Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Kids Look Cool Sailing in Helmets


Pandabonium said...

Kids look cool sailing when they learn to freaking duck. If they can't do that, then maybe Nanny should not let them out on the water.

There is also the matter of situational risk. Larry sails on a big boat with a big honking sail and a big honking boom which could pulverize his grey matter (wouldn't that be a crying shame?) so he is perhaps wise to wear a helmet. A kid in a dinghy is less likely to experience a serious injury from the boom, and if we're trying to protect kids from even minor bruises, we're raising a generation of sissies which will be dangerous to the species due to natural selection.

Another issue is education. For example, I am all for helmets when kids ride bicycles (I wear one too), but unless we FIRST teach them to avoid being hit by the goddam cars which are being driven by incompetent adults (mostly), then giving them a helmet and thinking we're making them safe is industrial strength stupid. Getting hit by a car is going to ruin their whole day, helmet or no.

Education and judgement are far more important than "safety gear". There is a place for both, but without the former, the latter isn't going save them most of the time.

No, helmets don't look cool.

Pandabonium said...

PS - before I get blitzed by critics, notice that I did not say that people should not wear a helmet when sailing if they (or their guardians) so choose. I only said there are more important priorities in making sailing a safe activity and that helmets do not look cool.

Noodle said...

Precisely. Helmets are for the sissies and the uncool. Darwin takes care of the rest. Don't make us wear a helmet every time we leave the safe environment of our cars and homes to explore nature.

Baydog said...

After my first retort regarding sailing helmets, I was going to leave this one alone. But these two said it all, especially Pandabonium. You really got that bear's hackles up, Tillerman!

Anonymous said...

We're seriously considering helmets for our high school league. A few kids are already using them. The racing environment is hectic, and bonks are inevitable in gusty and shifty winds. Most teams have had several kids out for many weeks because of concussions.

I think helmets will be mandatory in most sports eventually...the long term health effects are just beginning to be understood.

Robyn Lesh said...

I have been sailing I was six days old. Big boats, small boats, all boats. I now race in college and was NESSA sailor of the week earlier this year. I know boats and am certainly not a sissy.

Last fall I got bumped on the head by an fj boom, not hard, not unlike other bumps like everyone has gotten from the boom at some point. Two hours later, I couldn't race worth ten cents. Two months later I am still concussed. I still can't think as clearly or as quickly as before and can not yet return to athletic activity.

Helmets are NOT stupid or uncool. They are safe. Save your brain and consider a helmet.

People who say helmets are uncool or dumb don't know how horrible a concussion is. Everything about YOU as a person is controlled by your brain. When you bruise your brain (concussion) everything from your smartness to your personality can be effected. Think about it.

Tillerman said...

Thanks for your comment, Robyn. I hope you are back to normal again soon.

I think your point is so important that I have republished it in a new post so that all my readers see it.

Anonymous said...

I am running a learn to sail course and almost every week, either on the course or during the race, somebody gets hit in the head by the boom. I wonder what the forces involved are? And as boom vangs become more powerful, the hits get harder.
So I am looking at buying a course-load of helmets. What are the ones in the pic, Tillerman? They do look cool.
Its only a matter of time til we all have them. We used to decry seat-belts, then airbags.
Soom the only complaint will be how OLD we all are. Helmets will help get you there.
John S

Tillerman said...

John S - not sure exactly what brand those helmets are, but there is a comment on my latest post from yarg, a high school sailing coach, with a link to his review of various helmets for sailing. Check out

Anonymous said...

Agree with anonymous. The greatest danger with beginners is someone else's gybing boom sweeping across the crew of an unsuspecting boat. Hat = £20 Funeral =£4000 + lifetime of guilt for someone else's child.

Tillerman said...

You make a good point Anonymous. As in driving on the roads, it's not how good a driver you are, it's the other guy you have to worry about.

The worst head injury I have seen in adult Laser sailing was caused by a collision between two experienced sailors, and it was the most accomplished of the two who ended up in the hospital. No matter how good a sailor you are, there's always the chance of a freak accident that's not even your fault.

Derek Shipman said...

Helmets are for sissies? Are you kidding me? Who ever wrote that comment has absolutely no idea what concussions are all about.

Three weeks ago our 12 year old daughter was on a school field trip. She and her friends were jumping on their hotel room beds and she fell and hit her head on the side table. The teacher was called in and they rushed her to a local hospital. The doctor (obviously with the same sissy attitude as the quoted writer) released her with a clean bill of health, suggesting that she be monitored.

The bus ride back to Toronto and subsequent 'kid rowdiness' with her friends was not the best remedy for her accident. When she returned her shift in personality and mood was very evident and caused us to take her to her doctor right away. Her doctor immediately suggested we rush our daughter to Sick Kids Hospital for further investigation and after three hours of testing, it was established that she had, indeed, suffered a concussion with her accident.

We were asked to keep her quiet (with no TV, electronic devices or any distractions) for two days, followed by monitoring for the next two weeks.

This was good news for us, not only because we had an answer for her erratic behavior and a medical procedure to help her get back to normal, but also because she was signed up for a four week, 'Can Sail 3' sailing course at that time.

The week before her course began, her doctor told us that she was recovering well and that she was cleared to attend her sailing classes. We informed the coaches and instructors at the sailing school of her condition and asked them to monitor her.

Well... A regatta is organized one week after classes have started that entertains winds gusting 15 to 22 knots. My daughter is riding a 420 with a team mate and she gets hit in the head with the boom. It was not a hard hit, but a hit hard enough to cause concern.

The thing is that she was not the only child to get hit with a boom that day -- at least six other children on her team were also hit in the head by the boom and many more in the 100 boat field. Fortunately, no child was severely injured and there was a Paramedic Team on site to assess the injuries and provide proper advise.

Unfortunately for our daughter, we have had to pull her out of the course and will be taking her back to her doctor today for examination. Her summer of sailing is over and when she goes up to the cottage in a couple of weeks, she will not be allowed to water ski or even 'tube' behind the boat.

While our daughter's concussion was fortunately not life threatening, it has completely disrupted everything that a kid loves to do in the summer.

Helmets are for sissies? Are you kidding me?

Tillerman said...

Sorry to hear about your daughter's experiences Derek. My friend who is a high school sailing coach now mandates that all the kids in his team wear helmets all the time while sailing. And he wears one himself. Concussion is no joke.

Tillerman said...

Ironically "Noodle" who made the sissies remark is not a real person. She is a character who sails in the virtual reality world, Second Life, where I guess the chance of getting a real life concussion is zero.

But obviously there is a real person pulling Noodle's strings so to speak, so perhaps he or she was expressing the real person's views.

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