. Even in the off season, you can encourage your junior’s interest in sailboat racing, and help him learn, with sailboat racing books, DVDs, and magazine subscriptions. Check our the store on US SAILING’s website at www.ussailing.org
BUY A BOAT. Nothing tells your junior that your are committed to his sailing success like buying a racing sailboat. Lasers, Optimists, and Flying Scots in good used condition are less expensive than you think, hold their resale value, and will repay your investment many times over, by making sure your junior always has a boat to race. Racing a private boat means your junior can be confident that his skills and determination, not his boat, determine his race results.