The Bahamas Sailing Association (BSA) is of the belief that sailing is one of the top sports in the country for the overall development of the youth. There is something about sailing that makes it unlike other sports, according to the BSA.
More than just skills and strategy, it teaches certain life skills and values that shape sailors into productive, well-disciplined and responsible individuals, as stated in a BSA press release.
Over the next few weeks leading up to the BSA Summer Sailing Camp at the Bahamas National Sailing School, there is expected to be articles about the incredible benefits of sailing, along with stories from some of the top sailors about how sailing has had such a great impact on their lives.
Paloma Cartwright is a 20-year-old from Long Island currently attending McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. She started sailing at the age of five and has now embarked on a 2024 Olympic campaign with fellow Bahamian Paul de Souza.
There is so much to be gained, not just physically and boating-wise, but socially and emotionally as well, according to the press release.
The top five socio-emotional benefits of sailing, as reported by the Singapore Sailing Federation in 2018, include grit, confidence, teamwork, friendship and sportsmanship.
It can be argued that just about any sport offers a lesson on resilience, but sailing is a sport that demands an inner strength far greater than most, according to the press release.
“In this sport, it is us sailors against the elements. Whether it is a novice experiencing strong winds for the first time or a national sailor met with 10-feet high waves in foreign waters, they learn to keep fighting – no matter how uncomfortable it is. If the boat capsizes, sailors get the boat upright and keep sailing,” stated the press release. “Most sailors’ foray into the sport begins with the optimist. It’s a single-handed boat, which means it’s controlled by the sailor. Alone on the boat, sailors as young as six or seven are constantly required to make their own decisions. They don’t always make the right ones, but the opportunity to think for themselves helps them grow in self confidence.
“Though they sail individually, sailors are forced to work together from day one. After all, no one sailor can flip his or her optimist boat alone. Over time, sailors gradually realize that working together not only helps speed things up, but also allows them to learn more from one another. Perhaps one of the most valuable takeaways from sailing is the friendships forged. It is inevitable that sailors bond with one another during windless days and scary storms.”
Sailors also get to make new friends with international sailors, especially during international regattas.
“We realize how sailing is not just a sport that keeps you fit, but also one that develops you into a well-rounded individual – something far more important than winning medals,” the press release stated.
Sailing is a self-governing sport, which means it’s completely up to sailors to abide by the rules and uphold the fairness of racing. It’s a matter of integrity and sailors learn the importance of playing fair and respecting the rules of the game.