Why Are Kids Younger Than 10 Not Permitted?

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The youngest age permitted by the boats currently in the fleet is 10 years old. It may be that in the
future other vessels will join the MWA who permit younger ages. The captains have given a great
deal of thought and have had experience with younger children on the boat. Here’s some of the
thinking behind the 10-year-old minimum age.

Space on the boats is often limited: We know that kids like to run, play and explore. Limited
space means limited activity and active young children have often complained about not
enough space to run and play on the windjammers. We know that parents with unhappy
kids are often unhappy parents, and we want your children to have enough room to explore,
thus windjammers are not the ideal playground. We also want the parents to have a
fabulous experience too, yet with unhappy children, the focus ends up entirely on the
negative parts of the day, and on making the child happy.

Boats often have a mix of elderly people, groups, and couples; Guests looking to get away
and relax with other adults have indicated they prefer an older audience on board. Kids love
to meet other kids, and would prefer an environment where they can interact with those their
own age. Thus, windjammers are not ideal for children seeking friends to play with.

Space is confined: Young children may find it very frustrating not being able to run free on
deck, for there are lots of other people and equipment around that they can trip over. Safety
is a priority for the captain and crews, and with sails, lines and equipment moving quickly
during tacks, children could be hurt. Since it’s likely they will not be able to participate in the
sailing experience, this might be frustrating for your kids.

Adults may love being able to unplug, kick back, with nothing to do, but not kids: –
Younger children require frequent entertainment and attention, and the experience has been
that younger children are not able to handle a prolonged lack of enthrallment.

Younger children may not like the food: While the boats are absolutely happy and willing to
accommodate individual dietary needs, they source their food from local farms and
providers, and gear menus toward adults. Kids who prefer a more child-oriented diet may
not enjoy the food, and with small galleys, there’s simply not room to stock kid-friendly
options.

No chance to change course: If a young child becomes very unhappy or inconsolable, the
boats cannot “pull over” and let the parents off. Courses are set based upon the wind and
weather, and if a child (and parent) is very unhappy, they may be unable to leave the boat.
There are always exceptions, but the general thought is that children need to be calm,
temperate, self-entertained, and in control of their experience. Their presence should contribute to
the camaraderie on the boat. Children over ten years of age often appreciate the nature-and-water
aspects of the cruises, but from our experience younger children simply don’t.

We appreciate your understanding.

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