A friend in the harbor brought over a Minifish sailboat for us to play with the other day. A Minifish is just like a Sunfish, only a little smaller.
I was skeptical at first, but before I knew it two kids hopped aboard and took off. No encouragement, no pointers, no sage advice from dear old dad. Poof. Gone. Like ducks on a junebug.
These kids live on a sailboat and have been around boats most of their lives, so I was pretty sure they knew which end was the front. And they’d been to a 2-week sailing camp a couple years ago, where they learned on Optimist prams, so I figured they knew the basics of sailing. But I’d never actually seen them do it. And I did not expect them to do it with so much confidence. Watching them zip around the harbor in that little boat puffed me up like a proud papa.
Something I found remarkable about all this is that they sail intuitively. Like most things we try to teach them from books, they have disdain for sailing theory. They don’t give a rip about the points of sail. They probably couldn’t tell you the difference between a sprit and lateen rig. If you try to explain it, they’ll fidget and roll their eyes. But with a tiller in one hand and a sheet in the other, off they go.