Do the best sailors actually learn in keelboats, not dinghies?

It has been commonly accepted that the best sailors in the world started their adventure in dinghies. Small dinghies such as Lasers, Optimists, 420s and Albacores are very simple to sail, are responsive and forgiving and as such are known to be excellent platforms for young people to learn on.

Although it would be a bold change of course for Canadian sail training, there is empirical evidence to establish that there is merit in getting young sailors onto keelboats for training.

The Royal New Zealand Sailing Squadron has been providing youth keelboat training for almost 30 years. Not only are Kiwis’ considered by many to be the best sailors in the world, RNZSS is considered the breeding ground for Volvo Ocean Race skippers and crew.  Click here for the Sailing Scuttlebutt article called: The Answer to the Keelboat Question

Today, many modern keelboats mimic dinghy sailing. They are quick, nimble, fun and responsive – all the things that contribute to a positive sail training experience. In addition, these keelboats provide an additional sense of stability and safety. All of these attributes are found in the 1D Sailing Academy’s Flying Tiger 7.5 meter keelboats.

Using keelboats for youth training as opposed to dinghies may have additional factors worth considering. For Instance: keelboat onboard coaches can provide significant mentoring advantages to students over programs that utilize coaches in coach boats with megaphones.

A keelboat program can provide a teenage entryway into the sport. A keelboat program can also provide a way for those that are aging out of traditional programs to stay involved.

National One Design Sailing Academy was created with the knowledge that while children were well suited to learning on dinghies, adults often frowned on dinghy sailing as being uncomfortable, wet and perhaps even scary. In making the decision to use Flying Tiger 7.5 meter sport boats day sailor keelboats in it’s programs, National One Design Sailing Academy struck the perfect balance of increasing the adult comfort and stability expectation with a boat that is also simple to sail, is responsive and forgiving and is an excellent platform for adults to learn all of the fundamentals.

Young or old, the degree to which our student’s faces light up with big smiles in our keelboat programs is exciting and the company will continue to develop programs for all age groups. The key is to get people out on the water and to keep them excited about the sport regardless of age.

National One Design Sailing Academy offers youth keelboat training daily. The courses are provided for all age groups 10 and over regardless of experience.

National One Design Sailing Academy is an accredited Transport Canada Recreational Boating School. 1D Sailing Website