This year Ross Brady, known as Sailing Scallywag, helped a family follow their dreams to set sail in search of adventure.
I met Paul whilst teaching him for his Day Skipper course. Little did I know that this would lead to me to getting to know his whole family, plus Sonas their boat.
Having taken the brave step of purchasing a Beneteau Oceanis 58 and saying goodbye to the drudgeries of everyday life, the Morris family and their two dogs were embarking upon their sailing dream, and I was lucky enough to play a tiny part in it.
They asked me to instruct and assist them in getting to know their boat and ultimately help prepare them for their sea adventures. Sailing by its very nature brings people together and makes them work as part of a team. When working with a family, it is that next level of ‘togetherness’. They are already a team; my role was just to support and help the group grow and become ship shape. When teaching young people to sail, This year Ross Brady, known as Sailing Scallywag, helped a family follow their dreams to set sail in search of adventure. the rewards are endless. Watching this family grow in confidence as the week progressed makes what I do worthwhile. Children absorb information surprisingly quicker than some adults and bring with it an enthusiasm that inspires and delights any onlooker, including me.
One of my big goals is to encourage the next generation to learn about the sea and sailing, and make it an accessible opportunity for all. Engaging with families like this one allows me to do that. With a mother and father like Sarah and Paul leading by example, the kids have every chance of learning about the world. Little screen time, fresh air and lots of jolly yarns were the measure of the day.
This family has had the courage to follow their hearts, sell up and go for a globetrotting adventure. I admire their spirit and courage and enjoyed every minute of sailing with them.
Sea School with Scally, 10 top tips for teaching young people to sail:
- Be patient.
- Understand each child as an individual and teach according to their strengths. They will then naturally look to work on the things that challenge them to become a better sailor.
- Involve nature in your teaching. Look at what birds are surrounding the boat as you sail. Ask them if they recognise these birds, if not teach them. Look for insects in the sails that may be making a passage with you. By bringing nature in early to their sailing days, they will naturally learn to respect it, understand it whilst at sea and ultimately will want to protect it.
- Mix fun and learning. Encourage the children to ask questions and give real examples when these are asked and, of course, where possible. I often use my sailing mishaps as a way of teaching others what not to do.
- Prepare them that boat life brings with it change, that not everything goes as planned. Teach them to think on their feet.
- Give them regular breaks whilst teaching. Remember, these are young minds. Within these breaks remind them to keep hydrated at sea, it can be thirsty work on a boat.
- Encourage them to listen and observe others on the boat. Work as a team and be on hand to support if needed.
- Get stuck in. Boat life involves all tasks – cleaning the decks, hoisting the sails, cooking, keeping the ship tidy and taking it in turns to clean the heads.
- Slow and steady rather than speed. This will pay dividends when teaching them to park as they get older.
- Accept that even if you, as an adult, love the ocean and sailing, your children may not. If they try it but it is not their thing, then at least they have given it a go. Too many times, it ends in tears when overbearing parents force their kids to sail and, as a result, the child never ventures near a boat again.
- Safety – the final point but probably the most important! Before anything else, run through why we need to think safety first. Start with the lifejackets why we wear them and how to use them. Then run through the rest of the boat. If we do not think about safety first and the safety of others on the boat, then we should pack up and go back to shore.
Ross was later asked by the family to take the boat to Gibraltar with them to start the next stage of their boating adventures. You can follow the Morris family’s travels @thesailing7 on Instagram.
“One of my big goals is to encourage the next generation to learn about the sea and sailing, and make it an accessible opportunity for all”
About Ross Brady
From an early age, having grown up in the Quantocks in Somerset, Ross’s sense of adventure was born.
After serving in the Royal Marines for six years Ross’s next adventure took him sailing, where he fell in love with the ocean and all that it brings.
Having qualified as a sailing instructor he set up his own business, Sailing Scallywag.
Ross’s passion for the sea and ambition to bring sailing to all those who may never normally consider it is his driving force.
Read the full December 2022 All At Sea release with our feature