Learn to Sail
The boat is built but the real fun is just starting! Sailing your new boat is
a world of its own. The building instructions are soon to include
'How to Sail Your Firebug'. There are several ways to enjoy sailing:
Family Fun Sailing
General family fun sailing and knocking about at the beach or on the lake is enjoyable
but it is only a very small part of the total sailing scene.
With kindly weather guaranteed, several boats together and a 'mother ship' of
some sort preferably motor powered to carry the tents and food,
cruising is great fun.
Club Sailing and Racing
When your confidence is up a bit consider doing a race. Most sailing clubs conduct learn
to sail programs which lead into racing. Your skills will develop
rapidly as there is always someone to ask or to follow! But choose
a nice day to start and don't be concerned about getting in the
way - for the first race, last place is the norm!
Camping and sailing is a nice combination but again is better in a group of
several boats. Our experience camping with five Firebugs in the
Bay of Islands, was great fun. We camped on the beach, cooked on
a fire, explored a shipwreck, anchored the boats out over night,
explored the area and even caught fish by sailing around the bay
trolling with a plastic spinner.
Enjoy but Play Safe
Sailing is for enjoying but always keep safety in mind. There is
a set of basic rules for small boat safety, but check the boating
safety rules in your area. The basics are:
NEVER TAKE RISKS
For the inexperienced, the sea can be a dangerous place. Be sure
you understand the situation - you can't pretend to know. You will
be caught out every time.
MUST BE ABLE TO SWIM
All people using the boat must wear a lifejacket (even Dad), must
be able to swim at least 50m in choppy water and be able to support
themselves in the water if necessary without a buoyancy aid.
Always tell someone you are going out, and should you get into trouble
stay with the boat, don't try to swim for it. It is always much
further than it looks.
LOOK AFTER YOUR BOAT
Always keep the boat well maintained and seaworthy.
Check the forecast and don't go out in strong winds, or in some
situations even moderate offshore winds, or when strong winds are
predicted. Be aware of the weather - it's important!
Take it easy, sailing skills like you see in almost every bay during the
summer don't necessarily come easy. You will find that the good
sailors have years of experience. Some say it takes 10 years to
become fully competent.
Learning to sail can be both a pleasure and a frustrating experience. Be prepared
for some disappointments and some unexpected swims but you should
soon get the idea of it. Enthusiasm is the big prerequisite. Good