Living in the UAE means our children spend a lot of time in the water, but have you ever considered them spending time on it? If not, now might be the time to pursue some sailing lessons.
Dubai Offshore Sailing Club (DOSC) sailing manager, Mitch Webb, says that: “Sailing provides kids with huge amounts of confidence and they learn to be self-resilient.”
And adds that: “It also suits different personalities, from those who want to sail purely for the fun of it to those who want
The amazing conditions we have here in the UAE mean that children from as young as six or seven can take up the sport. Plus, you may be surprised to hear that The Sailing School at DOSC is not just open to members of the club.
On the contrary, Webb explains that they offer a wide range of sailing courses for members and non-members of all ages
“We have a range of sailing programs for kids of different ages and levels of experience,” says Webb.
“For example, some may want to see if they actually enjoy the sport before they decide if they want to take it further, which is where the DOSC half-day taster session works well. Others may want to dive straight in with the RYA Stage 1 course.”
And if your child has never sailed before, that’s not a problem either. “For RYA Stage 1, kids don’t need any prior experience of sailing. We also have options that will suit more experienced sailors, from keen amateur up to semi-pro level,” Webb explains.
The beauty of sailing is that unlike many other sports, it is incredibly inclusive. Webb says that there are plenty of opportunities for kids to race at all levels and that they can even compete against adults, often doing very well.
But kids living in the UAE already have so much going on, so is taking up sailing another huge commitment?
“To be honest, that’s really up to the individual,” Webb says.
“We have some sailors who are out on the water as often as possible every week and others who sail on a monthly basis. For learning to sail, courses can be taken after school or over a weekend. There is no strict schedule and the flexibility means it works with your schedule.”
Webb adds: “Of course, the more hours a sailor puts in, the quicker they will progress.”
Best of all, there’s no need to rush out and buy loads of equipment or to browse the classifieds for a boat for your budding Ben Ainslies because DOSC has a wide range of easy to sail boats for hire. So breathe easy mums and dads because not owning your own boat doesn’t have to be a barrier to your little ones taking up the sport And Webb offers another option too saying,
“DOSC members are also a very friendly bunch so there are plenty of opportunities to crew on other people’s boats,” Webb adds.
“Plus, the great weather in the UAE means that normal active wear is fine for going out on the water and there is no requirement for specialised equipment. We provide life jackets for all sailing lessons and boat hires.”
And as Ratty wisely says, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.
Dhs435 (taster session for kids six and above), from Dhs1,150 (learn to sail courses for kids seven and above). Open daily 8am-12.30am. Dubai Offshore Sailing Club, Umm Suqeim, Dubai, www.dosc.ae (04 394 1669).
Here are three to try for mini sailing enthusiasts living in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi Sailing Club
Daily 10am-7pm. Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan Highway, www.the-club.com (02 673 1111).
Abu Dhabi Sailing and Yacht Club
Sun-Thu 8am-4pm. Abu Dhabi Theater Road, near Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi, www.adsyc.ae (02 658 3333).
Al Forsan International Sports Resort
Khalifa City, Street no. 12, www.alforsan.com (02 556 8555).