The most important thing we need to do as dads is to BE with our kids. Sailing provides perfect opportunity to build memories and strengthen relationships.
San Diego has so much to offer and the Big Bay and Mission Bay have many resources for a dad and the kids to get out on the water. Whether it’s taking a lesson in an 8’ Sabot or chartering a bigger boat for an overnight in Glorietta Bay, the sea always teaches us many things.
Of course the most important thing we need to do as dads is to just BE with our kids. Not BE as in watching a game on TV while your kid is in another room playing video games but BE with them in the sense that a shared activity will produce a lifetime of memories. When out on a boat those memories are often surrounded by really great practical lessons too.
When my daughters were young, I spent many hours with them in the water, surfing and sailing. We had more time to talk and be with one another on a boat though. When the girls were younger we would talk about simple things like taking care of a boat so nothing breaks while you are out sailing. These boat lessons could always be transferred to an important lesson for home – like the importance of having a clean room and taking care of your things.
As they got older understanding the physics of the boat and things like Bernoulli’s Principle were theoretical boring classroom subjects that came alive on a sailboat. Any kid that understands the points of a compass and latitude and longitude will have no problem in geometry class. These lessons come out of a kid’s natural curiosity and it was never forced. I promise I never brought up Bernoulli’s Principle on my own.
Time on a boat can also be exciting and involved if there is a chance for a race or it can be slow and sleepy with just a good book and quiet times. Race times are great. Friends can join in – young and old – and the spirit of competition is always a great experience. The quiet times are also wonderful. Just enjoying the day and having an understanding and appreciation for the natural surrounding is a good thing for all of us. Talking all the time isn’t required. Yet this is still quality time unlike the video game scenario.
One thing I always find interesting during the quiet times is that it seems to be a perfect place for your kid to start talking to you. Dad isn’t focused on the game, the paper, work or the phone and the quiet with dad really present is the perfect time to ask questions or bring up subjects not always easy at home or elsewhere. There seems to be a safety zone in a boat that is silently gliding across the water in just a breath of wind.
When there is a shared experience of moving a boat along and letting your kid do the steering or decide the route there is a pride, sense of accomplishment and a self-esteem that builds in your child. These things don’t even need to be talked about. They happen on their own. And when dad is the crew, a closeness will develop that can be rare among many families.
Many people think that getting out on a sailboat is either expensive or difficult to do. For those dads not familiar with sailing, Mission Bay is a good place to start. When you can’t figure out how to get back where you came from, it’s just a short distance across the bay. Small boats can be rented cheaply and learning together can be fun.
If dad has more experience in a boat, there are many rental choices on both bays. From inexpensive racey 22’ Capris to full cruising boats capable of a week long venture to Catalina, they are all available. If sailing is something that takes hold there are several clubs that own a variety of sailboats. If the desire to own a boat calls, small Sabots or daysailers like a Snipe or Coronado 15 can be purchased used for less than $1000 on a trailer. Even bigger 22’ to 27’ boats can often be purchased for as little as $800 to $1500. These may need a little paint or maybe a new sail but overall sailing can be a lot less expensive than many people think. Bigger boats will need to stay in the water which increases the monthly expense but then its almost like having a second home right on the water.
By just enjoying our time on the water together and never forcing them to go, both my daughters have grown to love sailing and they are more capable as human beings for spending quality time to just BE with dad on the water. By the way, it was great for me to BE with them too.
Ned McMahon is the proud father of two beautiful daughters. He has worked in the surfing industry for 30 years (with some time off for sailing) and is now a partner in Homeblown US. Homeblown US is a foam manufacturer that continually pursues environmentally responsible alternatives in surfboard construction. For more information visit www.homeblownus.com.
Richard “RJ” Jaramillo, is the Founder of SingleDad.com,
a website and social media resource dedicated to single parenting and specifically for the newly divorced, re-married, widowed and single Father with children.
RJ is self employed, entrepreneur living in San Diego and a father of three children. The mission of SingleDad is to help the community of Single Parents
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