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Uphaul in breakers

2016/7/22 14:42:26


Question
Hi Patrick: Maybe you can help with some advice for us. I have 2 kids that are getting into it now, daughter 16 and son 13, both are athletic. I have a great, safe place to take them. This is in Georgian Bay which is part of Lake Huron. We're in Canada. There is a huge sandy beach and water is less than 6 feet deep out to a least 200 yards. Also prevailing wind is onshore and water is warm. So its perfect except for this. There are several sandbars close together as you go out which causes breakers you can't get away from. Also there is no tide, but waves are wind generated and close together especially with a good wind. I can deal with it no problem but it is really tough for the kids with less experience to uphaul and get underway before getting knocked off by a breaking wave since they are pretty well broadside to the waves when uphauling and not much time between waves. I tried to get them to point up a little but it didn't work too well and also off a little but then they were pulled over by too much power right away. Do you have any suggestions which might help them as they're ok once they get going and this beach is perfect otherwise. Thanks alot, Gary

Answer
Dear Gary,
Breakers, even small ones, are definitely going to be a problem to uphaul in for kids. If you absolutely must sail here then you must teach your kids how to beachstart or waterstart or they need to move out beyond the breakers to uphaul in deeper water. I assume the breakers are closing out close to shore so there is no room to uphaul between the breakers and the beach. The best advice I can offer would be to find a spot without breakers and let them gain confidence and experience sailing in flat water first. Try to teach them how to beach start first. They may be able to get going by beach starting ( standing in knee deep water deep enough so that the fin doesn't touch bottom and stepping up onto the board while holding the sail, like a standing water start. ) Make sure you are using lighter equiptment and that the boom height is good for them (about or slightly below shoulder level).
I am also teaching my 6 and 8 year old sons how to sail currently . I have access to a flat sandy shallow warm bay called The Great South Bay which is between the Long Island mainland and a terific place called Fire Island on the South Shore of Long Island. I hope this helps. Good Luck!!  
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