New sailors eagerly hit the water, leaving their parents behind on the beach to worry about the fate of their children in the strong winds and rough seas of the Gulf of Siam, in disbelief that their off-spring will be able to sail their boats by themselves within a week. And… they all succeed and are eager to go out sailing again the next weekend!
Learning to sail develops independence and confidence. A child gains a great sense of accomplishment from taking a boat and sailing it comfortably by themselves. Almost everything in a child’s life is controlled by the adults surrounding them and their decision-making depends on what these adults have taught them. But put a child in a boat alone with nature and he or she soon finds out that every decision has a consequence and no one else has responsibility for the result. The confidence gained, the increased independence and the new-found reflection on the consequences of their own actions help children to grow into accountable human beings. All these gains will show in their schools performance as well.
When children have to rig their boats and make sure they have everything they need to be on the water, it teaches them organisational skills and responsibility. Helping peers to get ready and launching the boats into the water together teaches care and team spirit. Having to look after and take care of their boat teaches them discipline and self-responsibility. Fighting the ever-changing sea and wind teaches them love for nature.
Sailing is a great alternative to the digital world children live in today. It gives families a chance to do something active together, rather than watching television, visiting malls or smelling the city fumes. From the hustle and bustle in Thailand there is no better feeling than an exhilarating ride, being carried by the wind along the very peaceful and tranquil ocean. Sailing is truly a sport enjoyed by all.
There are many opportunities to try sailing at the Royal Varuna Yacht Club, the centre for sailing in Thailand. Located on Phratumnak Hill between Pattaya and Jomtien, the RVYC has a strong partnership with Regents International School Pattaya, with activity week programmes throughout the year. Please check out www.varuna.org for more information.