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As an outdoor skill, sailing is easier to learn than, say, skiing. And most of the time a sailboat is easier to control than an independent-minded horse.
But perhaps partly owing to the ancient and intimidating vocabulary (“Trim the main sheet!” “Coming about! Hard to lee!”), neophytes approach their first encounter with a sailboat with something between caution and downright dread.
Not so with kids, who understand that learning new skills is the natural order of things at their age. But take an average middle-ager who has spent a lifetime dreamily watching white triangles of sail far offshore from the beach, and learning to sail becomes one of those special lifetime achievements.
And south of Boston, there are no shortage of options for lessons, from the Duxbury Bay Maritime School to the Lincoln Center in Hingham.